7 Natural Sugars

Sugar is sugar is sugar, is something we hear quite frequently.

Although, the good news is that natural sugars have benefits when consumed as part of the 10% or 20% indulgent part of clean living.

When discussing natural sugars, it is important to have a bit of an overview on glucose and fructose. It is interesting to note that they have identical molecular formulas (Carbon 6 Hydrogen 12 Oxygen 6 ), but they have distinct molecular structures, thus being metabolized in different ways.

Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. It triggers the release of leptin and insulin, which are hormones that signal the brain saying you are full with 80% being utilized by cells and only 20% of the glucose being stored in the liver as glycogen for later use. Isn’t that amazing!

Fructose is naturally occurring in many plants, fruits and vegetables. Fructose can also be consumed in natural forms of added sugars such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup and in processed sugars. The thing to keep in mind is that Fructose, doesn’t trigger the release of leptin or insulin, which means that it is 100% metabolized and processed by the liver, increasing the toxicity.

Not to fret though, as whole fruits and vegetables contain a relatively small amount of fructose and due to the large amounts of vital nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they take a while to chew and digest, therefore our bodies can easily handle this minimal amount of fructose.

Breakdown on fructose in 7 Natural Sugars:

  1. Maple syrup ~ has a low fructose level and contains antioxidants.

  2. Honey ~ raw honey is rich in nutrients, ideally raw, organic, local honey albeit being almost half fructose.

  3. Coconut palm sugar ~ has a low fructose content, high in potassium and vitamin C.

  4. Brown rice syrup ~contains no fructose, and contains no nutrients.

  5. Molasses ~has high fructose levels and it is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, calcium and potassium.

  6. Date sugar ~high fructose content, and high potassium and antioxidant content.

  7. Agave Syrup has an extremely high fructose content, 75% or higher, which is more than high fructose corn syrup!

In the end, it is all about moderation, even with natural sugars.

Source: Oxford Academic