Sugar 102: Good Sugar vs. Bad Sugar

If you’re like us, you can’t keep up with the forever and ever, ongoing “healthy sweetener” debate. Every time we turn around, a new one is flooding the market – like a Kardashian in a tabloid. Use this, not that… until the next big trend. The truth is, unless it’s a whole food sugar, it’s probably not so good for you. However, many of us are also scared of good sugar. So, let’s talk…




If Sugar is So Bad For Us… Why is Sugar in Fruit OK?

It’s more than OK – it’s flipping awesome! Simple sugar, the stuff that occurs naturally in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts, these are the good sugars… the sugars you want in your life. So, stop throwing shade its way. These foods are like cheerleaders for your bod – they come packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, phytochemicals, fiber and more.

Something to think about the next time you pass up an apple or papaya because you’re trying to “cut back on sugar” – that fruit you just said no to is packed with vitamins’ C, E, A, B-complex, potassium and calcium (to name a few awesome immune-boosting nutrients). You know, the stuff that makes you healthy and gives your skin a glow. Did we mention it’s also packed with fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids?

So many times, good sugar is made to be the bully on the playground, but the truth is, it’s the high-energy kid nobody can keep up with… the one who can run circles around everyone else.


Processed, Added “Bad” Sugar

When sugar is added to foods during processing, cooking or when we sprinkle it on our strawberries, we are ingesting extra calories without any nutrients or fiber. Simply put – this is the bad stuff. This is the junk we want to avoid as it has absolutely no nutritional value… just a whole lotta empty calories. If we want to avoid vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients and flavonoids – this is the sugar to get the job done. And it will, over and over and over – because it’s wicked addicting. Betty Ford addicting.

Chow down on this: excess added sugar in the diet also takes a toll on the body over time. From speeding up the aging process, landing us in the dentist office and wreaking havoc on our liver and other organs, processed, added sugar is badass in a bad way. We don’t need to share with you how it increases pant size, the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers – that’s in the news all the time. Added sugar is bad — not rad.

It’s common sense really: for lifelong health and well-being, do we grab an immune boosting and disease preventing, anti-inflammatory apple with its simple, natural sugars that are good for us, or do we reach for the “I’m cutting back on sugar,” low-carb chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar?

We have much more to say on this topic, so check out the other blogs in our URBAN ROOTS KITCHEN Sugar 101 series and remember this: instead of running from sugar, embrace the good stuff and kick the bad stuff to the curb.

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