It would be almost impossible to eliminate sugar from your diet, but you might be looking for a few healthier alternatives. Sugar can be found in everything from fruit, to meat, and dairy—but also in soda, candy, and pastries. However, is sugar really bad for you?
Unrefined vs. Refined
Sugar is a naturally occurring simple carbohydrate that your body converts into the glucose you require for energy. So, no, sugar in and of itself is not bad. However, unrefined sugars (unprocessed natural sugars) are better for you than refined (chemically derived and processed) sugars. Refined sugars are digested and metabolized at a rapid rate, creating an instant spike in your glucose. In moderation, this is often not an issue, but since the average American consumes between 150 and 170 pounds of refined sugars each year—it’s an issue. Sugar has become a major contributing factor to weight gain, diabetes, and a long list of other health concerns.
Refined Sugar Alternatives
If you are looking for an alternative to refined sugars, consider these healthier alternatives:
- Maple syrup
- Coconut palm sugar
- Fresh or frozen fruit, juice, or smoothies
As with anything, enjoy all things in moderation. And don’t forget that you can often swap sugar in your favorite baked goods for applesauce or pineapple!