All Sugars Are Not (Created) Equal: Part 2

It’s really a matter of what else you are (or aren’t) getting with the sugars you consume and who it’s created by when considering which carbohydrate-containing foods you decide to put into your system.  I interjected the word “created” above, because it’s a good rule of thumb to think of the ultimate creator of the foods that we consume.  How close is the product that you’re consuming to its original form in nature?  Is it made from whole wheat flour made from ground up grains, is it a fruit picked straight from the tree, is it a grain ground up and bleached to make white flour and made into something else even further, or as with most of the food-like substances of today, is it a host of substances and chemicals further manipulated by man.

Our food system has made it harder and harder to know the natural source of what we’re eating (not to mention the often unknown chemicals used to preserve and treat our food!). Take a 90-calorie FiberOne bar with a whopping 5 g of fiber as an example.  With fiber being the nutrition buzzword of 2011 and beyond, one could easily consider this an optimal food choice.  Look at the ingredient list, however, and think for a moment where the ingredients come from and how much chemical processing the original substances had to undergo to get to its current state.  When we see brown rice syrup for example, yes this comes from rice but the sugar is chemically extracted (organic chemistry anyone?).  We also see a host of un-pronounceable gums, colorings, and other chemical additives!

With all this in mind, the better choice would be to grab an apple (2-3 g fiber) with a handful of nuts (2-3 g fiber) as your snack instead of grabbing the chemical potpourri also known as the FiberOne bar.  Cook up some brown rice to go with dinner (3-4 g fiber) instead of consuming the brown rice derivative in the bar, and you’ve got even more fiber.  Not only would you be getting the natural fiber of the real food (which doesn’t come with such elaborate advertising I might add) but also naturally occurring B-vitamins (from the grains), vitamin C (from the apple), heart healthy fats (from the nuts), vitamin E (from the nuts) and a host of known and unknown phytochemicals (quercetin, for example, is one known phytochemical in apples).  For those saying, “I take my multivitamin daily, so there’s less of a reason for me to eat real food”–know that a vast majority of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals found in nature are optimally absorbed into our systems compared to that in pill form.

So the bottom line–take note that all sugars are not created equal and (for the vast majority of the time) choose foods that are as close to how they exist in nature as possible.  And please, don’t skimp on the bananas!  

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