Get Real: Identifying Sugars
**This post is part of the Get Real series. Please remember that this is meant as a learning community. We know that many of you are passionate about what you do and we want you to express that, just please do so in a way that will be an encouragement and aid to others making a transition. We want this to be a “safe space” for participants to learn. For that reason, we reserve the right to delete any comments that are not handled in this manner.
Let me preface by saying, we are not nutritionists or experts on this topic. However I consider myself an “educated consumer” and I have consciously made choices on choosing sweeteners for my family based on research and reading I have done in my own time
Sugar is sweet, addictive and always takes me to my happy place. How about you? I will be the first to admit that I have an addiction to sugar, in ALL FORMS. I crave sweet treats and I have zero discipline. (I especially have no discipline when I’m this pregnant!) But interestingly enough I do have some control where I choose to make my sweet treats at home 99% of the time. And over the past year I have made the choice to switch our whole house to sucanat, and organic brown sugar for our treats. In other recipes I choose to use honey or 100% real maple or agave syrup because they provide a tad more nutritional value.
What you really want to know is did we make that choice? After all that you purged last week, how can you tell the difference and make the choice of what sugar is “best”? And what’s all the chatter about High Fructose Corn Syrup (HCFS) versus “real” sugar? What other sugars are out there and should you look for?
From the Sugar Association, “Sugar or sucrose – is a carbohydrate that is present naturally in fruits and vegetables. Sugar is most highly concentrated in sugar beets and sugar cane. Sugar is simply separated from the beet or cane plant, and the result is 99.95% pure sucrose (sugar). The sucrose from sugar beets and sugar cane is not only identical to one another, but each is the same as the sucrose present in fruits and vegetables.” Sugar is a product of nature. And our bodies recognize all sugars, natural or processed as the same. However processed sugars tend to metabolize faster, therefore creating a want for more. Here are a list of Types of processed sweeteners that you’ll find on labels of your foods.
High Fructose Corn Syrup or HCFS is one of the most debated sweeteners out there today. Like the above, it has been proven that the body does not process HCFS any differently than table sugar. However it is a highly processed product created by food scientists to provide better aesthetically pleasing baked goods and it can be produced at a fraction of the cost of table sugar. Therefore it is in thousands of products on your grocery shelves today.
In our home I have chosen to switch to organic sucanat (evaporated sugar cane) for our baked goods. It has a one to one ratio for white sugar, and we have tasted no significant difference in our treats. I also use raw honey or pure maple syrup in our drinks or other recipes to replace sugar. While still a sweetener, honey and maple syrup still have some nutritional value and can aid in easier digestion.
Here are some links from our blog partners on sugar I feel you will enjoy reading as well:
- Sugar Detox Challenge from Naturally Knocked Up
- Smart Sweets from Kitchen Stewardship
- Would You Feed Your Child A Twinkie for Breakfast? from Kitchen Stewardship
- Sweeteners 101 by 100 Days of Real Food
- HCFS 101 by 100 Days of Real Food
- Monitor or keep a journal of your sugar intake over the next few days and also note the times. Then take a look and see are you above or below the recommended intake of eight teaspoons a day? What times of day are you falling victim to a sugary treat?
- What changes after reading, are you going to make when it comes to sugar? Will you choose to use honey and maple or agave syrup more in your baked goods and favorite recipes? Will you cut back the amount of sugar overall? Or is this one hill you aren’t prepared to tackle quite yet?
January Get Real:
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