SUGAR – A sweet crystalline or powdered substance, white when pure, consisting of sucrose obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beets and used in many foods, drinks, and medicines to improve their taste. Also called table sugar.
White sugar is the refined sugar most people use on a daily basis. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back in. Nutritionally, brown sugar is the same as white sugar.
Brown sugar, which has gained popularity today, is white sugar with molasses added back in. Molasses is a by-product of the sugar production process and of the sugarcane fibre. When brown sugar is referred to as “raw sugar”, it is the sugar that has not been fully refined. This is the process of removing molasses from the sugar crystals. However, commonly available brown sugar is the refined white sugar with added molasses.
As specified before, both white sugar and brown sugar are similar in nutritional content. One hundred grams of brown sugar contains 373 calories, while a hundred grams of white sugar contains 396 calories, but, brown sugar is denser than white sugar.
As our brains can demand around anywhere from one-fifth to two-thirds of the body’s total energy output, we can see they need a constant supply of fuel. When this is interrupted or not consistent, our mood can suffer and we can also crave quick-fix supplies – the reason why mental health issues often correlate with sugar cravings and addictions.
The taste of glucose goes right to the brain, to the hypothalamus, a primitive region related to reward, emotion and a sense of well being, stimulating the release of dopamine. In other words, we are hard-wired to love sweetness.
Sugar ages cells in the brain corrupt memory function, stimulates belly fat, can cause inflammation of the skin and is as equally toxic to the liver as is alcohol. But psychologically sugar wears us down by boosting us up only temporarily.
We all know by now that too much sugar is not good for you. But why is it so bad? Here are 5 of the top reasons why sugar is a no-no:
- Sugar suppresses the immune system. When you eat a big dose of sugar, like a bottle of Coke or a candy bar, you temporarily tamp down your immune system’s ability to respond to challenges. The effect lasts for several hours, so if you eat sweets several times a day, your immune system may be perpetually operating at a distinct disadvantage.
- Sugar promotes inflammation. Inflammation, which is part of the immune response, is not always a bad thing. But eating sugar foods can fuel excessive, inappropriate inflammation that serves no useful purpose and actually promotes ageing and disease. We pointed out that cutting back on sugary foods will help you avoid excess inflammation. If you want to slow down the ageing process, do what you can to naturally enhance your body’s production of human growth hormone. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar is a good way to do that.
- Sugar promotes glycation. Sugar molecules treat your body like a singles bar. Once they get into your bloodstream, they start looking around for things to hook up with, like attractive protein and fat molecules. The hookup is known as “glycation” and like most hookups, the results aren’t pretty. These glycated molecules act like drunken sailors, careening around your body, breaking things and peeing where they shouldn’t. They produce toxic compounds called advanced glycation end products, or, AGEs. That is perhaps the most poetically-just acronym in biology because AGEs essentially throw the ageing process into fast-forward. And much of the damage done by AGEs is irreversible.
- Sugar raises insulin levels. An influx of sugar into your body will have a fairly predictable result: Your blood sugar levels will zoom up. Shortly after, your pancreas will release a bunch of insulin to help clear sugar from your blood into your cells. As blood sugar levels go down, insulin levels return to normal. But when you eat a lot of sugar, you’re constantly calling for insulin, and that can backfire in a couple of ways. Over time, it takes more and more insulin to get the job done. Eventually, your pancreas may just stop responding to the call. Congratulations, you’re now an insulin-dependent diabetic. And along the way, exposing your cells and organs to chronically high insulin levels accelerates the ageing process.
- Sugar feeds Candida. Candida’s function in the body is mainly to destroy all putrefied food matter in our digestive tract before any potentially harmful bacteria can have a feast on it, multiply, and then become threatening to our health…You may then become distended, constipated; allergies may begin to form, skin rashes and adult asthma symptoms may occur. What would once be considered normally benign yeast has literally morphed into an aggressive, destructive, fungal pathogen that can cause a variety of health problems from head to toe; often perplexing traditional doctors…Carbohydrates, even healthy complex carbs, break down into glucose (sugar) in the digestive tract, and sugar feeds Candida. All sugars MUST be avoided.
Our whole body – including our brain – is designed to receive a slow release of carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, grains, beans or dairy in the form provided by nature. This helps promote a more stable delivery of glucose, the type of sugar carbohydrates break down into and we use for energy (production), to the bloodstream and therefore the brain. Lots of sugar or even a high starchy-carb meal (as in potatoes, grains and beans), can cause a surge of glucose that results in a quick drop after as the body over-compensates to move potentially damaging sugars out of the bloodstream.
Sudden low blood glucose or reactive hypoglycaemia can result in anxiety, especially for individuals prone to it. This is, in part, due to increased adrenaline that occurs when blood sugar drops quickly as the system believes it could starve and must get food for survival. This is where cravings begin – at this point, we don’t care what it is we eat, the feelings that result – irritability, dizziness, anxiety, fatigue, headaches – prompt a survival mechanism to simply “fuel up right now!” and we can turn to these kinds of foods that quickly (but not subtly) ramp up blood sugar levels again:
- High-sugar foods include processed cereals, refined “white” grains, soft drinks, fruit juices, added sugars, confectionary, sweets, chocolate, fruit ”flavoured” products, low-fat desserts including frozen yoghurt, alcohol, custard, cheap dark chocolate, any milk chocolate, ice-cream, cakes, biscuits, and desserts.
- Stimulants include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and recreational drugs. If addictive relationships to any of these are present, addressing sugar and stress issues first is the best preparation for full avoidance. They can be reduced as the individual feels comfortable.