Right out of the gate I want to say that I personally do not like using the “scare/fear" tactic to create awareness or provide information about any given topic, however, since it is Halloween I surrendered to the fact that it makes sense to relate my topic accordingly so….BOO! That being said I want to give you the most relevant information regarding what sugar is all about, how it metabolizes once consumed, and some healthier alternatives you can try. Let’s make this sugar topic short and “sweet”.
What is Sugar?
A group of molecules such as glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose, and sucrose(aka, table sugar)
Responsible for 1 of 5 tastes that humans have…..sweetness
Processed in with cacao beans to make irresistible chocolate, yum
Slightly addictive since it stimulates our pleasure receptors in our brain through our amygdala, which is an area of our brian that is responsible for our emotional response towards food.
To the last bullet point sugar is energy and without it some people really struggle with how well they perform daily tasks, not to mention highly skilled tasks like those involved in competitive sports. In fact most sweet things produced naturally are calorie dense. Hence, the reason why we are innately drawn towards it since it promotes growth and a source or energy. Now we know why bears love honey so much. It is packed with so much calories and energy that they will endure the thousands of bee stings just to get a hold of some sweet honey. A quick performance tip: if you are looking for a good natural “pre-workout” try honey. Take 1-2 tablespoons of a local, organic, raw honey and watch how well you respond to your activity/workout/sport plus a bonus benefit of helping your pollen induced allergies.
How do we metabolize sugar?
First we have to remember that sugar is a form of carbohydrate. We actually start metabolizing carbohydrates in our mouth through digestive enzymes (i.e. salivary amylase) which is unique to carbohydrates as oppose to protein and fat which must enter the stomach to be broken down. So immediately carbohydrates are being broken down from the moment the food enters the mouth. This process continues as the carbohydrate passes through our stomach and digestive tract to eventually be released as glucose which is a key source of cell energy.
It is important to note that the more fiber a carbohydrate possesses then the slower the process of metabolizing that carbohydrate to glucose. This speaks to the fact that naturally occurring sugars in whole foods, such as vegetables and berries, contain essential nutrients vital to our health. Blueberries for example contain naturally occurring sugars along with Vitamin C and phytochemicals. With a well balanced fiber filled carbohydrate intake you get a much more steady stream of energy production.
Now we can see that “Sugar” itself is not a food, rather it is part of a food just as vitamins and minerals are part of that food. We can choose to eat things packed with nutrients or we can consume refined foods such as candy or pop that contain empty calories and nutrients. Let's choose whole foods with a high nutrient density!
“Good health is neither created nor destroyed by a single food.” - Krista Scott Dixon and Brian St. Pierre
Whole Food Options:
Vegetables: carrots, beets, squashes, sweet potatoes
Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (berries contain much more nutrients and phytochemical like fiber and antioxidants in relation to the amount of sugar)
Sweeteners: raw organic local honey, organic maple syrup, coconut sugar, dates
Sugar is a carbohydrate and metabolizes into a form of energy.
Sugar is caloric dense and if eaten in excess can cause weight/fat gain.
Sugar is metabolized faster if refined, slower if within a fiber rich whole food.
The best alternatives are the ones that supply additional nutrients, minerals, phytochemicals.
Now go out there and trick-or-treat your heart out, get spooked, and do some spooking but just beware that if you mindlessly consume all that candy you managed to scrounge up, then you just filled yourself with a bunch of empty calories that needs to be used or stored as fat. Choose wisely, fill your body up with nutrients that will help your performance, and most importantly continue to gain the knowledge you need to get better everyday!
For more information please feel free to send your questions to us at email@example.com
“The Surprising Truth About Sugar. Here's Everything You Need to Know about What It Does to Your Body.” Precision Nutrition, 7 Sept. 2017, www.precisionnutrition.com/truth-about-sugar.
“Sugar.” Precision Nutrition, www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/sugar.
“Phytochemicals.” Precision Nutrition, www.precisionnutrition.com/encyclopedia/food/phytochemicals.
House, Paul. “The Five Sweetest Vegetables You Can Snack On.” HealthAliciousNess, HealthAliciousNess, 12 Sept. 2017, www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/sweet-vegetables-snack.php.
Boldt, Ethan. “Top 10 Natural Sweeteners & Sugar Alternatives.” Dr. Axe, 9 Sept. 2017, draxe.com/natural-sweeteners/.