Natural vs Refined Sugars

Sugar in all its forms is a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose and uses for energy. It all depends on the type of sugar you're eating whether it is natural or refined as to the effect on your body and your overall health.

Here's some of the differences between these sugar types and much of this has come from the Clinical Oncology Dietitian at a hospital outside Atlanta.

Understanding sugars

Sugar Types

Natural sugars are found in fruit and are called fructose and interior products such as milk and cheese and they are called lactose. These foods that have natural sugar have an important role in the diet of cancer patients or anyone trying to prevent cancer because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and prevent disease.

Refined sugar counts for sugarcane or sugar beets and they are processed which extracts a sugar. It is called sucrose, which is a combination of glucose and fructose. White and brown sugar sweetness cake, cookies, coffee, cereal and even fruit. Food manufacturers often and chemically produce sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup to food and beverages even crackers, yogurt, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Low fat foods are usually the worst offenders as manufacturers use sugar to add flavor.

The process foods that we eat and sugar and calories with little nutritional values. Real fruit and unsweetened milk both have vitamins and minerals and protein. The fruit has fiber which also helps keeps you feel full longer.

Metabolism matters

Metabolism matters

How your body metabolizes sugar in fruit and milk differs from how it metabolizes refined sugar added to process foods. The body breaks down refined sugar, which causes insulin and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. This refined sugar is digested quickly and you don't feel full after you're done eating matter how many calories you consume. The fiber in fruit slows down metabolism and the fruit in your gut makes you feel full.

There is a caveat though that once the sugar passes through the stomach and reaches the small intestine it doesn't matter if it comes from an Apple or a soft drink.

How much sugar there is already in your blood determines how the body uses a sugar. If you have a lot of sugar in your system, then what you have digested will form either fat or glycogen, the storage form of glucose that's used for quick energy. It doesn't matter if it's junk food or fruit.

Cancer connection

Control Sugar

Today one is eating much more refined sugar then previously which has resulted in increasing obesity rates among adults and children. Obesity is associated with certain cancers including breast, prostate, uterine, colorectal and pancreatic. On the other side however fruit is high in antioxidants such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and apples and they may reduce your cancer risk. The fiber in fruit is mainly found in its skin and suppresses your appetite to prevent over eating and weight gain.

One needs to eat whole foods that are low in refined sugars. Whole foods refer to foods that are either unprocessed such as a fruit and vegetable or a whole grain.

The big picture is to be healthy and make healthy food choices. One should eat a diet with whole foods, lean proteins complex carbohydrates and choose quinoa over white bread and include non-starchy vegetables. Focus on making good food choices every day not on the one piece of cake you have is a treat.


There is a popular belief that healthy eating is pretty costly. If the cost of healthy food choices is the primary reason that keeps you from switching to healthy diet these simple swaps will help you eat healthy while staying on a budget. Here are smart grocery store swaps that will help you save on healthy food.

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Counting Calories

There is an inverse relationship between the percentage of calories someone consumes from fat and those consumed from sugars. In other words, people with diets that are low in fat consume more sugar. The reverse is also true those with diets high in fat are likely to have low sugar intakes.

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