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Should you quit sugar?

By Michelle Kirby - 17 September 2014 5

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Agave syrup, Xylitol, Stevia, Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar?

What to choose?

Well it depends on your health, weight, risk factors and whether you have food sensitivities.

Some of you may have read ‘I Quit Sugar’ and have been using Brown Rice syrup, also known as rice malt syrup instead of sugar.  This is not a health food! There’s a highly detailed post from authoritynutrition.com with links on our Facebook Page if you’re interested.

This sweetener is made by exposing cooked rice to enzymes that break down the starch into simple sugars. Brown rice syrup contains no refined fructose, just glucose. The absence of refined fructose is good… but rice syrup has a glycemic index of 98, which means that the glucose in it will spike blood sugar extremely fast. This can result in cravings, hunger and fatigue. Brown rice syrup is highly refined and contains no nutrients.

Research done (Environmental Health Perspectives Journal) on brown rice syrup found levels of arsenic up to 20x what’s considered okay.  This was in baby formulas, brown rice syrups, cereal bars & “Energy Shot Blocks”. These need to be avoided.

An Australian company Pure Harvest makes organic rice malt syrup and released this statement when the Arsenic issues hit the media. So you can come to your own conclusion about it.

“The FSANZ standard 1.4.1 permits a level for cereals of 1 mg/kg (ppm) of total arsenic. As can be seen from the test report provided, our rice syrup has a level of <0.040 mg/kg (ppm) of total arsenic (note the less than, this is the detection limit for the specific test used to detect the arsenic in this case, so the actual levels are less than this), so is well below the maximum permitted levels stated in the code. The American FDA do not have any standards set for arsenic in food or beverages, and are in general many years behind Australia and New Zealand in the development and implementation of Food Safety systems.”

If you are avoiding sugar due to diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity you are better off with low GI Xylitol. Honey & Maple syrup (40% fructose), coconut sugar (50% fructose) are still sugar and contain varying degrees of fructose, but at least they have some nutritional advantages.

Those on FODMAPS diets due to reaction to the different kinds of sugars naturally occurring in food are better of with glucose!

Agave syrup is high in refined fructose and to be avoided by everyone. Just because it’s ‘natural’ doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Studies done comparing diets high in glucose and fructose showed that those consuming higher fructose processed foods and drinks had more of the dangerous visceral fat around their bellies. This means the risk of obesity and diabetes increases if the diet doesn’t change. Their levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides were higher than those consuming glucose.

Fruit is totally okay and should be eaten twice daily. Juice is not okay due to high concentrations of sugar and no fibre to slow it down.

So, as you can see there is quite a bit of controversy around sugar and it’s alternatives. The bottom line is to make sensible choices based on your lifestyle and health issues.

Avoiding processed food and soft drinks and eating fresh vegetables, fruit and a variety of meat, chicken, fish, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds is a good start.

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Should you quit sugar?
zllauh 8:17 pm 18 Aug 15

There are some good points but now a day who can avoid softdrinks when outside.
Atleast i cannot :p
But we should eat fresh stuff instead of packed items which contains a lot preservatives in them .
Workout and stay healthy 🙂

JimCharles 12:11 pm 20 Sep 14

Mysteryman said :

They justify it by saying that there’s no sugar, or it’s made with healthy ingredients, .

Reminds me of my wife’s first attempt at a healthy meal many years ago. Got home to vegetable quiche and brown bread and butter.

Leon 11:30 am 20 Sep 14

In support of Sandman’s comments, humans evolved with a love of sweet things because that ensures that we get the nutrition we need from fruit.

When refined cane sugar became available a few centuries ago, we could satisfy our sweet cravings without getting any real nutrition. Refined sugars (including fruit jiuce and many cane sugar substitutes) cause tooth decay and diabetes, and contribute to many other diseases.

One result of our obsession with sweetness is such that most restaurants only offer desserts whose main flavour is cane sugar.

Foodies who stop adding sugar to our food can rediscover the real flavours of many foods, from coffee to peanut butter and fruit.

Mysteryman 9:13 am 18 Sep 14

These are good points.

IMO, most people should be eliminating sugar from their diet and not looking for ways to substitute. Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, etc, don’t have refined sugar. Cooking and eating these things shouldn’t require sugar substitutes. What are you eating so regularly that you need to look for alternatives to sugar? I hear too many people saying they are quitting sugar, then proceed to eat just as many brownies, cakes, muffins, etc, as they used to. They justify it by saying that there’s no sugar, or it’s made with healthy ingredients, when really they should be shifting to a diet that isn’t dependent on sweet foods.

Just my two cents.

gooterz 11:13 pm 17 Sep 14

Fruits contain heaps of sugar.. where are you getting for facts from?

Eat fast and live longer!

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