Packed with Love and Sugar too.

We all love that taste of freshly baked cookies, you know like the ones mom use to make? There's nothing more comforting to walk into a house that smells of that love baked right in. While this post isn't about those cookies, there is some light to shed on sugar in the Standard American Diet (SAD) and its effects on the body. Sugar while it's sweet to the tongue, isn't sweet on the body. First you should know, sugar comes in many forms in our food. These include fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, and sucrose.

  • Fructose, also known as fruit sugar is found in those delicious natural sweets, fruits. This sugar is broken down in the liver and turned into glucose. This is the sweetest of all sugars and accounts for 10% of our daily food intake. It has also been linked to the rising obesity rates in the past several decades. You may of heard of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), more on that to follow. Don't be fooled, the most natural source of fructose is fruit, but he harmful effects of fructose apply to a western diet supplying excess calories and added sugars. It does NOT apply to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Period.
  • Glucose is the most common sugar and the sugar that the body prefers to use for energy.
  • Lactose, found in milk and dairy products is a hazard for some people who can not process it properly. If you have bloating or cramps frequently try cutting out dairy to see if it's the cause.
  • Maltose, is not found in the foods we eat. Instead, the body makes it when a person eats foods that contain starches such as potatoes and bread.
  • Sucrose, other wise known as white sugar or table sugar is found in the most common foods we eat such as bread, pasta, cereals, potatoes, etc.
Sugars are hidden in many foods under different names, look for the following when you're shopping the next time.
  • Agave, sweeter than HFCS.
  • Barley Malt, grain based, half as sweet as sucrose but still causes high blood sugar spikes.
  • Beet Sugar, usually genetically modified
  • Blackstrap Molasses, unsulfured is high in antioxidants but its hard to tell which kind you're buying.
  • Brown Rice Syrup, a culprit of inorganic arsenic
  • Brown Sugar, only difference from white sugar is taste
  • Buttered Sugar, butter mixed with powered sugar
  • Cane Juice Crystals, fool's gold of sugar. Labeled as healthy but still delivers the same effects as white sugar.
  • Cane Juice, often made in countries with less restrictions therefore more chance of contamination
  • Cane Sugar, can raise blood pressure, cholesterol and contribute to insulin resistance
  • Caramel, cooked sugar
  • Carob Sugar,  after being processed not much remains other than empty calories
  • Caster Sugar, fine table sugar
  • Coconut Sugar, isn't as harmful as most types of sugar but still high in calories
  • Corn Sweetener, most corn in the US is genetically modified, not something I'd want to put in my body
  • Corn Syrup, not as bad as HFCS but still not worth the lack of nutrients
  • Corn Syrup Solids, derived from corn just as those listed above
  • Crystalline Fructose, pure fructose, linked to fatty liver disease
  • Date Sugar, less processed than other sugars
  • Demara Sugar, large grain sugar with hints of caramel flavor
  • Dextran, produced by our body when breaking down starch
  • Diastatic Malt, powder produced from barley
  • Diatase,  helps your body process sugar you eat by turning it starch into maltose and then into glucose.
  • Ethyl Maltol, gives food a sweet scent 
  • Evaporated Cane Juice, derived from sugar cane syrup 
  • Fruit Juice Concentrates, this is what's left over when the water is removed from fruit juice 
  • Galactose, can raise your blood pressure and contribute to diabetes 
  • Golden Sugar, also known as unrefined sugar or golden caster sugar, retains some nutrients from less refinement. 
  • Golden Syrup, British corn syrup. Same effects as good ol' HFCS.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup, your body metabolizes this stuff in a way that encourages fat storage.
  • Honey, bees make it. It has good antibacterial properties for helping your throat heal when you're sick, but the pasteurization process takes away from the health benefits.
  • Invert Sugar, made through animal enzyme modification. If you don't know what something is, don't eat it.
  • Malt Syrup, high in carbohydrates that raise your blood sugars.
  • Maltodextrin, found in many processed foods. Can be harmful for those with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or corn allergies.
  • Maltose, half as sweet as white sugar.
  • Maple Syrup, from the trees but loses it's health properties if you use anything above grade B.
  • Molasses Syrup, good sources of iron and calcium but can have a laxative effect and trigger allergies.
  • Muscovado Sugar, sibling to brown or turbinado sugar.
  • Organic Raw Sugar, white sugar alternative with the added chemicals.
  • Oat Syrup, good source of antioxidants and can help lower cholesterol but still high in calories.
  • Panela, basically pure sugar from Latin America.
  • Panocha, combo of sugar, butter and milk.
  • Confectioners' Sugar, used in frosting and baked goods.
  • Rice Bran Syrup, B-vitamin concentrate.
  • Rice Syrup, low on the gylcemic index but high in maltose.
  • Sorghum, high in fiber but high in carbohydrates too.
  • Sorghum Syrup, no meaningful properties to be had.
  • Sugar, Syrup and Sucrose- no healthful properties. All attribute to obesity, high cholesterols, and other health issues. 
  • Treacle, a form of golden syrup.
  • Tapoica Syrup, can be used interchangeably with maple syrup. 
  • Turbinado Sugar, our bodies see this as white sugar.
  • Yellow Sugar, no this isn't sugar that has been wizzed on. It's white sugar with molasses added in.

That sure is a lot of names for one thing! The most important thing you can do to lower and remove these from your diet is to read the labels. Better yet, stay out of the middle of your local grocery store where the boxed, canned and processed foods live. The outer perimeter of the store will typically house the fresh vegetables, fruits, and meats your body needs to perform. If your label doesn't say one of the forms of sugar listed above, the next best thing is to look at the carbohydrate count. The count is a quick way to make a decision because it takes both sugar and starch into account. Both of these effect the way the body responds regarding fat storage. 

Although sugars are not harmful to the body, our bodies don’t need sugars to function properly. Added sugars contribute additional calories and zero nutrients to food. 
Daily Added Sugar Limit GraphicOver the past 30 years, Americans have steadily consumed more and more added sugars in their diets, which has contributed to the obesity epidemic. Many studies have found that it is not fat that is contributing to high cholesterol but sugar. Reducing the amount of added sugars we eat cuts calories and can help you improve your heart health and control your weight.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. For most American women, this is no more than 100 calories per day and no more than 150 calories per day for men (or about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men).
It's also worth mentioning that sugar substitutes aren't a way to circumvent sugar in your diet. These products are like a trick for your body and brain. If you've ever tried cutting sugar in your diet, you know this can be an incredibly difficult task. This is most likely because you are addicted to sugar whether you knew it or not. Sugar is the #1 addiction that is legal and widely available. 

Sugar hijacks the dopamine receptors in our brain and cause the effect to function similarly to drugs of abuse like cocaine and nicotine. People who are predisposed to addiction become increasingly unfazed by the amounts they intake and need more over time to achieve the same "high".