Sugar - The Best And Worst Explained

These days there is a plethora of “healthy” sweeteners on the shelf so it is time we take a look at sugar and break down the best and worst so you can understand what decisions to make!

Diet plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A lot of people are not able to achieve the desired weight despite their efforts and it can become increasingly frustrating. One of the questions I get asked daily is about the sugar mystery.

Is one sugar really better than the other?

In general parlance, the term sugar is used to refer to the natural soluble sweet tasting substance which we add to food for taste. This is a simple carbohydrate which has small chains and is broken down by the body almost instantaneously. Complex carbohydrates are the double/triple chained molecules which cannot be broken down by the body easily, like bread.

If you are looking into ways to identify the slower-acting “good carbs” from the faster “bad carbs” you can refer to the glycemic index which will help you fine-tune your carb counting if this aligns with your goals to help keep your blood sugar levels more steady.

Sugar is not poison or toxic. Like anything, consume sugar in moderation and everything will be okay! Here are some tips when it comes to consuming sugar:

Sugar - best and worst explained Dunnebells.jpg



  1. CHOOSE UNREFINED SUGAR

A balanced diet is a must for a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding sugar altogether is not a viable option in my opinion. What is more realistic is consuming the right kind of sugar. Yes, you heard it right, the right kind of sugar. The simple carbohydrate can be broadly classified into two categories- Refined and Unrefined sugar. This distinction is based on the degree of processing the sugar has undergone and its nutritional content. While refined sugar is a highly processed form of sugar, unrefined sugar, as the name suggests, is not processed. It retains its nutritional content. It can become very difficult and unsustainable to try and avoid sugar altogether, but you can make the wise decision of choosing unrefined sugar in place of refined sugar for “healthier” alternative.

Examples of readily available unrefined options would be honey, agave nectar, date sugar, and molasses.

2. LIMIT REFINED SUGAR

As mentioned earlier, refined sugar is the processed sugar which undergoes chemical treatments to reach its present form. The motive behind processing is to convert it into its sweetest and the most easily soluble form. But in this process, the sugar loses its natural nutrients like iron, magnesium, etc. So, it can be said that refined sugar is empty calories which may cause that sugar rush when ingested. This may not have been the answer you were hoping for because there are lots of delicious things that contain refined sugar! I dive deeper into my thoughts on the topic over on the no sugar coated truth about sugar.

3. DON’T OVERDO IT WITH SUGAR INTAKE

Now that you are aware of a healthier sugar type, it does not mean that you can go about consuming as much unrefined sugar as you want. What needs to be kept in mind is the reason MOST health professionals will recommend a minor consumption of sugar is due to the high amount of calories which come along with it. Sugar is a very simple molecule making it very easy to be processed by the body. It is converted into energy almost instantaneously by the body. This is why you should not overdo your sugar intake. This becomes especially true if you do not have a very active lifestyle or sit at a desk all day. This extra energy remains unused and is then converted into fat.

Although there is still not much evidence supporting this, there is the possibility that high consumption of fructose (a kind of sugar) increases susceptibility to type II diabetes and cancer.

4. CONSUME SUGAR AFTER WORKOUTS

When you convert some candy straight after a workout the sugar will not turn into body fat. In fact, for about an hour after working out, all the sugar is utilized for muscle restocking. This happens because digestion of sugar requires a release of insulin from the pancreas, which in turn facilitates the synthesis of proteins which in turn aids muscle restocking and repair. Sugar, because of its high glycemic index, is best suited for providing instant energy to athletes.  Thus, consumption of sugar right after work out is advisable.

5. USE SUGAR FOR PERFORMANCE

Sugar is an instant source of energy which in turn makes the body active and more focused. Tests have shown that sugar releases happy hormones in the brain and helps in alleviating mood. It even acts as a motivating agent. When used correctly, sugar can be a great thing to add to your training for performance.

6. BEWARE OF SUBSTITUTE SUGARS

Substitute sugars claiming to be calorie free are gaining popularity nowadays. But are these safe? Given they do not have a high-calorie content, this for whatever reason seems to eliminate the reason we are so concerned with our sugar intake. You may think it is a blessing if you have a sweet tooth. “YAY sweetness with zero calories”. But the effects of these substitute sugars can be harmful to you. A lot of people are allergic to some of the other components inside these fake sugar. This makes the consumption of substitute sugar a road to be trodden carefully.

If I had to recommend one substitute sugar for you, Stevia would come out on top when compared to other options. It does not raise your blood sugar but still provides that “sweet” taste to food and drinks.

SUGAR - THE BEST AND WORST EXPLAINED SUMMARY

It is very important to pay attention to what you eat. Sugar is hidden in a lot of our foods and when consumed in large amounts can certainly hinder your results when you are trying to be healthy. At the end of the day, you can still lose weight and develop muscle if you consume sugar. I even recommend small amounts of sugar to be included in your diet (which is why tracking macros is the BEST).

At the end of the day, as someone who lost over 65 lbs trying to figure out the best and worst types of sugar, I know what it feels like to be completely confused and just need some help! If you want to lose weight, develop that toned look and increase your energy while still eating sugar and sweets the #1 thing I recommend doing would be to get yourself an online trainer and trust the expert! You WILL see results like 100’s of my clients around the world who take part in the 8-week program.

Stay strong. Be the fire.

Dunnebells.

If you haven’t signed up for my Facebook group yet, you can sign up here.

Leave me comment telling me know which topics you want to see for the next Just The Tip Tuesday!