This week, a piece in the Daily Mail showed how much sugar is found in so-called “healthy treats”. Whereas the ingredients all look wholesome as they label themselves as raw, grain free, vegan, etc a closer look will reveal that in reality they are all very high in natural sugars. Items such as dates, raisins, raw cane sugar - are ALL sugar!
Hidden sugars are ingredients that have been added to a pre-prepared product to add flavour and texture it but also sugars found naturally in certain foods.
Whilst we are familiar with white granulated sugar as being sugar, we are still unfamiliar with the other names that sugar presents itself in our food.
Here is a list of names that sugar presents itself as in pre-prepared food:
It also presents itself naturally in dates and raisins and other naturally occurring fruit.
Chicory Fibre - a better option all round
Chicory Fibre (also known as Fructooligosaccharide [FOS]) is a naturally occurring alternative sweetener. A growing body of evidence continues to show the importance of a healthy gut environment is not only helpful for bowel health but also to enable full absorption of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, through our gut. Studies into the health benefits of chicory fibre show that it stimulates the growth of beneficial bacteria in the human gut and hence termed as prebiotics.
The use of chicory fibre as a natural sweetener offers satisfaction to one’s sweet tooth whilst avoiding unnecessary sugar and also avoiding blood sugar spikes. It is for this reason that here at Natural Ketosis we use only chicory fibre in our nut bars, thereby ensuring that the quality of our food is second to none.
New research shows that honey is as bad as sugar! The research carried out in America and sponsored by the National Honey Board of America, clearly shows that the effect of honey on our blood sugar levels as well as an increase in inflammation levels - the same as highly processed sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup and regular table sugar.
Honey is frequently hailed as a superfood, not to mention other health uses such as an antiviral and as an anti-fungal. Whilst these latter claims are well substantiated and have strong scientific claims behind them, the use of honey as a “healthy” sugar substitute or as a superfood are less-than glorious.
The micronutrient content of honey consists mainly of vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. However, from a nutrition perspective, that’s all - 5% of the total honey content. The other 95% is made up of a variety of simple carbohydrates (sugars), the main one being fructose.
Therefore the idea of substituting sugar for honey, may not be the healthiest thing that you can do as in actual fact you have not removed ANY sugar from your diet.
Last week, the nation was gripped by Jamie Oliver’s latest documentary “Sugar Rush”. Jamie revealed the shocking truth that some of us are still oblivious to - that sugar is bad for our health and that it is an irreversible damage in some cases. However, whilst it is great that Jamie Oliver is raising the issue of sugars, hidden or not, we feel that it is also adding to the confusion about what constitutes the right nutrition for overall health.
Don’t get us wrong, we are in complete agreement with Jamie that excess sugar is indeed bad for our health and that it has found its way into a lot of unsuspecting products on the supermarket shelf. However, advocating that sugar from soda drinks is bad, whilst sugars from fruit and honey are good is still not getting away from the problem - sugar is still present.
Whether it be added sugar to drinks and to stir fry sauces, natural sugars are still sugars and they will still have the same impact on our teeth and on our health when consumed in excess. The counter argument to this is that natural sugars such as those in fruit and honey come with a host of other nutrients. True, but for the body to obtain any benefit from these, you need to eat your way through A LOT of fruit and honey. The sugar will play a negative role in your health, before you achieve any of the health benefits associated with the other components of these foods.
Honey is 95% sugar whilst fruits such as apples and bananas contain 11.6g and 18.1g per 100g (roughly 1 apple and 1 banana portion) of sugar. This is still sugar and will have the same impact as white sugar to your teeth and to your body.
It is also worth mentioning that starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta etc, will be digested into sugar and will exert the same pressure on your body. Starchy foods are made up of a series of sugar molecules linked together in a long chain. Once in the gut our digestive enzymes break these links releasing these individual sugar molecules. It is these molecules that are then absorbed into the bloodstream and have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels.
So what are our final thoughts?
Minimising sugars in the diet is always a positive and your body will thank you for it.
However, starchy carbohydrates will still have the same impact on your body as sugary foods, so we are not moving away from the villain that is sugar.
We believe that by focusing on fruit and vegetables that are naturally higher in dietary fibre, but lower in sugar and starch content (think green vegetables) will help to ensure that you are meeting all the vitamin and mineral requirements for optimal health and most importantly moving away from sugar and the negative impact it has on health.
Welcome to The Natural Ketosis Company’s blog. We are fed up with the abundance of weight loss myths and miracle solutions that constantly appear in the press. Therefore, we have decided to expose the ridiculous claims that are prevalent in the diet industry and, hopefully in a humorous way, give you our honest opinion about them. We love to hear your opinions so please do not be afraid to comment!