It’s time to set the record straight about our sweet friend: sugar. In recent years, various health trends and diets have vilified and demonized sugar. We’re bombarded with messages claiming that sugar is the root of all evil and should be eliminated from our diets entirely.
However, that isn’t true. Our bodies actually need sugar to survive.
In this blog, we’ll explore the truth about sugar and why we can confidently say that sugar is NOT the problem!
Why Is Sugar so Important?
Sugar, in its proper form and consumed in moderation, plays a beneficial role in our metabolism.
The body relies on glucose from carbohydrates as its primary energy source.
When we consume sugar from whole foods that contain cofactors (which we will discuss in a bit), our metabolism functions optimally.
Glucose is what powers our cells and fuels various metabolic processes. It’s the go-to energy source for vital organs like our brain, muscles, and organs.
Maintaining a balanced sugar intake within a well-rounded diet can support our metabolism and overall health.
Dangers of White Sugar
So, sugar is good for us…does this mean cake and brownies are “healthy”?!
The most common form of sugar intake is white sugar in our foods. The problem with this isn’t white sugar in itself.
The problems can come from our food types containing white sugar. These foods, such as cake and cookies, usually cause us harm in these ways:
- Lack of nutritional content
- Polyunsaturated fats
- Grains – May cause an inflammation response in our body if we have a sensitivity
- Highly palatable – Very, very easy to overeat.
Any time you want to increase your metabolic rate, you need to ensure you have all the cofactors that are coming along with that sugar source.
What are the Right Sugar Cofactors?
Now, here’s where things get interesting. Not all sugars are created equal.
Natural sugars, found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and even maple syrup, come bundled with essential cofactors like fiber, minerals, fructose, and vitamins.
Additionally, sugar from natural sources is often accompanied by fiber, which slows down glucose absorption, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels and promoting a steady release of energy.
These cofactors are crucial for our overall health and well-being. So, when we enjoy sugar from these whole foods, we’re getting a package deal of goodness that supports our body’s needs.
It’s crucial we don’t fall into the hype of avoiding these “naturally high-sugar foods.” We need them!
The Downside of Low-Carb, Sugar-Free Diets
Many diets advocate for cutting out carbohydrates and sugars completely, promising quick weight loss and improved health.
However, such extreme measures can have unintended consequences and potentially harm our overall well-being.
Restricting carbohydrates and sugars can lead to intense cravings for these foods. Deprivation often triggers a psychological response, causing us to fixate on the same foods we’re trying to avoid. This can lead to binge eating and an unhealthy relationship with food. All that hard work of avoiding carbs…down the drain once it backfires.
Carbohydrates and sugars provide essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
By eliminating these food groups, we run the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, which can impact our energy levels, immune function, and overall health.
Disrupted Hormonal Balance
Carbohydrates regulate hormones, including insulin, leptin, and ghrelin, which are involved in appetite control and satiety.
Eliminating carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, potentially leading to hormonal imbalances and difficulties managing hunger.
To avoid overeating carbs, consuming your carbs with a protein source and a little bit of fat is suggested. Feel free to try that, especially if you are reintroducing carbs into your diet.
Body Producing Its Own Sugar
Ok, so many people will say this is key and proof that we can live off of a zero-sugar diet, such as a keto-based diet.
It’s true; if our bodies are deprived of dietary sugars, they can produce glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.
This is a SURVIVAL mechanism, not an optimal way to live!
When our bodies need glucose, they break down precious muscle and other tissues to get the necessary building blocks. Over time, this can lead to muscle wasting away, loss of lean body mass, and other unwanted effects.
Ketogenesis also puts a heavy burden on your liver. So your liver is now working twice as hard because it has to convert fat cells into glucose.
So, while our bodies are capable of producing their own sugar, it’s much better for us to get our glucose from a well-rounded diet that includes the right mix of carbohydrates, cofactors, and nutrients.
Everyone’s body can react differently to not getting enough glucose into their bodies.
Personally, my metabolic function was very sluggish because it didn’t have the fuel that it needed. That was affecting me in the way of my digestive system and can be something to look into if you’re experiencing digestive issues.
Say “Yes!” to Sugar
Sugar isn’t the villain we’ve been led to believe. Our bodies thrive on glucose, and when consumed in the proper form—packed with cofactors and nutrients—it can be a delightful addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Let’s break free from the sugar-shaming mindset and embrace a balanced approach to sugar consumption. So go ahead, savor that piece of fruit, or indulge in a sweet treat.
Dive deeper into this health misconception and many more when you listen to my podcast here.
Hey there, I’m Kari!
As a Pharmacist and Integrative Health Practitioner, I get the privilege of working with women who are struggling with fatigue, poor sleep, painful cycles, digestive issues, and irritability- all of which have become their norm. And they are struggling just to keep up, simply wanting their health back.
I know what it’s like to feel frustrated and left with the same issues, even after spending time, energy & money thinking I’d found the answer.
With the right support, a proven method, and the Lord as our guide, let’s get your health back so you can run the race set before you with perseverance and joy.
So thankful you found your way here!