Which Natural Sugar is Best?
by Dr. Scott Olson ND
the title is actually a trick question. In order to understand why it is tricky, though, we
first have to take a little journey.
To answer the question about which natural sugar is best for you, you first have to
understand exactly what makes something a sugar.
Sugars are carbohydrates. And as far as carbohydrates go, sugars are the most
basic and simple that there are. Carbohydrates all have the unique property of being
able to snap together simple carbohydrate molecules to form long chains of more
Many of these simple sugar carbohydrates you probably know by name. You have
probably heard of glucose or fructose, some of the simplest carbohydrates. A little
more complex sugars sucrose (table sugar) is actually a glucose molecule attached
to a fructose molecule.
Longer chains of carbohydrates consist of simply stacking together more and more
simple glucose molecules, so when your body digests something like wheat bread, it
simply pulls the glucose molecules off of the bread and absorbs them.
A Look at Sugars
Okay, now that we know what a sugar looks like, let's see what makes up both the
natural and not-so-natural sugars that we eat:
Sucrose or table sugar: Sucrose (99%)
Maple Syrup: Glucose (trace), Fructose (trace), Sucrose (up to 80%)
Honey: Glucose (40%), Fructose (40%)
Fructose: Fructose (99%)
Turbinado: Sucrose (up to 99%)
As you can see, there is not much difference in any of these sugars. What maple
syrup, honey and Turbinado sugar have that white table sugar doesn't have is extra
vitamins and minerals. Maple syrup is high in iron, zinc and a few other trace minerals.
But here is the question you need to ask yourself: are those small amounts of
vitamins and other nutrients worth what happens when you eat those sugars?
Let's take a look at what happens when you eat these simple carbohydrates.
Body Meets Sugar
To your body, there is no difference if you are eating honey, white sugar, maple
sugar or high fructose corn syrup; they all cause a similar rise in blood sugar. So
while you may feel good about eating a snack bar with honey in it, or giving your
child fruit juice instead of soda, to your body, there is no difference. For example, a
typical glass of juice contains about 35-40 grams of sugar, which is the exact same
amount of sugar in a soda can.
While it may seem trivial that you or your children are consuming large amounts of
sugar, your body feels far different. High amounts of sugar in the body are linked to
obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and even heart disease and other diseases.
While there is currently no medical or governmental association who would tell you
that eating simple carbohydrates is bad for you, they are wrong. There is mounting
evidence that these powerful, high octane simple carbohydrates do damage to your
So, which is the best natural sugar for you to eat? The answer is there are no good
sugars for you to be eating. While there are trace amount of vitamins and minerals in
so-called natural sugars, they really don't provide a good enough reason to be
putting very concentrated carbohydrates into your body.
To be sure, staying away from sugars is a hard thing to do. We are all addicted to
sweet tastes. Taking small steps and removing as many sweets from your diet will
go a long way toward ensuring that you live a long and healthy life.
About The Author
Scott Olson ND is a naturopathic doctor and the author of Sugarettes a book on
sugar addiction. You can read more of his advice at: .
Choosing the best natural sugar
can be very difficult.
Maybe you find yourself in the store,
scanning over labels, looking for a
treat you can eat that doesn't have
white sugar in it, or maybe you are
trying to decide which juice to give
your child, or maybe you heard that
you should use honey instead of
sugar because it is better for you.
But what about maple syrup, or
fructose, or Turbinado, or raw sugar?
You may or may not know this, but
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|These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The content on
this website is for educational purposes only. Please consult with your physician before using natural
remedies and before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise program.
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