What I'm talking about when I talk about sugar

There are so many different substances that we've lumped under one name: Sugar. 

You can read an article that says sugar is poison. And then read that sugar is vital to every cell in your body. 

Its confusing. 

You've got glucose, fructose, galactose, maltose, sucrose, lactose, starch and glycogen, for the molecular component.

Then there's white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, agave, cane juice, cane sugar, coconut sugar, dextran, maltodextrin, sorghum, treacle, and the list goes on for the names you'll see listed in the ingredients.

Some of these sound healthy. And we've been told they are. And some sound like strange chemicals we want to stay far away from!

So let's clarify...When I talk about sugar, I'm focusing on fructose. 

Why fructose? It's from fruits, and fruits are good for us.

True and true. But we've manipulated fructose into something it was never supposed to be.

And it is a dose dependent issue. So the more you have the bigger the issue becomes.

A little bit, as in fruit, is good for you. But as you've read in my previous article, we are consuming way more than we should. And that's when things get sticky.

We're finding fructose is linked to:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • insulin resistance 
  • type II diabetes
  • obesity
  • metabolic disease
  • cancer growth
  • increased appetite
  • leaky gut
  • accelerated aging
  • dementia
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

That's some scary stuff right there. 

The thing with fructose is its never found by itself in nature. It gets partnered up with glucose. So when you see the sugar listed on the ingredients list, its hard to tell if its fructose or glucose or maltose or lactose. 

To help you out with this here's a list of the more common sweeteners and their fructose content:

  • Table sugar (sucrose): 50% fructose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): 42-55% fructose
  • Honey: 40% fructose
  • Agave: 70-90% fructose
  • Maple Syrup: 40% fructose

Let's look at a 12 oz can of Coke. The main sweetener is HFCS, as you see listed in the ingredients list.

Always look at the list of ingredients when checking out nutrition labels. The ingredients are listed in order of content. Carbonated water is listed first, meaning that is the main ingredient involved. HFCS is next, so it is the 2nd main ingredient. And so on. 

There are 39 grams of sugar in this can. 55% of those are fructose, so you have 21 grams of fructose in this one can. 

Remember, the WHO recommends women consume no more than 24 grams of sugar a day. This can of Coke is well over that amount. The fructose content alone is just about there. 

When it comes to sugar content, the fructose in these sweeteners is all the same. Yes, raw honey may have some added benefits, but that doesn't give way to consuming excess amounts. 

It is still necessary to limit the amount added to coffee or tea.

I challenge you to start paying attention to the labels. Keep a tally of the amount of sugar you're taking in. It adds up quickly. 

I'm putting together my Sugar Free Living program to help you quit the sweet stuff. So stay in touch for announcements coming soon!

In the mean time, sign up for my newsletter and get your 10 tips to quit sugar!


Some sources I used for the data:

USDA: http://www.usda.gov/factbook/chapter2.pdf

American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Frequently-Asked-Questions-About-Sugar_UCM_306725_Article.jsp

Fat Chance by Robert Lustig, M.D., M.S.L.