Until recently most of us believed that fat in all its forms was unhealthy. As a result, foods like butter, full-fat milk, red meat, and other high-fat foods were exiled from our diets to make everyone healthier. The thing is despite cutting a large amount of fat from the diet, there was an increase in nutrition-related diseases such as:

  • - Heart disease

  • - Diabetes

  • - Cancer  

  • - Depression

It wasn’t dietary fat that was making people sick but sugar - more accurately, refined and added sugar. Sugar is naturally present in many foods – fructose in fruit, lactose in dairy, and glucose generally. However, added sugars are highly refined, don’t occur naturally, and are present in large (hidden) amounts in most processed foods.

Added sugar is unhealthier than fat and most of us should consume less than 25-30 grams of sugar per day. However, a can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar all by itself!


Added sugar is easily converted to fat

Sugar is a concentrated source of energy that is great for fuelling intense physical activity. However, even the most active person probably only does six hours of exercise a week and is sedentary the rest of the time. The result? Sugar that is not used immediately is quickly converted and stored as fat.


Sugar causes big increases in blood sugar and insulin

Eating a lot of added sugar causes a rapid rise in blood sugar which is why we initially feel good (before the crash comes). High levels of blood glucose are responsible for causing inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation is linked to many diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, many cancers, strokes, and heart disease. Sustained high levels of insulin and blood glucose are linked to heart disease, cancer, and can form fatty deposits in your liver.

To try and reduce high blood sugar levels your body produces the hormone insulin. Insulin takes glucose into your muscle and liver cells. However, it is also responsible for converting sugar into fat and impairs your ability to burn fat even during a workout. Over a long period of time, your body becomes resistant to insulin and you can progress to type 2 Diabetes!


Sugar steals your essential nutrients

Foods that contain naturally occurring sugars also contain vitamins, minerals, and other healthy substances – fruit for example. In contrast, high sugar processed foods do not. Digesting, transporting, and utilizing sugar uses a lot of nutrients which means added sugar uses valuable nutrients without providing any itself. This means that it is possible to eat a huge number of calories and still suffer malnutrition. Overweight and malnourished – talk about ironic!


Added sugars are highly addictive

Sugar is often added to processed foods just to increase sales. We tend to crave sugar – especially when we need an energy lift. Food manufacturers use this to make us eat even more of the foods we don’t need by adding sugar to them. They add sugar to over 70% of processed foods – even savoury foods like potato chips – so you’ll eat more without even realizing why!


Eating added sugar creates an energy roller-coaster

If you want stable energy levels, you need to eat slow-releasing carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and fibre. Not only will this stabilize your energy levels, but it will also stabilize your appetite. However, if you rely heavily on sugar for energy, you start a cycle that is hard to break and will find that your energy levels peak and dip around your consumption of sugar..


How to avoid added sugar

Keeping your sugar intake low should be relatively easy – just read your food labels and eat more unprocessed, natural foods. However, the food industry doesn’t want you to do that – their profits would take a huge hit. As a result, they use as many as 61 different names for sugar in the hope they will slip some added sugar past even the most label-savvy person…

 

  1. Agave nectar

  2. Barbados sugar

  3. Barley malt

  4. Barley malt syrup

  5. Beet sugar

  6. Brown sugar

  7. Buttered syrup

  8. Cane juice

  9. Cane juice crystals

  10. Cane sugar

  11. Caramel

  12. Carob syrup

  13. Castor sugar

  14. Coconut palm sugar

  15. Coconut sugar

  16. Confectioner’s sugar

  17. Corn sweetener

  18. Corn syrup

  19. Corn syrup solids

  20. Date sugar

  21. Dehydrated cane juice

  22. Demerara sugar

  23. Dextrin

  24. Dextrose

  25. Evaporated cane juice

  26. Free-flowing brown sugar

  27. Fructose

  28. Fruit juice

  29. Fruit juice concentrate

  30. Glucose

  31. Glucose solids

  32. Golden sugar

  33. Golden syrup

  34. Grape sugar

  35. HFCS (High-Fructose Corn Syrup)

  36. Honey

  37. Icing sugar

  38. Invert sugar

  39. Malt syrup

  40. Maltodextrin

  41. Maltol

  42. Maltose

  43. Mannose

  44. Maple syrup

  45. Molasses

  46. Muscovado

  47. Palm sugar

  48. Panocha

  49. Powdered sugar

  50. Raw sugar

  51. Refiner’s syrup

  52. Rice syrup

  53. Saccharose

  54. Sorghum Syrup

  55. Sucrose

  56. Sugar (granulated)

  57. Sweet Sorghum

  58. Syrup

  59. Treacle

  60. Turbinado sugar

  61. Yellow sugar

 

Substitute

There is no need to give up on sweet-tasting food altogether. In fact, if you are otherwise healthy and active, a little added sugar won’t do you any harm. There are also several natural sweeteners you can use in place of refined sugars which contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and so can’t be labeled as empty calories:

  • - Stevia

  • - Coconut palm sugar

  • - Raw honey

  • - Maple syrup

  • - Agave syrup

  • - Molasses

  • - Raw maple syrup

  • - Lucuma powder

  • - Artichoke syrup