A lot of people do not understand why I consider food to be unhealthy if it has refined sugars. Doesn’t the word “refined” connote something positive? Why is refined sugar something everyone should avoid?

What are refined sugars?
Refined sugars are basically sugars that have undergone certain processing to achieve a certain texture and taste. Examples of refined sugar include white table sugar (table sugar) and usually anything with “ose” as a suffix, such as high fructose corn syrup.

Why is it bad?
The refinement process strips sugars of the fiber, essential nutrients and vitamins. This is the main reason why I would define refined sugar as bad. Apart from having no nutritional value, most refined sugars (such as white sugar) go through a chemical bleaching process. This process may leave traces of carbon dioxide, phosphoric acid, or calcium hydroxide.

Refined sugar also enters the bloodstream quickly because it is already refined. This causes blood sugar spikes which mean sugar highs and crashes which are often seen in children who consume a lot of candy, sugary drinks and other food made with refined sugar. There has also been research that suggesting refined sugar wakes up and feeds cancer cells. Plus, refined sugars convert so quickly into fat.

Reading labels
Now you know about refined sugars, let’s talk food labels. Probiotic drinks and commercially-made bread are just some of the food and drinks available in the market that contain refined sugar. Food labels list ingredients according to the abundance in the particular food or drink. Example, if your drink lists “sugar” first in it’s ingredients list, it means that the drink is made more of sugar than any other ingredient listed. Also, if the ingredients list says “sugar” then you can almost always bet that refined sugar was used to make that product. Plus, if you see any ingredients that end in “ose” such as fructose, glucose, and the like, this also means refined sugar.

Alternatives

Instead of using refined sugar, I highly recommend using raw, unfiltered honey, agave syrup, or muscovado sugar. Basically, if you can use raw, unprocessed sugar, you should use it.