Sugar is one of the most valuable nutritive substances for the human body, as it supplies the body with the fuel it needs to function properly. Every motor requires a specific fuel in order to run: gas or electricity for automobiles, electricity for the vacuum cleaner, coal for a steam locomotive, and so on. Our “organic motor”—our physical body—is no exception to this rule, and its fuel is sugar. When it is burned in the cells, sugar provides the body with the essential energy it needs to successfully carry out its various tasks.
Sugar is, therefore, beneficial for the body. But we often hear of its many harmful effects: it attacks tooth enamel and causes cavities, it leads to weight gain, it causes diabetes, and so on. How can a substance be both beneficial and harmful at the same time? In fact, there are good and bad forms of sugar.
The good sugars are the ones offered by nature in the forms of fruit, honey, grains, and potatoes. The bad sugars are those that are man-made. These include refined white sugar; refined starches, such as all-purpose flour, that convert to sugar in the body; and all the food products that are based on them: candies, soft drinks, chocolate, white bread, white-flour pasta, and so on.
The purpose of this article is to show how these bad sugars have invaded our diet and jeopardized our health and to offer guidelines for diet correction or improvement. we will explain how to get rid of the bad sugars and what to replace them with, and where to find the good sugars. we will also discuss how to reduce cravings for sweets and ensure optimum results in the body’s production of energy.
THE GOOD SUGARS:
Nature not only “gives” us our bodies but also the foods they need to function properly. Foods are considered healthful when they are adapted to our physical organism. They are beneficial for us because they were planned for our use. Nature works on behalf of life. It does not offer foods that are harmful and destructive to the body.
Among the myriad foods that nature has put at our disposal, there are those that are rich in sugar. The sugars these foods contain are the “good sugars.” They must be eaten in the form in which they are provided to us by nature or at least one that is quite close to that form.
Some transformations are therefore acceptable, such as the cooking of cereal grains, or the making of juice from whole fruit. Any change that is more drastic, such as the extraction of one of their components, should be avoided. In fact, true food consists of a number of different parts, each one of which has an important role to play. Therefore, subtracting any of these parts should be avoided.
Some of the foods containing the good sugars offered to us by nature can be directly identified by their flavor, such as fruits, which have a sweet taste. Others do not have a sweet taste because the sugar they contain is in the form of starch.
– CARBOHYDRATE FOODS WITH A SWEET TASTE:
- Fresh fruits
- Dried fruits
- Fruit juices
- Sweet vegetables: carrots, beets, onions, sweet potatoes
- The juice of these vegetables and fruits
- Whole or unrefined sugar
– CARBOHYDRATE FOODS WITHOUT A SWEET TASTE:
- Grains: wheat, oats, barley, and so on
- Products made from grains: bread, pasta, and so on
- Legumes: soybeans, lentils, peanuts (which, despite their name, are not a
nut), and so on
- PotatoesNote: It is understood that the fruit juices in this list have had no sugar added and
that the grains are whole and unrefined.
THE BAD SUGARS:
Bad sugars are obtained from the adulteration of food. This adulteration primarily consists of extracting certain components and using them separately from the rest of the food.
The most common adulteration procedures are:
- extraction of sugar
- refinement of grains
Sugar extraction leads to the manufacture of white table sugar and confectioners’ sugar. The refining of grains permits the production of all-purpose refined flour, fake food that is just as harmful as white sugar.
The Extraction of Sugar:
Although human beings have always had sweet foods such as honey and fresh fruit at their disposal, they have been attempting for a very long time to extract the sugary part from various plants so they can use it freely in a concentrated form. Sugarcane, which contains 15–25 percent sugar in the form of sucrose, has long been utilized for this purpose. When stalks of sugarcane are crushed and then pressed in order to extract the sugar, the only component removed from the sugarcane is water. The crystallized sugar that is produced by this procedure therefore still contains all the vitamins, minerals, and trace elements of the plant. This is whole sugar; consequently, it is considered to be a good sugar.
However, for reasons of increasing profitability, preservation, and appearance (color and texture), the sugar industry developed a more drastic method of sugar extraction.
The sap is subjected to two operations of transformation. The first is a semi-purification that rids it of impurities, such as plant debris. The second transformation involves cooking the sap. The sugar contained in the sap crystallizes because of
the higher temperature. The sap separates into two large parts. One of these parts remains at the top of the vat: dark molasses. This is a thick, brown residue in the form of syrup. It contains sugar but its primary characteristic is its high content of minerals, vitamins, and trace elements. The other part, a mass formed by crystallized sugar that is greater in density, is deposited on the bottom of the vat.
This sugar is raw sugar. It still contains some nutrients but is no longer a whole food because it is lacking the nutrients found in the dark molasses. The cooking procedure is repeated several times on the residual liquid obtained after each filtration of the crystallized sugar. This means that each time it is heated again, the sugar remaining in this residual liquid precipitates and produces a certain amount of crystallized sugar. Repeating the operation enables the extraction of the maximum possible quantity of sugar, but with each cooking, this sugar loses more of its nutrients. Consequently, it becomes a deficient sugar that falls under the heading of bad sugars.
The sugar beet contains from 15–18 percent sugar, which, like sugarcane, is also in the form of sucrose. The extraction procedures (pressure, filtration) are first and foremost the same as for sugarcane. They are followed, however, by numerous purification procedures that aim to “cleanse” the sugar to the maximum extent possible. Unfortunately, this not only eliminates any plant residues but also all the vitamins and almost all of the minerals. The sugar that is obtained this way is commercially labeled “pure” because it is ostensibly the most purified, but the process has removed virtually all the nutrients other than a few minuscule traces of minerals.
In the accompanying table, we can see clearly the differences between whole unrefined sugar (with blackstrap molasses), raw sugar (without blackstrap molasses but still with some nutrients), and fully refined white table sugar.
RESOURCES HEALTHLINE, GREENMOUSTACHE, DR. AXE, AND WEBMD