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Natural sugar: What it is and why you need it

If you explore our archives here on The Hot Mess Press, you’ll discover many articles pertaining to health and wellness. Several of our writers are big proponents of natural remedies and healthy lifestyles. In fact, if you’ve been following my posts for any length of time, you’ve no doubt read suggestions that say to get white, processed sugar out of your life. The thing is, however, that when people think of sugar, THAT is what they picture in their mind. That is not natural sugar at all. It’s more like a synthetic drug than anything else.

In this post, we’re going to talk about what real sugar actually is and why your body needs it. Now, don’t get all excited thinking that I’m going to promote a box of glazed donuts as a staple pantry item in your home. Nope. I’m still going to suggest that you eliminate white, processed sugar from your diet as much as possible. (Even if you only set one health goal this year, make it that. )

Natural sugar is an ingredient that your body needs

There are several types of natural sugar. The most important one for your body is glucose. (If you’re diabetic, then you have glucose issues, so some of this post may not apply to you.) People who do not have diabetes require approximately 130 grams of glucose each day for their bodies to function in a healthy manner. When you consume carbohydrates that contain sugar and starches, it breaks down into glucose in your body. Your body converts glucose into energy. Other types of sugar, such as fructose (NOT high fructose corn syrup – that stuff might as well be labeled POISON.) and sucrose, are obtained (mostly) through raw fruits and vegetables.

It’s always best to get the natural sugar your body needs from whole foods. Yes, juice is healthy but your body will absorb and digest natural sugars better from whole foods. If you’re drinking juice, there’s not a lot of digesting that needs to occur because it’s liquid. This means that all the natural sugar in the juice are going to reach your liver at the same time. Sometimes, that’s too fast. When you’re eating an apple or an orange, instead of drinking the juice of such fruits, you have to chew. Then, you have to swallow and your body has to digest the food. This takes a while. In this way, small amounts of sugar are reaching your liver, a little bit at a time. This makes the process your liver goes through a lot less stressful on the body. As for sugary drinks, they are just all-out disastrous for your health.

Glucose sugar plus fructose sugar equals sucrose sugar

As mentioned earlier, sucrose is found in abundance in raw fruits and veggies. It is made up of fructose and glucose. Sucrose provides the energy out bodies need for mental and physical functions. Can you obtain sucrose from table sugar? Yes, you can. But, should you? No, you definitely should not. When you get sucrose from whole foods, you also gain fiber, minerals and essential nutrients that your body needs. These things are not in the white, processed sugar on your table.

Are raw sugar and honey better than white sugar?

Many health experts say that sugar is sugar, no matter what form it’s in. Too much, as well as too much all at once, is never good for you. Others say that it’s always better to opt for raw sugar or honey over white sugar. (I agree with that tribe.) Similar to the reasoning that natural fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber and nutrients, the same goes for honey. It’s antimicrobial properties are known to heal infection and strengthen an immune system. As for raw sugar (which is brown, not white) a reason it might be a better option than processed sugar is that “white” products have usually been bleached. If you have a choice between a sugar that has not been filled with toxins over one that has, why not make the healthier choice?

Raw sugar does taste a tad different than the white junk. Your kids might complain for a while. But, they’ll get used to it. And, you’ll be glad that there are healthier alternatives available for your family. As for honey, always try to buy it local. Especially if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies. Local honey might alleviate your discomfort because it helps build up immunity.

A few final words about natural sugar

Other types of sugar, such as maltose or lactose, are contained in milk and dairy products, as well as fermented drinks. Yes, beer counts! It’s worth learning more about how our bodies make energy. In this way, you can start to make informed decisions regarding the things you eat and drink each day. Just like you don’t want your car to run out of gas, you want your body to have enough fuel to do what it needs to do each day, as well.

We all need sugar. We just need to be more careful how we go about getting it.

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