In our fast-paced world, we often seek quick fixes for low energy levels. Many people turn to processed sugary snacks and energy drinks, to get a temporary energy boost. While these sugary treats may provide a short-lived surge of energy, they often lead to energy crashes and negative health consequences.
What is considered a processed sugar? Processed sugars are sugars that have been refined and often added to various foods and beverages, such as candy, soda, and baked goods. Our bodies struggle with digesting these sugars and they often are left to sit in the liver, clogging an important organ.
What happens in our bodies when we consume processed sugars? Processed sugar causes quick spikes in blood sugar, leading to potential health problems like diabetes. It also has no nutritional value, often makes us eat too many calories, and is addictive, contributing to weight gain. It can actually deplete your body of essential nutrients. Processed sugars are also linked to heart disease, liver issues, and dental problems. Plus, it promotes inflammation, which can cause various health issues, including chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and certain cancers.
Choose Wisely: Natural Sugars
Natural sugars can boost energy levels sustainably by providing a gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream, thanks to their fiber content and nutrient synergy, which includes vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Natural sources of sugar come bundled with a plethora of essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
Natural sweeteners include:
Cane Sugar: Cane sugar is derived from sugar cane plants. It undergoes minimal processing to extract the sugar crystals from the plant.
Coconut Sugar: Coconut sugar is derived from the sap of the coconut palm tree. Cane sugar has a lower glycemic index (GI) compared to some other sugars. This means it has a slower and steadier impact on blood sugar levels, leading to fewer spikes and crashes in energy. It also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Raw Honey: In its natural state, honey is loaded with beneficial enzymes, antioxidants, and antimicrobial properties.
Dates: This yummy sweet fruit retains the fiber and nutrients found in dates, making it a nutritious sweetener.
Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is derived from the sap of sugar maple trees. It provides some minerals like manganese and zinc. Make sure you choose Grade A or B and avoid processed brands.
Monk Fruit Sweetener: Monk fruit sweetener is derived from the monk fruit, a small green gourd native to Southeast Asia. It is known for its intensely sweet flavor but contains no calories or carbohydrates.
Stevia is a well known sweetener which is a plant-based sweetener extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant.
It’s important to note that while these natural sugars offer some health benefits compared to processed sugars, they should still be consumed in moderation. The key is to make mindful choices and enjoy these natural sweeteners as part of a balanced diet, which includes a variety of whole foods.