• Lisa A. Smith

Understanding Sugar Take I

At this point, I don’t think that repeating how detrimental sugar is to your health, well being, and weight loss goals is necessary. We all know that sugar is not good for us. Instead I want to talk about the following:

  • Different types of sugar

  • How sugar works in our body

  • Where does fruit fit in

  • How do we incorporate sugar into an overall supportive nutrition plan

This is a lot of info so I’ll be splitting it up into 2 posts. Part 2 will be posted next Friday.

Part I: Types of Sugar All sugars are NOT created equal. Below is a basic overview of popular sugars.

  • Dextrose, fructose, and glucose are all monosaccharides, known as simple sugars. The primary difference between them is how your body metabolizes them. Glucose and dextrose are essentially the same sugar. However, food manufacturers usually use dextrose in their ingredient list.

  • Simple sugars can combine to form more complex sugars, like the disaccharide sucrose (table sugar), which is half glucose and half fructose. High fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose.

  • Ethanol (drinking alcohol) is not a sugar, although beer and wine contain residual sugars and starches, in addition to alcohol.

  • Sugar alcohols like xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol are neither sugars nor alcohols but are becoming increasingly more popular. They are absorbed from your intestine, therefore they provide fewer calories than sugar but often cause bloating, diarrhea, and gas.

  • Sucralose (Splenda) is NOT a sugar but instead a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and can result in negative health consequences.

  • Agave syrup, is HIGHLY processed and is usually 80% fructose.

  • Honey is about 53% fructose, but is completely natural in its raw form and can have many health benefits when used in moderation.

  • Stevia is a highly sweet herb, which is safe if in it’s natural form. The problem is food manufacturers use fillers in many stevia products. Opt for a natural brand such as NuNaturals or Sweet Leaf.

Ok Lys, so how do I use this information?

Well the first thing we suggest during our nutritional coaching here at Professionally Fit is all about mastering reading your labels. So now that we've familiarized you with different types of sugar, I challenge you to not consume anything with added sugar (or the sugar like substances mentioned). The obvious foods like candy, pastries, pop and juice will be easier but now you must check your cereal, dressings, sauces etc. If you see any of the names for sugar we mentioned above try putting that item back and choosing another. CHEAT CODE: Avoid packaged foods altogether and you wont need to read anything! :)

Next week I'll be sharing how sugar metabolizes in your body, the lowdown on fruit and how sugar fits into your nutrition plan. Talk soon.


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