The ‘good sugar’ vs ‘bad sugar’ debate is an interesting one. As far as nutrition goes, I just have an opinion on this as I am no nutritionist or dietitian, and my knowledge and understanding of the different types of sugars there are in foods is pretty rudimental for the moment.
‘Good’ sugars are often thought of as fruit, honey, dried fruit, syrup and ‘bad’ sugars are more obvious – chocolates, sweets, table sugar etc.
As I stated in my initial ‘Sugar Free Journey’ blog I was interested in maintaining a steady blood sugar level as much as possible over the course of the day. In which case, sweet foods and carbohydrates are to be avoided, including dried fruit, syrup, honey, bread, pasta and potato. That’s not to say there are no nutrients in these products but I believe they raise blood sugars therefore they have the same effect on us as table sugar. It’s important to remember that sugar is a carbohydrate too.
In addition I have found that whether I eat something sweetened with sugar, honey, fruit or syrup I still get the headaches, tummy aches or lethargy that I used to suffer from in the past. This can also apply if I eat bread, wheat products, rice, pasta and potato or drink alcohol.
Fresh fruit does have sugar in it. Personally I prefer to stay away from the sweeter fruits (banana, grapes, pineapple) and stick to citrus, apple etc. But any fruit is a much better option compared to snacking on sweets and chocolate and I would never give up eating fruit for the sake of a ‘true sugar free lifestyle’.
Saying that, if you’re juicing a whole bowlful of fruit every morning you’re having a massive amount of sugar in one go, which I don’t think is a good thing to do. If you eat two pieces of fruit you feel pretty full don’t you? I do. That’s because we are eating the fibre too which makes us feel full. Juicing removes the fibre but the sugar and vitamins remain. So this shows that even fruit sugars can easily be overdone and therefore be worse for us than we think. Smoothies are different, we cannot stomach as much in one go as we’re drinking the fibre too, and if you add some veg to the fruit the level of sugar will be lower than the same amount of a fruit-only smoothie.
I fell into sugar free living not by starting a ‘sugar free diet’ but by eliminating the obvious bad stuff (chocolates, sweets and biscuits mainly) which has steadily evolved into wide ranging sugar avoidance and a low carb high fat way of eating that I have discovered through my own research.
This doesn’t mean that I shun all carbohydrates – far from it. I do eat complex carbs such as sweet potato, butternut squash, rye/spelt breads, wholemeal pitta bread… but I eat a much smaller portion than I would have done in the past. Not a third of the food my plate, probably closer to a fifth or sixth. I substitute the ‘lost’ carbs with high fat foods like cheese, full fat yogurt, an extra drizzle of olive oil, coconut oil or butter. This gives me the extra energy I need.
Sugar from many different sources all affect us in the same way – our blood sugar levels rise so it’s really up to each individual to decide the sources of sugar to eat and how much to consume.
My other blogs: