Sugar and nutrition

Dan White

New Member
Hi all! This is my first post here. I had a couple of questions I couldn't find answers to on google so I found this site. It looks like it might be a good resource for newbie questions so I signed up. OK, here goes:

I've been trying to understand refined sugar and why it is bad for you. I have a background in chemical engineering but not in biochemistry or nutrition and I wanted to get a little deeper understanding. I've learned online that refined sugars are all bad for you, no matter whether it is sucrose, fructose, corn syrup or whatever. This is because the sugar is stripped of any fiber, which would otherwise slow down the body's use of that sugar. Without the fiber the sugar rushes into our system spiking and crashing blood sugar levels and doing a myriad of other bad things to your body. I read that while fructose in a grapefruit is good for you it is also bad for you if that fructose is refined and then added back into grapefruit juice, rather than being consumed as the original fruit.

That leads me to my first question. I purchased a cold pressed, non pasteurized grapefruit juice from whole foods the other day. There was nothing but pure juice with the pulp. The label said it had x grams of sugar but also 0 g of fiber. I had read online that the fiber in fruit physically binds up the fructose so that it is more slowly available to your body. If that is the case, I don't understand how simply squeezing the fruit juice would separate the fiber from the sugar. I ask because I like to drink lots of fluids but I want to be sure that if I drink juice that the sugar is bound up. I was drinking nearly a half gallon of black currant juice from whole foods every day because the label originally said "no added sugar." It no longer says that and it appears there is now processed sugar added. So is this any different from me drinking "natural" grapefruit juice if the fiber is gone? One website simply advised not to drink any juice. I was hoping that at least fresh squeezed juices would be more like eating the whole fruit.

Second question. Are drinks like Gatorade bad to drink when you are exercising, playing tennis in heat, etc? Their pitch is that it replaces minerals/electrolytes and sugars/carbs that you are losing during the activity. I know some tennis players will eat a banana before a match, but what about the idea that you need more energy while doing the workout and that you will "burn it off" right away? Does that make it "OK" to consume the sugars if they really are going to be used for more energy?

Hope that makes sense and wasn't too wordy!
 
Great questions Dan! Hopefully a Registered Dietician will weigh in here...
What what I have found from my own reading on these topics is that drinking juice, even fresh pressed, is not as preferable as eating whole fruit because of the difference in fibre. And, it seems to me that electrolyte replacement drinks are not generally recommended. In cases where one's workout was very intense and longer than one hour in duration they can be consumed, but the sugar content needs to be considered. I think it depends on what other sources of sugar you are taking in, what your goals are and your health profile (e.g. diabetes risk level, etc.). My NP (naturopathic doctor) recommends that I not consume more than 25g of sugar per day, including sugar from fruit! Not easy!
 

Dan White

New Member
Thanks for the reply. I've been cutting out sugar more as an experiment. The toughest part for me is the drinks like juices and Izzy soda. I love that stuff but even with no added sugar I'm thinking it isn't good to drink because of the no fiber thing. I stopped drinking all that juice maybe two weeks ago but I can't say I've noticed anything different. We'll see with more time. It's just hard to drink nothing but V8 (tons of salt) and water. I do have cherry concentrate to flavor the water but that gets old, too.
 

Debinmi

Cathlete
I enjoy various teas, both hot & iced - fully caffeinated in the AM, green in the afternoon, & decaf or herbal in the evening. I also drink home-brewed kombucha on the weekend. No sugar during the week (there's some residual in the Kombucha but we brew for 16 days so may not be much , but there is fizz
 

Dan White

New Member
I never really liked tea, unless of course it had sugar and cream in it, lol. Caffeine doesn't agree with me but I know there are alternatives. Maybe I can try an iced decaf tea as an option. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

DGaves

Active Member
Many say to exclude sugar because we all know it's unhealthy. In any case, I tried not to eat sugar in its pure form for a month. Now I almost gave it up, though from the very beginning it seemed impossible. I like soda too much, and I can't even imagine eating pasta without it but I am trying hard!
 
I tried not to eat sugar in its pure form for a month.
How did it go DGaves, when you gave up sugar? What positive benefits did you see? How did you cope with the cravings and temptations? I would like to be able to cut way down on sugar but finding it is certainly challenging. If other Catheletes have experience with this, please chime in. I need tips and motivation!!;):D
 

Dan White

New Member
I'm the OP in this thread, not DGaves, but I can report back on my situation after minimizing sugar since last September, a full 5 months ago. I am quite thin to begin with, but was getting a bit of a gut in my mid section (I'm 56 yo) and in the mid afternoon I would get very sleepy. As of now I have lost a good amount of that mid section weight and I do not crash in the afternoon anymore. Of course, my business is not as busy now with covid so that could have something to do with it, but I think it is probably the lack of all that juice I was drinking.

I seem to have overcome my desire for sugary juices. I have gotten used to either just water or seltzer with (or without) a splash of Swanson cherry juice concentrate. I don't seem to need anything else to drink. The concentrate has 8 g of sugar per two tablespoons, but I put less than half of that in a drink. I never was a soda drinker so I didn't miss that, I should say.

Other than that my diet hasn't changed much except I don't eat any bread except Ezekial sprouted bread. Oh, and I don't sneak a candy bar here and there anymore. My junk food now is a big helping of Brown Cow plain yogurt with a ton of fresh blueberries on top. Delish!

I haven't had many health problems in my life but 5 months into this experiment I don't find it hard to avoid most sugar and I figure it must be doing some good.
 

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