January 12, 2021 3 min read

“In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000). In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide, and 1.5 million died of diabetes. Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.”- Yuval Noah Harari.

Is there such thing as good sugar? There is! Many people think that if there is sugar content, then it must be full adverse health consequences. Fortunately, that isn’t really the truth. Sugar is actually a vital part of your body’s physiology. Depending on your level of physical activity, you may need a considerable amount of carbohydrate or sugars to energize the cells in your body. So why does everyone believe sugar is so terrible?


Weed out the High GI Sugars

You want the low glycemic sugars. Sugars that rank high on the glycemic index are to be avoided. These sugars break down into glucose very quickly and overload your body with glucose. In response your body fires the insulin, blood, and adrenal systems in your body. These glucose spikes can put strain on these chemical systems especially in repetition when the systems need time to return to their chemical equilibrium. Most drinks are made with cheap high glycemic sugars because they offer the most amount of sweetening per pound. It’s great for business, but not for your health. The low glycemic sugars won’t have a much more reduced effect.


Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

Many people don’t understand that artificial sweeteners are usually just as bad or worse than sugar. They look great on the glycemic index, which should tell you something about a low GI score. The problem is the side effects they have. A widely used sweetener for example, Aspartame. This artificial sweetener is believed to cause cancer. An Italian study suggests that it causes cancer in animal cells and other studies have shown it to cause brain cancer. Rather than go down a conspiracy rabbit hole, just understand that unnatural sweeteners have unnatural side effects. Not all artificial sweeteners are as toxic as Aspartame, but if you’re unsure it may be best to avoid them. A few known safe artificial sweeteners would be stevia, xylitol, or erythritol and if you do a little reading on them, you find that they are also plant-based.


Complex Carbs and Sugars are Safe

As opposed to simple sugars or carbs, the complex carbs break down slowly into glucose so they don’t spike the body’s systems. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and beans are complex carbs with complex sugars. Their sugar content is generally low as well. Even for fruit, it’s not common to find 60-100g of sugar in one serving.


Benefits of Sugar

A low glycemic or complex sugar benefits the body in two ways: energy and energy storage. The good news is that there is no extra BS. When sugar is processed in the body it gets broken down into glucose and does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which is to go to your cells to be converted to energy. The problem is not with sugar, it’s the type of sugar and how much you consume. Each body is responds differently, but most health professional say between 30-60g of sugar per day is safe. Most whole foods are low glycemic and contain less sugar than what is listed.

Additionally, many people forget that glucose supports the recovery process. As a part of the energy system for your cells, glucose also helps cells recover after you work out. Protein is the building block for recovery, but sugar (glucose) is the fuel for the engine. 

But it’s really that simple. Sugar is just quick source of energy for your cells. As long as you consume the needed amount and avoid the wrong types of sugar, it’s a very natural part of your body’s physiology.