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Nutritionist Tip: Not all Sugars Are the Same

"Sugar" has become the catch all word for the terrible thing in your diet that causes weight gain, poor health and disease.

As an ambitious health-conscious person you want to make every effort to create a diet for yourself that is free of all sugar. While this is a well-intentioned task, it's also very challenging because most foods have some form of sugar in them, whether it's a natural or added sugar. So, it's important to note that not all sugars are the same.

Negative Effects of Sugar

Long-term chronic exposure to high sugar foods and beverages leads to many health complications down the line. High sugar diets have been linked to ailments like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, cirrhosis, cognitive decline, depression, gut dysbiosis, even some cancers. Poor diet and lifestyle habits are the number one reason for the onset of chronic illness.

Not All Sugars Are the Same

Though the presence of sugar is overbearingly extensive in the foods and beverages we consume, good news is not all sugars are the same. To simply, there are three categories of sugars - natural sugars, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

Because it is very difficult to completely eliminate sugar from your diet, as a nutritionist, I prefer to opt for a natural unrefined source of sugar when possible. Don't let food labels fool you. You'll often see items like cane sugar, date sugar, agave or honey listed which sound like natural sources of sugar. But food manufacturers use methods to refine these additives in the process of making packaged foods and snacks, so that these foods become much sweeter and more palatable. Sadly, this has a negative impact on blood sugar and insulin response when consuming these foods.

So if you want to enjoy your pancakes on the weekend, I would recommend topping them with a generous portion of berries with a drizzle - or two - of honey. Natural sugars can be found in foods like honey, maple syrup, fruits, root vegetables like carrots, beets, and potatoes. While sugar in large and frequent quantities is certainly known to be detrimental to anyone's health, opting for foods that are less refined and closer to how nature presented them to us will allow us to enjoy sweet flavors. An added bonus is that colorful sweet whole foods also provide beneficial nutrients and health compounds

Not All Sugars Are The Same

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