When we talk about sugar, the white crystals that are sweet and sticky are normally what comes to mind. Most of the sugar we think of comes from either the cane or beet. Those white crystals are the result of some pretty deep processing and ‘cleaning’. Brown sugar crystals or “raw” sugar is what the white stuff looks like before it gets ‘cleaned’. Hmm how do they take the dark ‘dirty’ look out of that sugar. I know what I use to get my families socks white…
Some of the other names that sugar goes by are:
- Barley malt
- Corn syrup
- Ethyl maltol
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Maple syrup
- Refiner’s syrup
- Rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
You probably recognize some of those. They are usually plastered all over the labels of foods that say things like, “Sugar Free”, “Low in sugar”, “Now with less sugar.”
So, before you decide something is über healthy because it says sugar-free, give your head a shake and the label a look.
Sugar in its purest form is a carbohydrate. A simple one, so too much of it in your body gets converted from energy to fat which is stored energy. I remember when I was a “big girl” I had a lot of “stored energy”. Mostly because I loved anything that had sugar in it. Sweets, candy, cakes, pop. All contain lots of sugar which is great for sweetening foods, not so great for helping you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Another incredible source of sugar (and by incredible I mean incredibly bad)…alcohol! In terms of simple…its pretty much the simplest sugar. Your body breaks alcohol down with ease. So much so, it shoves it immediately into the bloodstream and then into the cells for stored energy (aka FAT).
Be careful when you reach for the “sugar free”. Most foods that you buy in a store that are pre packaged and processed will contain multiple layers of sugar.
Even recipes that are promoted as sugar-free will often have ingredients that replace the word sugar with some other form of sweetener. Molasses, syrups, fruit juices and then all the words that end in ‘ose’.
So many foods that come to us naturally have sugar in them that nature put there. Fruits and grains are pretty much the most common ones. So, why not put fresh berries on the foods you want to sweeten up?
Finally, if there is one thing you take away from this, I want it to be this. High fructose corn syrup…avoid this like the plague!! I know it is all around us and that it is present in so many foods, but, avoid it. It’s cheap to make and does nothing good for you, in fact it does the exact opposite.
There is something else to watch for. Companies that have relied on cheaper chemical sweeteners to carry their bottom lines have been moving away from chemicals to all natural sugars…even they have realized health is more important than money. Something all of maybe need to look at…go retro!
I personally believe this is one sucker that will be made illegal some day. There is no physical goodness that comes from HFCS.