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19 Sugars & Sweeteners: Which Are Healthy?

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19 Sugars & Sweeteners: Which Are Healthy?

Will the REAL FOOD Sugar Please Stand Up?

I love sweet things. As a child I was addicted to white sugar and this caused many health problems. This is one reason that at Real Food for Life I am always talking about real foods: foods that are whole, live and are balancing to the body. I try to find sugars in this category.

In my last Care2 articles I dealt with 7 Tips to Stop White Sugar Cravings and Reasons to Avoid Artificial Sweeteners. Now we deal with the more natural ones.

Not all sugars are equal. Some are very good for you in small quantities. Many are less healthy. Which ones on the following list would you consider real foods? Which do you use and why?

Common Sugars and Sweeteners

1. White sugar (aka sucrose)
White sugar is a pure chemical extract of sugar cane or sugar beet with no vitamins or minerals; these are stripped during the extraction process. Refined white sugar is a simple carbohydrate with lots of calories, no dietary fiber and is an isolate. Isolates never occur in whole foods. Vegetarians may note that it may be processed with bone char. Causes a “sugar high.”

2. Brown sugar
Brown sugar is white sugar coated in molasses which will add a few trace minerals but no healthier than white sugar and creates the same “sugar high.”

3. Fructose
Fructose is not from fruit; it is a commercial, refined sugar and it is no more nutritious than sucrose. It raises cholesterol, makes blood cells more prone to clotting, and it may also accelerate the aging process.

4. Sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols (Erythritol, Isomalt, Lactitol, Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, Xylitol, Hydrogenated starch hydrolysates) are neither sugars nor alcohols. They do have calories; Xylitol has more then half the calories of white sugar. The only problems I could find with them are that when they are eaten in excessive amounts they can cause gastrointestinal side effects (bloating and diarrhea), weight gain and increased blood sugars. Still they are not whole foods so caution must be used; the recommendation is to not use them on a regular basis.

5. Fruit juice concentrate
This is refined and has been stripped of flavor and nutritional value. It is rapidly assimilated in the bloodstream so not highly recommended.

6. Demerara sugar (natural brown sugar)
Also known as turbinado sugar, demerara sugar is made by extracting the juice from sugar cane and then heating it until it is turned into crystals. It does not preserve much of its original molasses content but does have lots of potassium and some minerals and vitamins.

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

163 comments

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12:34PM PST on Feb 1, 2014

thanks

12:01PM PST on Jan 30, 2014

I use Nectresse from a plant &
Truvia - I consider both good - better than sugar.

10:30AM PST on Jan 30, 2014

I don't use much sugar, but when I do, I just go with the original.

1:54AM PDT on Aug 30, 2013

Thank you :)

6:05PM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

Thank you

3:53PM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Stevia, love it - also home made juice

8:40AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

thanks

12:23PM PDT on May 16, 2012

Thank you

3:37PM PDT on May 15, 2012

I bought Stevia concentrated. But it is not very concentrated as it takes very many drops just to sweeten your coffe as much as you would do with just a spoonfull white sugar.
But this is Denmark and Stevia has just been allowed a few months ago.

3:37PM PDT on May 15, 2012

I bought Stevia concentrated. But it is not very concentrated as it takes very many drops just to sweeten your coffe as much as you would do with just a spoonfull white sugar.
But this is Denmark and Stevia has just been allowed a few months ago.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

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