1

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Sugar.. what kind of sugar is the most natural and healthy?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 11, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Okay.. Sugar. I'm totally baffled by this one and can't figure it out.

I know I'm not supposed to have sugar and as far as food goes I'm okay with that. I just use 1 and a half teaspoons in a large cup of tea (I'm in love with earl grey tea and will probably never stop drinking it.. ever) I don't drink tea very often anymore maybe 1 cup a day sometimes none at all.

My question is.. what kind of sugar is the healthiest kind? Is there any difference?

I started using brown sugar when I ran out of the refined white because I refused to buy another bag. Now I'm running out of that and I'm not sure what to use next.

I tried using raw honey but I didn't really like the taste, although I could probably get used to it after awhile. I thought about using pure maple syrup but of course that would give it a maple flavour. Maybe it would taste good in coffee? I don't drink coffee very often, maybe once a week or less. I'm mostly interested in what I should be putting in my tea.

I found this Organic Coconut Palm Sugar at bulk barn and decided to give it a try. Its clumpy but looks like brown sugar. The description on the product says "Organic coconut palm sugar is a natural sweetener and is derived from extracting the sap of palm trees. Because of it's low glycemic index and high nutrient profile, organic coconut palm sugar is gaining popularity in a wide array of uses, catering to sugar conscious consumers." After reading that I was hooked. I bought a scoop and gave it a try it's not too sweet so I had to use more (2 teaspoons instead of 1.5) so I'm thinking that's going to be an expensive option. It was like 4x more expensive than brown sugar. Is it worth it?

What other sugar options are there?

Does anything else really differ that much from plain old brown sugar? What about the darker grainy pebbly type of brown sugar? It looks less processed so I thought about trying that. My mom used to buy it at the health food store when I was a kid and now I see it on the grocery shelf next to regular brown sugar.

I'm not really interested in sweeteners or stevia. Just doesn't appeal to me even if they claim to be "natural" I still think they are artificial in some way and I'm a little hesitant to try anything thats really new to the market.

I'm not trying to lose weight and don't have any medical conditions I just want to be a bit healthier overall.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:59 PM

Mike: I agree. Sugar is sugar whether it's raw honey, dates or maple syrup. This is why I believe people really need to stick with paleo for at month or two to really wean them from sugar cravings in the first place. Blood sugar stabilizes from eating paleo, and the cravings stop. It makes you appreciate the small amount of honey you put in your tea that much more :) And you *will* notice if it's too much! You become so much more sensitive to sweets. My belly aches if I eat a Larabar! It's too much.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:41 PM

Agree with Britt -- seriously, one or two teaspoons a day? Not gonna make or break anyone unless they're extremely sensitive to even minute amounts. (Some people are, and I acknowledge that.) But seriously...on a site where people are drinking such natural and wholesome things as 600-calorie cups of coffee (courtesy of butter & MCTs), we're gonna tell someone she's kicked out of the club for two teaspoons of sugar? Oy vey...

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:30 PM

The time scale we're talking about here is hours. If you want to drink your tea over the course of a couple of hours, go for it.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:23 PM

What if I sip my tea slowly? Then I suppose that teaspoon is being spread out over a period of time.. much like the fruit? Btw I don't eat huge amounts of fruit.. except I really like grapefruits lately, but still I can't eat a whole one in one sitting.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:18 PM

Lol.. I think Forgotten18 has a pretty strong hate on sugar.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:08 PM

If you have SIBO a teaspoon of sugar a day will kill you for the next three days. Ray Peat must be very careful.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:06 PM

Hell, I'm a LC'er and I still eat a teaspoon of honey in my coffee almost every morning.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:56 PM

I don't think there's a hate on sugar. At least from me the hate is in people trying to find ways around sugar. Looking for "natural" sugar, etc. In small doses sugar is just fine and you can process it with no issues. The trouble is that small is pretty small and that people look for other ways to get their sweet on which is really more sugar. Then they post "why am I not losing weight" questions.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:41 PM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little white sugar, or honey, or maple syrup in small quantities, especially if we're talking about your morning cup of joe. When you've gone paleo and you're well adapted, you don't have sugar cravings the way you used to. You'll really lose your sweet tooth. You'll find yourself using honey or white sugar to sweeten even less. Fruit is okay, and I would only limit it's consumption based on a) how it makes you feel and b) if you have weight to lose.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:00 PM

I was thinking honey would be the best natural option.. so I might just go with that. I also find I use a smaller amount of honey than anything else.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:51 PM

It's not really that simple.. because sugar is in a lot of things naturally too.. like fruits. So should I just drop all the fruits too? Why are honey and maple syrup ok on the Paleo diet? I disagree its nothing like bread.. there's no toxins in natural sugars like there are in grains.. I'm quite confused by people who say "this is okay, but thats not" when comparing two types of the same thing. Its not like I'm shoveling spoonfuls of sugar into my mouth daily.. I just want to know what is the best decision for me to make and you're really not being helpful or adding any useful information.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:48 PM

It's not the same as eating fruit that's high in "natural" sugars. Fruit has both the soluble and insoluble fiber that works together to slow down the sugar absorption so that your body can handle it. Once you "process" it out of it's natural origin, it is not longer a "natural" sugar. Biochemically sugar is sugar is sugar, you can't get around that. However, kinetically sugar (furctose, especially) that's slower to make it to your liver (because of the fiber) is "safer".

2e777bbcd49262eb31a24f821abec6bc

(1974)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:46 PM

Am I the only one who thinks that that a teaspoon of sugar a day is really not too big of a deal. If you really enjoy your tea, and the rest of your diet is in check, then I think the small cheat is worth it. I agree that the difference is probably minor between them so get what you like best.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:38 PM

Best post ever.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:26 PM

I'm planning to reduce the amount and I have. I used to take 3 teaspoons in my tea and now I only take 1 and a half. So I'm getting there. Do you still use the splenda or do you take your coffee/tea with no sweetener at all now?

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:22 PM

Thanks.. your answer is very informative. I suppose I'm trying to choose the lesser of a few evils. I agree its definitely a treat and not something I plan to do every day. The way I see it in the end its the same as eating fruit that is high in natural sugars or having a little sweetness in a beverage that I enjoy.. basically the same at the cellular level so in the end sugar is still sugar

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:17 PM

I'm planning to reduce the amount and I have. I used to take 3 teaspoons in my tea (but i used a larger cup) and now I only take 1 and a half. So I'm getting there. Do you still use the splenda or do you take your coffee/tea with no sweetener at all?

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11 Answers

best answer

9
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:47 PM

There are only two types of simple sugar: glucose and fructose (there's also galactose in milk, but our body immediate processes it into glucose so it's treated the same).

Everything else is just a combination of the two in different amounts. If it's sweet, it has to have fructose in it, because glucose isn't very sweet. If you're buying sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, cane sugar, blah blah blah) it's all the same. It's sucrose. Sucrose is one glucose plus one fructose.

Other "natural" sweeteners are also the same, honey, maple syrup, etc are all very close to the same proportion of 50% glucose, 50% fructose.

HFCS is often 55% fructose, that's why it's sweeter, and agave nectar is around 90% fructose.

If it's "low glycemic" then it's higher in fructose, because the glycemic index is a measure of your body's reaction to glucose. Coconut "sugars" are generally polymers of fructose (look up innulin).

There is no free lunch when it comes to sugar or sweet. It's only supposed to be a treat and not part of your diet.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:38 PM

Best post ever.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:22 PM

Thanks.. your answer is very informative. I suppose I'm trying to choose the lesser of a few evils. I agree its definitely a treat and not something I plan to do every day. The way I see it in the end its the same as eating fruit that is high in natural sugars or having a little sweetness in a beverage that I enjoy.. basically the same at the cellular level so in the end sugar is still sugar

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:48 PM

It's not the same as eating fruit that's high in "natural" sugars. Fruit has both the soluble and insoluble fiber that works together to slow down the sugar absorption so that your body can handle it. Once you "process" it out of it's natural origin, it is not longer a "natural" sugar. Biochemically sugar is sugar is sugar, you can't get around that. However, kinetically sugar (furctose, especially) that's slower to make it to your liver (because of the fiber) is "safer".

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:23 PM

What if I sip my tea slowly? Then I suppose that teaspoon is being spread out over a period of time.. much like the fruit? Btw I don't eat huge amounts of fruit.. except I really like grapefruits lately, but still I can't eat a whole one in one sitting.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:30 PM

The time scale we're talking about here is hours. If you want to drink your tea over the course of a couple of hours, go for it.

best answer

1
6df687f771c8c3bbf2c37b2333645991

on January 11, 2013
at 04:59 PM

When I was giving up sugar, I did one Splenda in my coffee and a tiny tad of maple syrup. I do not taste the maple syrup. Wean yourself off it. Being off sugar is the absolute best feeling in the world.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:17 PM

I'm planning to reduce the amount and I have. I used to take 3 teaspoons in my tea (but i used a larger cup) and now I only take 1 and a half. So I'm getting there. Do you still use the splenda or do you take your coffee/tea with no sweetener at all?

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:26 PM

I'm planning to reduce the amount and I have. I used to take 3 teaspoons in my tea and now I only take 1 and a half. So I'm getting there. Do you still use the splenda or do you take your coffee/tea with no sweetener at all now?

4
74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

on January 11, 2013
at 06:37 PM

I don't understand the hate on sugar. If having some in a morning cup of coffee or tea is the only time you have it, or in your treat of a few squares of dark chocolate, then I see nothing wrong with this.

I eat raw honey, and add about half a teaspoon, maybe a bit more to a cup of tea. But not always. I'll drink yerba mate straight with nothing in it. I also like using xylitol a lot, but be careful, as it can give you the runs when you first start consuming it ;) It is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial to boot, and I think it tastes 'cleaner' than plain white sugar.

I have a small bag of coconut sugar, and I'll use it here and there for tea or coffee. Or a big mug of coconut milk hot chocolate! Yum!

Even Mark Sisson takes a teaspoon of WHITE SUGAR OMG OH NOES in his morning coffee. Control the amount you eat and be done with it.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:18 PM

Lol.. I think Forgotten18 has a pretty strong hate on sugar.

510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:56 PM

I don't think there's a hate on sugar. At least from me the hate is in people trying to find ways around sugar. Looking for "natural" sugar, etc. In small doses sugar is just fine and you can process it with no issues. The trouble is that small is pretty small and that people look for other ways to get their sweet on which is really more sugar. Then they post "why am I not losing weight" questions.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:59 PM

Mike: I agree. Sugar is sugar whether it's raw honey, dates or maple syrup. This is why I believe people really need to stick with paleo for at month or two to really wean them from sugar cravings in the first place. Blood sugar stabilizes from eating paleo, and the cravings stop. It makes you appreciate the small amount of honey you put in your tea that much more :) And you *will* notice if it's too much! You become so much more sensitive to sweets. My belly aches if I eat a Larabar! It's too much.

3
18d89478c2fbd0a69889ae094f5fa5d3

on January 11, 2013
at 04:54 PM

You're searching for a lesser evil, or some kind of excuse it seems like, something to justify why it's "okay" for you to have sugar, some sort of rationale.

"What kind of sugar is the healthiest kind?"

Answer: NONE. This is like asking what's healthier, wheat or rye bread. A marginal difference if any, that has no affect in the long run.

"I'm not trying to lose weight and don't have any medical conditions I just want to be a bit healthier overall..."

Then drop the sugar/sweetener! It's that simple.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:51 PM

It's not really that simple.. because sugar is in a lot of things naturally too.. like fruits. So should I just drop all the fruits too? Why are honey and maple syrup ok on the Paleo diet? I disagree its nothing like bread.. there's no toxins in natural sugars like there are in grains.. I'm quite confused by people who say "this is okay, but thats not" when comparing two types of the same thing. Its not like I'm shoveling spoonfuls of sugar into my mouth daily.. I just want to know what is the best decision for me to make and you're really not being helpful or adding any useful information.

74786bbe8254844304a33943290c4d6d

(1663)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:41 PM

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a little white sugar, or honey, or maple syrup in small quantities, especially if we're talking about your morning cup of joe. When you've gone paleo and you're well adapted, you don't have sugar cravings the way you used to. You'll really lose your sweet tooth. You'll find yourself using honey or white sugar to sweeten even less. Fruit is okay, and I would only limit it's consumption based on a) how it makes you feel and b) if you have weight to lose.

2
Medium avatar

on January 11, 2013
at 05:29 PM

sugar is sugar. It's really no more complicated than that.

2
Bfddc0ab925c8ea0e0c2e87198514907

on January 11, 2013
at 05:20 PM

I believe honey and maple syrup are whole, paleo foods (they contain valuable nutrients for the proper metabolism and use of the sugar they contain, and so are not nutrient deficient), and as long as you don't have a specific reaction to them, there is no reason why you can't consume them in moderation.

F26c3567d2a2ab704d4296ee27b2caf2

(76)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:00 PM

I was thinking honey would be the best natural option.. so I might just go with that. I also find I use a smaller amount of honey than anything else.

1
Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd

on January 12, 2013
at 01:32 AM

When I first went Primal, I went through a whole experimentation period trying to avoid sugar but still satisfy my sweet needs. I tried Stevia which tasted terrible to me and then Xylitol which I tried to believe was OK since supposedly it is good for your teeth. Xylitol acted the most like normal white sugar in baking, but between its sci-fi name and the fact that it causes digestional distress in some people, I got nervous and quit it. Around this time I was coming to understand just how profound gut health can be on the rest of your health, and I didn't want to mess that up with an alcohol-sugar.

I finally came around to the position I see many here taking: A tsp/day of regular sugar in your tea plus a little dark chocolate is real (compared with Xylitol anyway) and won't kill you (unless you have special health concerns......Oh, the legalese of writing an acceptable PH answer). Now when I succumb to pressure from my family to bake a Primal treat, I use a fraction of the called-for sugar and sub it out with coconut sugar or maple syrup.

I have let this one go in terms of being perfect. Sometimes it is fine, and maybe ultimately better, to be good enough.

1
B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on January 11, 2013
at 04:56 PM

Coconut sugars have the highest mineral contents and so can be considered the healthiest as the mineral help your body cope with the fructose.

0
C657d176db6f11f98aeb2a89071e3281

on January 11, 2013
at 07:40 PM

If I remember correctly, Mark Sisson in "The Primal Blueprint" mentions he has a teaspoon of sugar in his morning coffee once in a while. It's in one of the examples when he is talking about what he consumed while traveling. He also indulges in red wine and dark chocolate once in a while.

0
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on January 11, 2013
at 07:12 PM

  1. RAW ORGANIC UNHEATED HONEY. A friend of mine just sent me a huge bottle from a nature reserve. To die for. It has antimicrobial properties - even water kefir grains die from it. If you are adding it to your tea - make sure the water is lukewarm. Heat destroys its potency. Oh, and add some lemon :)

  2. I don't know about this one... but maybe you can check - coconut palm sugar. It supposed to be... healthier :)

0
C8976e6d769b80eb516858cbe254edad

(220)

on January 11, 2013
at 05:13 PM

Ever thought about making bulleproof tea? I love coffee and I usually "prepalo" drank it full of sugar and cream...its the only way I like it. Needless to say I was bummed when I went paleo because no more starbucks haha best thing I ever did. I have found 3tbs of grassfed butter in my coffee blended makes it creamy and slightly sweet. It is addictive try it yes I know it sounds gross. Those who don't drink coffee do this with tea.

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