What Is The Healthiest Sugar Option? | You Versus Food | Well+Good

What Is The Healthiest Sugar Option? | You Versus Food | Well+Good

– I can eat sugar with either hand. I’m ambidextrose. (upbeat music) Hi, I’m Tracy Lockwood Beckerman. I’m a registered dietitian
in New York City, and it’s my job to help you figure out what to eat, and why. Today we’re talking about a sweet topic in the food world, sugar. Treats are everywhere, tempting you as you walk
down grocery store aisles, following you home flirting from afar, and even sneaking onto your TV screens. And I have so many questions, what are the different kinds of sugar? Are there better alternatives for your favorite sweet treat? How much sugar, if any, is okay to have? What does it do your body, and what the heck do people mean when they say added sugar versus regular? I’m here to answer all of
these questions and more, before you sugar rush off to celebrate and salivate this season. As you may know, there are so many
different kinds of sugar. There’s brown sugar, corn
sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose,
high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar,
lactose, xylose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and turbinado sugar. Phew, but what does it all mean? Allow me to sift through it all for you. Sugar is made up of carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. But what makes each of these carbohydrates or sugars different, is the way all of these
atoms are connected. Essentially these sugars are all the same, they’re just derived
from different sources. That being said, there
is a distinct difference between two of the major sugar categories, sugar versus added sugar. Sugar naturally occurs in foods. Natural sugars are found in whole unprocessed foods
such as fruits and veggies that normally have fewer
calories and less sodium, with a higher water and nutrient content than foods with added sugars. The fiber in these products slows down how quickly your body digests the sugar, so you don’t get the same sugar spike as you do from added sugars. While these sugars are carbohydrates, the foods they’re in
provide other nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and D. Added sugar is what it sounds like, it’s sugar that has been added during the manufacturing
and prepping of a food. Take for example oat milk, it has naturally occurring sugar, because it’s made from
oats, a carbohydrate. Now, think of vanilla oat milk, it may have added sugar in
it because of the flavoring. And on the label, you will see X number
of grams of added sugar. The main difference here is that sweeteners or
added sugars on their own do not contain protein and fiber, which causes your body to
digest them even faster and spike your blood
glucose or blood sugar, hence the sugar high. Sugar gives your body energy. You eat a meal and your body begins to break down the nutrients that are in the food like sugar, so your cells can get to
work fighting off bacteria, healing your paper cut,
digesting your food, and making your body’s energy, regardless whether you’re gonna
hit the gym, or the couch. Now for the nitty gritty, I mean grainy. Eating sugar alerts your
cells to release insulin. Think of insulin as a little boat that goes and picks up the sugar, a.k.a. glucose molecules, from your blood. In diabetes, the body
doesn’t have enough boats, or insulin, to bring sugar into the cells, which can lead to health
issues down the road. But even if you don’t have diabetes, too much sugar can have many
negative impacts on your body. Excessive sugar consumption can cause unwanted weight gain as it increases your
hunger and desire for food. It may also increase your
risk of heart disease and type two diabetes, as it leads to obesity,
inflammation, insulin resistance, and elevated triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels. And sugar is highly
addictive, releasing dopamine in the brain, causing your
body to respond similarly to addictive drug exposure, whoa. So when you’re going
to grab a sweet snack, just make sure to always be
checking for added sugar. You can also Google the glycemic index, which tells you how quickly
your blood sugar will rise after eating carbohydrates. And if all else fails, look for the low glycemic
index symbol on the package. Eating a food with a GI of 50 or lower like zucchinis, pears, and chickpeas will not cause your blood sugar to spike as severely as eating a
food with the GI level of over 50 like white bread or pretzels. These days, there are a
ton of sugar alternatives on the market, but not
all are created equal. Stevia has been a popular, go to artificial sweetener for years. It has fewer calories than sugar, and may be a great alternative for people on low calorie, or low carb diets. Replacing sugar with stevia can also reduce the
glycemic index of foods, and thus will have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. However, some studies say that stevia may act as
an endocrine disruptor and cause an increase in insulin response and heightened food cravings
due to the sweet taste. And then there is agave, the predominant carbohydrate
in agave is fructose. Studies have shown agave to have a low GI and praised it for its
antiinflammatory properties. This is good; however, commercial agave is oftentimes refined and processed, which destroys some or all of the beneficial health properties. Coconut sugar has a high
content of micronutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, and has disease preventing
short chain fatty acids like polyphenols and antioxidants. Studies have shown that coconut sugar can help reduce blood sugar levels when compared to those
eating regular table sugar. This is likely due to the higher fiber content in coconut sugar. That being said, coconut sugar contains the same amount of
calories as regular sugar, still has fructose in it, and is similar to most added sugars, so be sure to use in moderation. Honey has more calories than sugar, is technically sweeter,
and has more fructose. But honey is micronutrients, antioxidants, trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, as well as a lower GI
index than white sugar, So it’s generally the
better, more natural option. ♪ Sugar, do, do, do, do, do ♪ ♪ Oh, honey, honey. ♪ Maple syrup is two thirds sucrose, or table sugar in makeup. Therefore, it still has
a high glycemic index, just not as high as white sugar. That means it raises blood sugar at a slightly slower rate, while also containing some
nutrients and antioxidants. Some of these alternatives are not as bad as white sugar, but they cannot be
objectively labeled healthy, because no matter the type
of sweetener you choose, it’s important to consider
the glycemic index. We wanna make sure our
blood sugar stays stable to prevent spikes causing
moodiness, sugar cravings, hormone imbalances,
and insulin resistance. Although you may have been
looking for a sweeter answer, I’m going to refine, I mean refer, back to my favorite line. Moderation, moderation, moderation, that’s six teaspoons for women, and nine teaspoons for men. Gimme some sugar and subscribe to Well and Good’s YouTube channel. See you next time for another episode of You Versus Food. Oh, you just subscribed. Oh, you’re too sweet. ♪ I just took a DNA test ♪ ♪ Turns out I’m 100%, that sweet. ♪ I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, I have a terrible voice (laughs).

3 thoughts on “What Is The Healthiest Sugar Option? | You Versus Food | Well+Good

  1. Love you but according to Dr. Micheal Greger the old thoughts that sugar causes diabetes is now considered incorrect and fats from meats and dairy are what cause diabetes. Please look him up.

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