No one thinks of sugar as being healthy. We all know that it’s the inclusion of sugar that makes something a carb, and that it’s this energy that gets stored as fat when we don’t use it all. However just because you shouldn’t eat sugar by the spoonful doesn’t mean it doesn’t still have its advantages – and actually it is necessary and important for us to get this energy in some form.
At the same time not all sugar was born equal and some kinds are healthier than others. There is for instance a difference between natural and refined sugars, and choosing right can help you to at least eat the better kind of sugar when you can’t control your sweet tooth.
Essentially the difference between refined and natural sugar is in the way that they are prepared. Refined sugars are processed to remove the parts that don’t add to the flavour resulting in something that is nearly 100 percent sucrose. This is the white sugar that you might buy for your tea or the granulated sugar you might use in cooking, and it’s the sugar that you will find in cakes, sweets and other snacks that aren’t all that healthy.
Meanwhile natural sugars are sugars that come naturally in our food before they are processed. For instance in fruit you get something called fructose, while in dairy you get galactose and lactose. Syrups and honeys are also examples of natural sugars.
The real difference here then is that refined sugars are more ‘empty calories’ with almost no nutritional value. While natural sugars then will be just as bad for you in terms of calories and raising your blood sugar level and should be consumed in moderation, they will at least normally come with some benefits. So if you want to get a little more nutritional value out of your cooking, then consider using a little honey instead of refined sugar…