Not sure how to avoid added sugars? Confused as to why sugar can be more toxic than fats? Wondering how you can get that same sweet satisfaction without the processed, white sugar intake? Eloise Nelson, nutritionist, co-founder, and formulator of Foodie Fuel Snacks, breaks it all down for you here.
Sugar is Lurking Everywhere
Many of the foods you eat every day are chock full of processed sugars—and sometimes, the foods that are the biggest culprits are also the most unsuspecting.
For example, you’re probably well aware that, with its 10 teaspoons of sugar, a can of Coca-Cola probably isn’t the best healthy beverage option. But did you know that a glass of pasteurized apple juice contains virtually the same amount of sugar as that can of soda?
Fruit juices aren’t the only grocery store items that are surprisingly high in sugar. That low-fat yogurt you’ve proudly purchased for your morning breakfast because it’s “healthy” can actually contain a whopping 12 teaspoons of sugar. Add your crunchy, “nutritious” granola to that yogurt, and you could be adding another six teaspoons of sugar. Bottled condiments, like ketchup, barbecue sauce, salad dressings, and spaghetti sauce, in addition to protein bars, boxed cereals, and canned soups can be loaded with sugar, too.
Be sure to check the nutrition labels for excessive sugars, artificial sweeteners, and high fructose corn syrup before purchasing your foods. Foodie Fuel Snacks are actually produced with certified organic, GMO-free coconut sugar—a sweet, sustainable alternative that has a positive impact on your body and on the environment. More on coconut sugar a little later.
The Science Behind Why Sugar Makes You Fat
Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let me tell you that some sugar isn’t terrible. Your body needs sugar to survive, burning it as energy. It’s the excess sugar you consume that can’t be burnt fast enough, and, as a result, deposits in your body and tricks your hormones.
Here’s one reason why. Your liver stores sugar calories to be used when you need some immediate energy—but if you overload it by consuming sugar-heavy foods and drinks, then the excess is converted into fatty acids that travel through your blood stream and make themselves at home in your body. They first latch on as body fat, contributing to your expanding waistline. Once your “problem areas” are at capacity, the fatty acids spill over into your organs, raising your blood pressure, decreasing your metabolism, and weakening your immune system.
Here’s another reason: let me introduce you to leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when you’re full. Consuming exorbitant amounts of sugar creates leptin-resistant fats, making it impossible for your brain to get the message that your fat cells are full—you may feel like you’re starving, but you’re really not! It’s the excess sugar that’s masking the leptin.
Lastly, let’s touch on insulin—the storage hormone that escorts glucose into the cells to burn for energy and sends excess sugar into fat storage. When you consume superfluous sugar, your body overproduces insulin, and is a key contributor to type 2 diabetes.
Sugar Addiction is a Real Thing
I’ll give you the bad news first: not only does sugar scientifically make you fat, it’s also addictive. It’s been proven that sugar triggers natural opioids in the brain that are similar to the release felt from heroin or morphine. So, it makes sense, then, that sugar addiction is a very real and dangerous condition that can lead to bingeing and even withdrawal.
The good news, though, is that there are many sources of unprocessed, naturally occurring sugar—such as the coconut sugar found in Foodie Fuel Snacks—that gives you the same satisfaction, without the excess sugar and its addictive qualities.
Healthy Fats Don’t Make You Fat
Many people believe that it’s the fat content in their food that contributes to their expanding waistlines—and perhaps you’re one of them. Do you stress out about the “total fat” and “saturated fat” values on your food labels? Did you know that the sugar in your food is actually more detrimental?
Please recognize the huge difference between healthy and unhealthy fats. Healthy fats from sources, such as avocados, nuts, unprocessed cheeses, and the seeds found in Foodie Fuel Snacks, make you feel full and shut down your appetite so you don’t overeat. Our bodies use fat as fuel because it burns slowly in the body and sustains energy levels.
Sugar, on the other hand, stimulates your appetite for more sugar and carbohydrates, which are converted into fat because the body simply can’t burn that much sugar.
How to Avoid Processed White Sugar
Yes, processed sugars lurk everywhere, but here are a few tips on how to avoid them. Start by scanning your food labels before purchasing—if the ingredients include high-fructose corn syrup or artificial taste enhancers, such as NutraSweet or Sweet’N Low, then don’t buy it. Artificial sweeteners trick your taste buds and your brain into thinking you have eaten something healthy.
Fruit is a great choice to get that same sweet satisfaction without the processed sugar—it’s full of antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients. I suggest pairing fruit with plain yogurt (great options that are low in sugar include Redwood Hill Farm, Siggi’s, Kalona Supernatural, and Blue Hill), nut butters, or unprocessed cheeses, as the fat and protein complete the macronutrient profile and sustain your appetite longer. Foodie Fuel Snacks are also a delicious, satisfying option, due to their fiber, protein, slow-burning carbohydrates, and essential fatty acids—they are great when paired with plain yogurt, fruit, and nut butters!
Coconut Sugar is a Wise Alternative
And it is a smart substitute to regular sugar for so many reasons. Not only does coconut sugar contain nine vitamins, 13 minerals, and 16 amino acids, the coconut sugar we source to produce Foodie Fuel Snacks is also organic, non-GMO, and sustainable. Every shipment Foodie Fuel purchases is third-party tested by our supplier guaranteeing that our certified organic coconut sugar is pure.
Environmentally and socially friendly, the coconut palm tree produces a whopping 50 to 75 percent more sugar than cane sugar using just 20 percent of the resources required by cane sugar. Plus, most cane sugar, unless it’s organic, has been heavily sprayed with chemicals, is overly processed, and is void of nutrients. Genetically engineered sugar beets source most sugar on the market today.
The reason that coconut sugar is better for your body than processed sugars and artificial sweeteners is because it’s 70 to 79 percent sucrose and is only 35 on the glycemic index. This means that coconut sugar gets metabolized slowly through the bloodstream and it doesn’t spike blood sugar and insulin levels the way that table sugar does.
Love to bake and treat your loved ones with sweets? No problem! Simply replace the granulated white sugar in your recipe with coconut sugar at a 1:1 ratio.
Is Sugar Ever a Good Idea?
If it’s a special occasion where sweets are involved, such as a birthday party, you might want to have a bite of cake—and when you do, you’ll notice how overly sweet it is. Personally, I just avoid sugar, because it’s so obvious that the body can get addicted to it.
When it comes to sugar and children, please be mindful. Sugar is often the first drug people introduce their children to, which can lead to sugar addictions. My best advice for parents is to avoid giving your child processed sugar and candy before the age of four, as to not over-stimulate the their brains at this very early age.
We at Foodie Fuel value your health and your children’s health—we invite you to indulge not in processed white sugars, but instead in healthy, sustainable snacks that satisfy your cravings while nourishing your bodies.
Be well, my friends,
Nutritionist, co-founder, and formulator of Foodie Fuel Snacks