The “sugar is sugar” axiom works to help us understand that any starch (though not sugar as we think of it when we eat it) will eventually be broken down into sugar in our bodies…and will raise our blood sugar (blood glucose).
Starch is a chain of bound glucose that will become glucose in your bloodstream by digestion. This saying also serves to get us to take a harder look at fruit as something that conventional wisdom will tell you needs no moderation. But the saying does fall flat and is too simplistic in conveying a fundamental difference with sugar molecules that definitely needs attention. Most of the sweeteners (table sugar, maple syrup, honey, fruit juices, etc.) and sugary foods (fruits) that we eat contain different compositions of the molecules glucose and fructose. We know that regulating our blood glucose is important…but where does fructose fit in this equation?
Fructose is not metabolized in the same way as glucose (starches are chains of glucose). It’s metabolized almost solely by your liver. High levels of fructose consumption can put a real burden on your liver and lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). Fructose molecules can also glycate (bind with other molecules) to produce free radicals and promote inflammation. So any sweetener or fruit with high fructose content is worth being very mindful of. The so called “low glycemic” sweeteners are such because they contain less glucose and more fructose. That’s how they raise your blood sugar less…but they’re even nastier.
Agave nectar is made in a similar fashion as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The starch inside the agave plant is transformed into free synthetic fructose. Agave nectar has MORE synthetic fructose than HFCS. So what does that mean? Your body can’t use it and so it ends up stored as fat in your body, is inflammatory and can wreck your metabolism. No thanks.
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