What is sugar?

So, what is sugar? Sugar is basically a kind of carbohydrate that is released quickly into your blood to give you energy. But there are many kinds of sugar, and each is processed differently by the body.

It all starts off with glucose which is a monosaccharide and is the main fuel molecule for all living things. Glucose comes from the foods you eat and is used by your body for energy. The key of the matter is to know what kind of sugar to eat and how it will either be good or bad for your health.

To keep things simple, carbohydrates can be distinguished between fast releasing and slow releasing. Each one of these creates a completely different kind of reaction in your body.

 Fast releasing carbohydrates:

When we eat food that is processed, has no fibre and is not natural, it will immediately turn into sugar in your body. It will then go directly to your bloodstream and cause a blood sugar imbalance. The insulin in your pancreas will be released out of the blood into the cell. In the short term if you are not very active, the unused energy will be stored as fat. In the long term, you will be hurting your body and be in danger of getting sugar related diseases such as diabetes.

Fast releasing foods: Table sugar, white pasta, white bread, processed food, soda, sugary drinks, white flour, breakfast cereal…

Slow releasing carbohydrates

When we eat food that has fibre and protein, the glucose in our bodies does not go into our bloodstream as fast. This means that our blood sugar levels will not spike, and our body will be in balance. Our body will not store so much excess fat and the pancreas will not have to work as hard.

Slow releasing foods: Fruits, vegetables, wholemeal bread, unprocessed oatmeal, wholemeal pasta, nuts, brown rice…

Blood sugar imbalances cause sugar cravings, aggressiveness, palpitations, mood changes, fatigue, dizziness, tiredness, headache, lack of concentration, anxiety, among others. To avoid this, the best is to eat real food that will nurture you and keep you full for longer.

If you are going to eat foods that are fast releasing carbohydrates, be mindful of always pairing it with foods that contain fibre or protein. This way digestion will take longer, and the sugar in your system will take longer to be absorbed, helping you to maintain a steady blood sugar balance.

Remember: Almost all packaged food is processed and has been stripped from it’s fibre and protein. Instead, it has added sugar, preservatives and contains no real nutrients.  

Ideas for processed sugar free recipes:

  1. Chocolate chia pod. Ingredients: 100% cacao powder, 2 spoonfuls of chia seeds, ½ cup of your favorite vegetable milk, natural sweetner (honey, brown rice syrup, stevia) and to top 1/3 cup of coconut flakes (optional).

Instructions: Mix all the ingredients together and put in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the chia seeds hydrate. Top it with the coconut flakes and enjoy!

  1. In an earlier post I talk about smoothies and how they have tons of fibre. I you want to check it out, and see a couple of recipes go to this link.
  2. Want some ideas for breakfast? In this post I give you a few recipes that will help control your blood sugar and are delicious!