What?! In fact, it occurs naturally in many delicious foods we eat every day. If we were to avoid these foods, we would create major deficiencies of nutrients. For example, blueberries have natural sugar packed inside that little blue ball of fun, along with vitamin C and fiber. If we were to try to avoid all sugar, we would have to avoid fruits, veggies, grains, legumes and dairy. That is like avoiding vitamins, mineral and fiber.
Now that does not mean I want you to eat three pineapples in one sitting, ;), It means sugar is an excellent source of energy because sugar is a natural carbohydrate. Carbohydrates breakdowns into glucose and glucose gives us energy. Now we can get energy through proteins but, it a very long process to breakdown into glucose. Metabolically speaking, that would not be efficient.
In the right amounts and in the right way sugar is energy and it is good. Keep in mind that sugar is stored when eaten in excess, even the “good” sugar. It is there ready for use when we are. The balance is using the excess stored energy, if it hangs around too long it will eventually cause diabetes, obesity and many other metabolic problems.
In a nutshell, sugar is not the enemy in the war against unhealthy eating, without it we cannot survive. When looking at cutting back on sugar, evaluate the type of sugars you are eating. Are you reaching for an apple with almond butter mid-day or a Venti Mocha with a side of M&M’s?
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.