Is All Sugar "Bad"? My Answers to Your Sugar Questions
As you know, I love doing question and answer blogs with the purpose of taking pressing questions from the Beauty Detox community. I love providing responses that will give you much more clarity on a key topic of importance to many of us.
This week’s topic is sugar. Let’s jump right into the questions!
Question from Melanie: Is fruit sugar as bad as white sugar? Isn’t it all the same in your body?
No, not at all! White sugar is refined, bleached and put into a form that’s nearly unrecognizable by your body. When we consume it, our bodies have no choice but to immediately try to flush it out of our system, which is part of the reason why it raises blood sugar so quickly. Then, insulin must rush in and help move that sugar out of our blood, which leads to the yo-yo effect and weight gain associated with sugar consumption.
Fruit, on the other hand, is loaded with nutrition and fiber. The fiber helps slow the release of the sugar during digestion and helps moderate its release into our blood stream. Fruit is one of nature’s first and most perfect foods — easy to digest, adequate but not excessive calories, filled with essential vitamins and minerals, and much more.
Think about it like this: imagine you were stranded on a tropical island. On this island, there is abundance of fruit, wild greens, and animals. To eat meat, you’d have to hunt — which requires time, energy, skills and more. Not easy and you may not succeed. And greens, while valuable, would not provide an adequate supply of calories.
Lastly, we come to fruit — it’s easy to pick off the tree, provides energy/calories/nutrition, tastes delicious and digests easily. Is there any wonder wild primates love and choose fruit above all other foods? I believe humans are no different and that fruit are a critical, life-giving part of our diet.
That being said, if one’s system is imbalanced or their digestive system is compromised in any way, or is experiencing a particular illness (such as with candida), then all sugars should be greatly reduced for a time, and one can stick to lower sugar fruit, such as green apples and grapefruit. After balance is restored, fruit can and should be a part of one’s ideal diet to create optimal beauty and health.
Question from Laura: How did I eliminate sugar for good and how long did it take?
Thank you. There is a big difference between fruit sugar, which is packaged with fiber (which helps control portion size, rather than a liquid of powered form) and many nutrients — in a form that nature designed perfectly for us. Whereas refined or processed sugar is devoid of enzymes and nutrition and has an more adverse effect on our pancreas, blood sugar and other organs.
In fact, there is a study I reference in The Beauty Detox Foods on how how the high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants help neutralize the small amounts of fructose naturally occurring in fruit (which is nothing like the astronomical levels of fructose in agave).
I mention this because when I first began on the Beauty Detox path, I didn’t consume a lot of fruit. I was following the Blossoming Beauty phase of The Beauty Detox Solution, to get my candida under control, and had to eliminate all sugars. I did have some berries and green apples though, which are lower sugar fruits.
I still had some dark chocolate, but I was able to wean it down. I had a lot of herbal tea with stevia, and made a lot of Happy Cow Vegan Hot Chocolate with a little stevia, which helped my cravings, and had a lot of probiotics. After about a year, I felt balanced, and now I do eat plenty of fruit…but don’t have the craving for refined sugars.
You may have a candida imbalance, which makes it harder, because yeasts like to feed off sugar and can create cravings. But if you follow Blossoming Beauty and keep working on enhancing digestion and cleansing, you will become more balanced day by day and your cravings will lessen over time.
Question from Sara: What are the safest alternatives to use to sweeten?
I’ve written at length about this before, but my two favorite are stevia and coconut nectar.
Stevia is actually much sweeter than sugar, yet contains no actual sugar or carbohydrates. It’s naturally derived from a leaf (though has undergone some processing to be put into a powdered or liquid form), and can be used in many recipes.
Initially, stevia products use to have a funny aftertaste, but current versions are much better and delicious. I especially recommend stevia if you have candida or carbohydrate concerns. Stevia is low glycemic and has no calories.
Coconut nectar is a nutritious, enzyme-active dark amber sweetener derived from the sap of the coconut tree. It is low-glycemic, making it suitable for diabetics. And it contains some great nutrients, including minerals and amino acids. Coconut nectar is excellent in healthy deserts, puddings and other recipes that require sweetness.
Other options are dates, or raw honey, in small quantities (not recommended for Blossoming Beauties or those in the Chrysalis phase of the Glowing Lean System). Sugar alcohols, derived from plant foods, such as xylitol and erythritol, are also low glycemic options.
Question from Denise: When I have really bad cravings what is the best option to eat something that will satisfy my sugar craving with out actually having to consume so much sugar?
You can try having a liquid, sweeter drink, such as the Vegan Vanilla Latte, or my Chia Seed Delight recipe is made with stevia, which makes it very low in sugar. There are brands of dark chocolate now that are sweetened with stevia. Or you can make my Happy Cow Vegan Hot Cocoa (especially amazing during the colder months!) with almond milk, cacao powder and stevia. Those are just a few options but if you want something sweet without the actual carbs or sugar, then something with stevia is usually your best option.
And unless you have severe candida, I would recommend at least getting some fruit in your diet. Your brain runs on sugar/carbohydrates and I often see sugar cravings strongest in those who completely avoid fruit.
If you are a Blossoming Beauty stick to lower sugar fruit like grapefruit, berries and green apples. I recommend consuming fruit earlier in the day and/or inside your Glowing Green Smoothie®.
Question from Melanie: I feel I can’t buy anything, there are hidden sugars everywhere, how do I tell what is okay to consume and what isn’t?
You’re right in the fact that many processed foods—and even much fast food contains hidden sources of sugar. The solution, of course, is to avoid those foods all together! On Beauty Detox, the vast majority of your foods are coming from the produce section of the supermarket, or from the farmer’s market. So there’s little need to worry about hidden sources of sugar when you eat that way!
Sure, you might find some Beauty Detox-friendly packaged foods in a health food store, such as gluten free millet bread or rice crackers, but in those instances there usually a small hidden amount of sugar per serving (1 slice of millet bread has 1 gram of sugar). Just read the ingredients clearly and balance against serving size.
One thing to watch for: certain cuisines, such as Thai, may include sugar in almost all the dishes. You may need to ask them to leave the sugar out, as I do (you might have to find a restaurant that is open to this). Many of the sauces in Chinese food may also contain high amounts of sugar, so avoid those as well. Other cuisines usually aren’t that much of a problem when it comes to sugar.
Overall, if you follow Beauty Detox pretty closely, you won’t have to work very hard to avoid hidden sugar—it will just be naturally absent from the foods you eat each day.
Question from Jade: What do you recommend to help with mood swings when detoxing from sugar?
One of the best foods for detoxing from sugar is cinnamon. There are several reasons for this. Sugar, as you probably know, disrupts our body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and the hormone insulin. This leads to cravings, weight gain, crashes and all the negatives associated with sugar.
Cinnamon, however, is amazing in its ability to help regulate this process and keep your blood sugar stable — there is an abundance of research which suggests cinnamon actually lowers blood sugar, including those with diabetes. There is a specific type of cinnamon with a much stronger effect than others, called “Ceylon” cinnamon, so keep that in mind when you are choosing.
Lastly, to get cinnamon into your daily diet, you can use it to make tea, add it to smoothies, put it into your oatmeal or raw buckwheat cereal, sprinkle it on top of fruit like apples, the possibilities are endless.
Question from Allison: I am concerned my child is getting too much sugary foods at school, I pack her lunch but her friends give her things or she can get them at school, any advice on try to help her make better choices?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, I’ll come back to fruit. Kids naturally love fruit, and I feel the more you give your children a taste for fruit, the less they’ll tend to crave the unnatural source of sugar. Some of the candy and sweet cravings with children is inevitable, because as you mentioned, you cannot 100% control what other kids expose them to at school.
But if you feed your children healthy items at home and in their lunch, which I’m sure you’re doing — and you also educate them on what refined sugar does to their body, then you’ve done your best. The rest you’re going to just have to trust will work out.
Also, there is research which suggests children usually return to the eating habits and diet they grew up with later in life. So you deserve a pat on the back—by feeding your children healthy now, you’re setting them up to eat well later in life and reduce their risk for a host of diseases.
Keep the Questions Coming!
Thanks all for the questions. As you know, our strategy is to group the questions together into topics that are instructive for the entire Beauty Detox community—as we want to support you as much as possible.
We look forward to helping you more and more with each installment of our Q&A, and thank you for your participation. To submit a question, please click HERE! ;)
Have a great rest of your week and talk soon!