Hey guys, this week I’m bringing you a post on refined Sugars Vs. Unrefined sugars. It is a very important healthy eating topic that, frankly, not enough people know much about.
If you caught our FitnessPlus Fact Friday for last week (April 5th), then you’ll remember that I talked about refined & unrefined sugars there as well. Basically, there are good sugars & bad sugars in the world. Good sugars are the ones which occur naturally & come packaged with many other important nutrients. Bad sugars are ones that are added into processed food & come without any health benefits at all.
Many people in the Health & Fitness industry mistakenly think that you should avoid sugar at all costs. I see this time & time again when I am looking around on the internet for information & ideas. Simply put, the idea that all sugar is bad for you is one of the biggest myths in the Health & Fitness industry.
The tricky part, for many people, is actually understanding which sugars are good & which sugars are bad, & why the good ones are actually good for your body. That is why I’m here to help! Below are refined sugars & unrefined sugars explored & explained.
Let’s start with ‘bad’ sugars. Yes, that’s right, refined sugars are the bad sugars. They are also the most common variety, the type that you see most often in the grocery store.
Refined sugar is bad for your body for any number of reasons, but it only takes two of them to really illustrate the fact.
1) Refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value. Though it is derived from sugar canes & sugar beets, every ounce of nutrition is squeezed out of it during manufacture.
2) Refined sugar can have harmful chemicals included in it. Because it goes through a bleaching process after it is extracted from a plant, it isn’t uncommon for refined sugar to contain small amounts of carbon dioxide, phosphoric acid, or calcium hydroxide in it. While a second processing step is geared to eliminate these harmful substances from the finished product, it ends up doing more harm than good as the sugar is often run through a beef bone char as well.
Simply put, refined sugars are always bad. Stay away from them. They’re the kind of sugars that are found in almost every processed food, examples which include sodas, sweets, & baked goods. You might have also heard of refined sugars referred to as ‘empty calories.’
‘Good sugars’ are sometimes known as unrefined sugars. Though that is a little misleading. In almost every instance, they have been slightly refined during their processing (but nowhere near as much as refined sugars). Because of this, unrefined sugars are often referred to as raw sugars.
The biggest benefit of raw sugar is that it retains many of the nutrients that it had before its minimal processing. This means that there is actually a reason to put it in your body other than just its taste. A few of these nutrients include phosphorus, calcium, iron, magnesium, & potassium.
Another reason that unrefined sugars are better than refined sugars is because they haven’t been extensively processed. No chemicals are used in processing so there is no chance that you’ll be consuming something that is dangerous to your body. In addition, the bone char step is also discarded (since the sugar doesn’t need to be unnaturally bleached).
Raw honey & raw maple syrup are two excellent examples of raw sugars. Obviously they can’t be used in everything but they do make an excellent sugar substitute in many cases. If you drink coffee or tea, just think about how many spoonful’s of sugar you could cut from your daily diet if you used a small quirt of honey as a sweetener instead.
Finally, the best kinds of sugars of all are natural sugars. These are very similar to unrefined & raw sugars.
Natural sugars are the types that occur naturally in many plants that we eat on a daily basis. Because these sugars are completely unprocessed & bound alongside dozens of other nutrients, they are completely fine for you to be eating. In fact, they are great to eat!
Fruits & vegetables of all kinds contain natural sugars. They are an essential part of any healthy eating plan.
What This Means for You
If you care about your body & healthy eating, then you should try to kick refined sugars from you diet. As hard as this may sound at first, it is actually incredibly easy to do.
The best way to start is by simply eating well all the time. Switching over to a healthier diet & following a healthy eating plan is a great start.
It is easy to cut back on the bad sugar that you eat by simply cutting processed foods out of your diet. Instead of buying chips, cookies, microwave meals, etc, buy healthy, natural alternatives. When you need a snack, have some veggies or make popcorn from scratch on the stovetop. It is important to steer clear of processed foods labeled ‘organic’ as well. Sure, they might be a little better for you, but they are still going to contain harmful bad sugars. Here is an interesting article from the NHS. They talk about how much sugar we actually need in our bodies.
Of course, you should also cut fizzy drinks & other sweet drinks out of your diet. These contain massive amounts of refined sugars. At the same time you are abstaining from fizzy drinks, you should also be staying away from sweets.
Basically, eating an all-around healthy diet & being aware of what foods have bad sugar & which don’t is the best way to cut refined sugar out of your diet. Yes, it might be hard to do at first, but your body will be thankful that you did.
Let me know if you have any questions regarding refined vs. unrefined sugars or need help creating a personalized healthy eating plan.
You can also check out my blog post on ‘What to Eat Before & After Trainting If Your Goal is Fat Loss’ for more healthy eating tips.
Thanks again guys, have a wonderful day!
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