Often I get the question: what is the best type of sugar to use? The immediate answer is none! Surprising as that may seem, it is true. Most of the refined or processed sweeteners people consume are not health promoting. When processed foods that contain sugar taste so delicious, we believe it has to be good. Quite the opposite is true. I have created a table of common sweeteners and their values and then compared them to carbohydrates such as bread and potato.
Glycemic Index is a rating of food’s influence on blood sugar and subsequently how insulin levels are elevated. The higher index number means blood sugars rise very fast. Continuous eating of foods with a high glycemic index means blood sugars stay high as do levels of insulin. This is the avenue for chronic inflammation and disease in the body.
Sugar similar to caffeine, alcohol and nicotine are habit forming and comumption of the substance just triggers our body to beg for more.
|Type of sugar||Glycemic index||Amount||Insulin elevation*|
|Table sugar (sucrose)||65||1 teaspoon||yes|
|High Fructose Corn syrup||89||1 teaspoon||yes|
|Agave (fructose)||11||1 teaspoon||no|
|White rice||90||½ cup||yes|
|White bread||70||1 slice||yes|
|White potato||101||4 oz boiled & peeled||yes|
Fructose is also a sugar but unlike its cousin glucose and sucrose, it does not raise blood sugar. So, does that mean it is good? It can actually cause a more serious problem. The liver processes fructose and when we consume a large amount (as often we do) the liver becomes overwhelmed and converts the fructose right into fat (called triglycerides).
The take home message about sugar is stop consuming so much. Eat no processed foods and find sweet treats in completely fresh fruits (avoid dried fruits). Sweet drinks including fruit juices affect both blood sugar and the liver. Moderation, moderation, moderation is key to optimal health!