I know that for some this is basic 101 territory, but recently several of my educated nutrition minded friends have been appreciative of a reminder on how to be sugar smart.
When it comes to consuming sugar the first step is the "Holy Question." Get the most unprocessed form possible.
Raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates, other sweet fruits, and as a last resort raw unprocessed cane sugar.
While this is a good first step, what many people forget is that sugar is still sugar regardless of how high or low its quality.
It reacts the same inside of your body, asking the pancreas to produce extra insulin which then results in more fat storage in your tissues.
A glass of orange juice compared to a can of soda sounds much healthier and in one regard it is, but the comparatively 12 oz of OJ has 31.2 grams of sugar while a 12 oz soda contains 33.6 grams. Not much of a difference, and our body treats the sugar of both in the same way.
If you're thinking, "well I haven't gained weight from my sugar habits," drop it, as you might be a "tofi," thin on the outside fat on the inside.
Tofi folks don't show outer fat symptoms but the degradation of internal functionality is exactly the same as someone who is obese. They still experience brain fog, higher blood pressure, kidney exertion, increased risk of diabetes, and higher probability of certain cancers.
So what's the solution? It's all about playing chemistry with food.
Sugar won't spike our blood sugar if we ensure there is ample fiber or fat/protein to accompany its absorption:
- This is why fruit is a better choice then fruit juices. If fresh juice is your favorite opt for more of a smoothie juice which has the fiber, or drink your juice with your meal if your digestion can handle it.
- When using honey consume it with a nut butter, or have a spoonful at the end of a meal.
- Love a drizzle of maple on morning oats? Not a problem, add a 1/4 teaspoon of ghee (clarified butter) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- When it's chocolate time choose one that has nuts and/or coconut oil.
- When making a sweet smoothie put in some nuts (better than nut milks who's fiber is removed), a high quality protein powder, and coconut oil.
- If baking, use ghee and high quality eggs.
- When eating a baked potato put some high quality butter and organic grass fed sour cream.
- If the salad dressing has honey or maple, put ample nuts, seeds, or another source of protein.
If you are not sure about the sugar content of a food look it up in the Glycemic Index (which will also tell you its glycemic load)
Even if you are a health nut, it's time to get sugar smart!