(modified 20.4.2017) Sugar in fruits is something natural and comes with a fibre content which keeps the blood sugar more stable – so thumbs up for the fruits! But if we think about the time of the hunter-gatherers back in the old days, who ate fruits only in the harvest season, it had a significant meaning for their survival. They were able to store fat in their body for the winter when food was scarce. Nowadays, in the western diet, we consume refined sugar as well as natural and artificial sugars everywhere and at all times, sometimes without knowing it, even though the need for the “fat storage” is no longer valid.
Too much insulin in the body causes also other problems. High insulin, for example, keeps body fat as a hostage and not letting the body lose weight even through exercise. Chronic high blood sugar causes chronic inflammation in the body when the cell functions become disturbed and more free radicals can activate (oxidation). Free radicals again increase the chronic inflammation. And the vicious circle is there.
Even artificial sweeteners might not the right answer as the results of the studies vary. Some scientific research shows that artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine and Acesulfame K in a long-term consumption are associated with dangerous side effects. People drinking zero calorie beverages and using sugar substitutes on a regular basis may be at least at increased risk of excessive weight gain. A 2014 study published in Nature found that saccharin, sucralose and aspartame all cause glucose intolerance which can increase calorie intake and weight.
While scientists are still debating whether or not artificial sweeteners are linked to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autism and even cancer, I happily use some other natural sweeteners such as fruits for my snacks and desserts. Artificial sweeteners, for some people, might also cause headaches, migraines, mood disorders, dizziness and episodes of mania or have gastrointestinal side effects that include bloating, gas, cramping and diarrhoea. What makes it so hard to figure out the true effect of a single chemical or a nutrient, is that often they work in synergy, in good and bad, along with our body’s own tendencies and changes in gene expression. So what might work for the other, someone else doesn’t tolerate.
A Big NO For Agave Syrup
Agave nectar may also be best to keep out of your cart even though it’s low-glycemic index. Agave nectar is often sold as a “natural” health food but it’s actually manufactured using a highly processed procedure which unfortunately strips all nutritional value and the end product contains more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Many Agave nectars consist up to 97% fructose which is the highest fructose content of any commercial sweetener! In addition, processed fructose is probably the single MOST DAMAGING FORM OF SUGAR.
- Natural Fruits & Berries
- Stevia (in a very pure form)
- Date paste / Whole Dates
- Coconut Nectar (only about 10% fructose)
- Raw Organic Honey
Read more about how sugar causes inflammation and brain disorders here.