WTF is up with sugar? Refined sugar vs. natural sugar

“WTF does she mean when she says, ‘This recipe is refined sugar free?!'” Let’s talk about it.

When I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia in college (after some freak fainting spells), I became hyper aware of my sugar intake and where I’m getting sugar from. Whenever possible, I seek out natural sources of sugar from fruits, vegetables and certain sweeteners.

Sugar-free isn’t something to aim for, but refined sugar free might be (remember, I’m no doctor). The body needs sugar — a simple carbohydrate that the body converts to energy.

  • The good: Natural sugars — fructose and lactose — are found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. When you get your sugar naturally, you’re also getting fiber, protein and other nutrients.
  • The bad: Refined sugar — sucrose, a combo of glucose and fructose — is created when sugar cane or sugar beets are processed to extract the sugar (think: granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar). Then, there is chemically produced sugar — high-fructose corn syrup. This stuff is pumped into “low calorie” and “low fat” foods by food manufacturers to make it taste better.

So, what should you be reaching for instead? Try to satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh or dried fruit. When it comes to cooking, baking or blending smoothies, my top three go-to’s are:

  1. Raw honey
  2. Pure maple syrup
  3. Dates

Other great alternatives to refined sugar are:

So, now you know WTF is up with refined sugar vs. natural sugar. When you are stocking your pantry with baking supplies, invest in the good stuff. It might cost you a little more, but your body will thank you.

Looking for the recipes in the graphic? Get the recipes for my doughnuts sweetened with coconut sugar here, the smoothie with dates here and the nuts with maple syrup here.