Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Science of Scary Sugars
This morning I blended up a beet, banana, ginger smoothie and was surprised at the burst of sweetness. At first, I wondered if I should have used fewer bananas. Then I remembered an episode of How It's Made that I saw that explained the lengthy process of processing sugar cane into refined white sugar. Since there is such confusion in the media about carbs, sugar, and artificial sweetness in relation to maintaining a healthy nutritional profile in your diet, I wanted to share the video.
Just because it came from a plant does NOT mean that refined white sugar is a natural food that humans can consume in nature. There's a guy in the video about 45 seconds in, who nibbles on the end of a piece of sugar cane. He could do that all day and probably be just fine. Whole plant based foods have a multitude of nutrients and compounds mixed with water and fiber in a wondrously complex package of healthfulness. Refined white sugar, on the other hand, is like a pharmaceutical grade narcotic. It is one specific, highly addictive compound, potent enough with one single serving packet, to affect the entire body for several hours.

Artificial sweeteners are like competing pharmaceutical companies, trying to duplicate the effects of a successful drug, with different chemistry, to avoid patent violations. Refined white sugar is at least a well tested substance in a worldwide, long term market, if I have to find one thing nice to say about it.

 If we consider refined white sugar to be an over the counter drug, like acetaminophen, you would never mix a couple teaspoons of Tylenol into your coffee in the morning followed by a donut with a few more teaspoons of fried Tylenol inside. You wouldn't follow that by several more teaspoons of generic acetaminophen with lunch in a diet soft drink. The moral of the story? Eat sweet whole foods, like bananas, to get your fix and avoid eating foods loaded with refined sugar or powdered chemicals that never had anything to do with a plant at all.

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