How to detox your kitchen: Say no to sugars

Part two of three: Get sugar out of your pantry

Sugar. It is everywhere and in everything we consume from formulas to breads and crackers. Adults consume about 140 pounds of sugar per year — a whole person when you think about it. Yet, while we want to consume less of it, we find ourselves eating more unknowingly. What can you do to reduce your sugar consumption?

Let’s take a look at the top 5 nasty sugars we want to get out of our pantry:

  • White sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Acefulmae potassium
  • Agave
  • Sucralose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Maltodextrin (usually derived from GMO corn)

Plain and simple, none of the above is good for us and because they are processed, it is difficult for our body to process. When we eat something that our bodies do not recognize (we are still primitive creatures), the liver responds by putting the excess, toxins, and food chemicals in our fat stores.

All those processed sugars not only get stored, but also alter the chemicals in our brains, artificial sugars trick the brain into eating more calories by craving more sugar. So those diet sodas and “low sugar” juices are not saving you calories in the long run.

Many Americans are catching on to avoiding high fructose corn syrup and while the chemically compound may be of similar structure of white sugar, it is the reason why our young kids are getting Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. The info is not that new, but it is very alarming that our youth is getting cirrhosis of the liver. Studies are citing high fructose diets in general as the leading cause for fatty liver disease in children.

Agave is no better. In fact the liver processes agave the same way as high fructose corn syrup.

What should we be using instead?

Raw honey (local, if available) is considered a super food when used appropriately. It is high in minerals, amino acids, phytonutrients, antioxidants and it has beneficial enzymes that support our body’s digestive tract. Heat will destroy these enzymes, so putting it in hot tea, coffee or baking with it is not the best way to use honey. It is great for drizzling on baked goods for a boost of natural sweetener. Beware of processed honey — sometimes companies slip in high fructose corn syrup to save on costs.

Real maple syrup (not the version sold in shaped plastic bottles like Aunt Jemima) is rich in nutrients such as minerals and antioxidants. A little goes a long way and is great to cook and bake with. Grade B is the “B-etter” choice as it is the most minimally processed and is higher in calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Raw Turbinado is a better choice when it comes to hot beverages and in baking. I will often cut the sugar called for in recipes in half when baking with these sugars. While it is still processed, it is not as highly processed as white sugars and is a better choice.

Organic sugar also is a better choice as it is not processed with the same amount of pesticides and chemicals white sugar is. But let’s be honest, it is still sugar.

Coconut Palm Sugar is a nice choice that is low in glycemic index. I enjoy it in my morning coffee. It is the new rage among us health nuts, so the studies have yet to come out of its health benefits. It is a great choice for diabetics.

At the end of the day, sugar is sugar. It suppresses our immunity up to six hours after we consume it. This is why the sickest and busiest time in the doctor’s offices is between Halloween and New Year’s Day. When you are sick, AVOID all sugars so your immunity can get a chance to recoup and heal the way it is designed to do. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too, and I am a big fan of everything in moderation.

When you can reduce the amount of sugar you consume, our bodies recover faster, we heal better, we think more clearly and we run more efficiently.

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