This article is everything but “sugar-free”.
If you’re anything like the average “health-conscious person” out there, you might find the information I’m about to share with you very difficult to digest.
I know. I was seeing sugar as an enemy just a few years ago. I was limiting all my carbohydrate intake, including fruits. I was confused, as I had no clear opinion of how to differentiate them.
Then something happened.
I was attending my holistic lifestyle coaching course. Where we were practicing muscle testing (kinesiology), I recall my body responding very well to simple sugar (fructose). It was very bizarre.
I was so convinced ‘sugar’ was so bad for me, but my body was trying to communicate with me its lack of sugar in every possible way. I was at a point I couldn’t ignore my “lack of sugar” symptoms any longer, I was feeling:
You have no idea how hard it was to change my belief around carbohydrates.
Finally, it got clear for me when I started checking a few of my great teacher’s books, such as Andrew Johnston, and Dr. Ray Peat.
Today, my aim is to clarify it to you, even if a tiny bit.
To do that, let me start with the GI.
To understand carbohydrates (sugars), I say sugar as all carbohydrates in the body, except cellulose, turn into glucose. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of the effect carbohydrates have on blood glucose levels.
Understanding the GI of foods can help reduce harmful spikes in blood sugar. The higher, the GI of a food is the higher the blood glucose response is.
After all, health is all about balance. Knowing how to keep your blood glucose stable by consuming low to moderate GI food is one of the key foundations in staying healthy.
Now that we got the GI out of the way. Let’s dig into understanding the difference in Types of Carbohydrates:
These are one sugar molecule (e.g., fructose, galactose) such as (Fruit, honey, fruit juices, and cane sugar).
These are two sugar molecules (e.g., lactose, sucrose), such as table sugar, milk.
These are long chains of simple sugar molecules (e.g., glycogen, starch), such as rice, cookies, pasta, potato.
How about taking a look at some of few of our most consumed foods GI:
• Glucose 96
• French Fries 95
• Potato Chips 90
• Bread, Gluten Free 90
• Rice, Instant 90
• Hamburger Buns 85
• Potato, Russet 77
• Bagel, White 72
• Wheat Bread, Wonder 71
• White Rice 70
• White sugar “Sucrose (Glucose and Fructose)” 64
• High Fructose Corn Syrup 62
• Honey 58
• Orange Juice 52
• Grapefruit Juice 48
• Lactose 46
• Pineapple Juice 46
• Apple 35
• Milk, Whole 30
• Fructose 22
If you pay attention to the list above, you will notice that the white sugar’s glycemic index is 64. Much lower than gluten-free bread or rice. Remember, the higher the glycemic index, the higher your blood glucose response.
On the other hand, gluten-free bread has a GI of 90.
Now if you have a knowledge of six years old in math, you’ll clearly understand the glucose response of the body from a gluten-free bread will be higher than the body’s glucose response to white sugar.
A typical question I’m usually faced after explaining this is that “oh, but sugar is refined and highly processed”. Well so is the gluten-free bread.
It’s not my intention to suggest you consume a spoonful of sugar instead of whole food. The point I’m trying to make here is to put the fear away around sugar, and to stop buying into these marketing myths of “sugar-free”, as well as to stop calling food that has a very high GI “sugar-free”.
A low sugar diet, especially a diet low in Monosaccharides and Disaccharides could end up causing serious health problems, such as sluggish liver, Thyroid disfunction, Slow Metabolism, even Diabetes to mention a few, according to Dr. Ray Peat Ph.D.
Next time your body is craving ice cream or dark chocolate, I’m hopeful you first honor your body’s craving, and I’m very optimistic you don’t fall into the marketing myth anymore and you buy the one that doesn’t state it’s “Sugar-Free”.