Have you seen those articles entitled “I cut sugar out of my diet for a year and here’s what happened” or “This is what sugar does to your brain”? As you read through them, you find out that they felt more energized and lost a 1,000 pounds. They’ve also “proven” that sugar is bad. Barf. These articles get me so angry because they mislead people into blaming sugar for their dietary problems! I cringe when I hear people say they can’t eat fruit because “it has too much sugar.” Double barf.
Sugar can be detrimental in excess but mostly it’s fine. You may not want to agree but you have to accept this one scientific truth: sugar is our bodies’ preferred source of energy. Not fat. Not protein. Why? It’s the most easily metabolized and quickly absorbed of the three. For anyone out there who thinks they can trick their body into breaking down fat (into ketones) as a sustainable source of energy, please note that your brain is primarily sustained with glucose (not ketones), and that you are, in fact, an idiot.
Jokes aside, people often group any food with sugar in it into one category. That’s a big mistake because there are major differences between food with added sugar and natural sugar. Added sugar is well…added…to our food (duh) like cake, cookies, etc. It’s extra so moderate on these because they offer very little nutritionally. On the other hand, natural sugar can be found in whole foods like fruit, vegetables, dairy, and grains which offer high amounts of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Or simply put, an apple is not a cookie. A cookie is not an apple.
So, the next time you read those articles, remember that people eliminated foods with added sugar and substituted them with more whole food sources of natural sugar. Don’t be fooled!
Thomas Ngo RD
PS: Please don’t eliminate foods. Practice mindful eating to ease into moderation. Besides, elimination diets are so 2000-and-late.