The Truth About Sugar

7 min read (1738 words)


The Truth About Sugar is that it can seem like a tricky thing. There are several types of sugar, and not all sugars are equal in their physiological effects. Although some types of sugar create nothing but disharmony and dis-ease and other types support the body in its vital processes. The sugar with the deservedly bad reputation is refined (processed) sugar – the prolific sugar found in commercial food products like chocolate, cakes and fizzy drinks.

Studies show that when we consume refined sugar, it will cause both immediate and long term damage to your cells. It does this through a series of degeneration or reactions in the body called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their damaging effects through neutralization with antioxidants.

This article will help to outline what those myths are and shed some light on the truth about sugar.

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

High fructose corn syrup is a sweetener that manufacturers make from corn starch and is the most damaging of all the sugars. HFCS can be found in:

  • Soft drinks / Sodas / Pop: Almost all soft drinks contain HFCS, often in very large quantities.
  • Sweetened juices: Some fruit juices, including those that manufacturers market to children, contain HFCS. Freshly, cold pressed fruit juices do not contain HFCS. 
  • Canned fruit: HFCS is often added to preserve shelf life of the fruit. 
  • Packaged fruits: Some applesauce, cranberry sauce, dried fruit snacks, and other fruit-based snacks contain HFCS as a sweetener.
  • Processed desserts: Packaged sweets, including chocolate, candy, prepackaged cookies, muffins, and other desserts, often include HFCS.
  • Crackers: Some crackers, mixed snack packages, and other cracker-like products use HFCS to increase sweetness.
  • Condiments and salad dressings: Many condiments, even salty ones such as ketchup, use HFCS as a sweetener. 
  • Prepackaged meals: A variety of prepackaged meals, including some pizzas, contain HFCS.
  • Granola and nutrition bars: Granola bars, protein bars, and other ‘healthy’ snacks often use HFCS to improve the taste. 
  • Peanut and other nut butters: Peanut butter might seem to be a savory treat, but it is actually very sweet. Many peanut butter manufacturers add sugar, and some add HFCS. The same is true of some other nut butters, such as cashew and almond butter.
  • Some bread and wheat: Some sweetened breads and wheats, including some pastas, contain HFCS.

2. Sucrose (50% glucose and 50% fructose)

Sucrose naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables, but it’s also refined into granulated table sugar and is the next damaging of all the sugars. It can be found in:

  • Grains
  • Cereals
  • Processed meat
  • Chocolate 
  • Coffee shop drinks (Starbucks, Nero etc)

HFCS and sucrose are the most damaging versions of sugar you can eat so it’s important to completely cut out, or significantly reduce your intake of these if you want to take control of your health. Manufacturers must list ingredients from highest to lowest quantity, which means that the first few ingredients on a label are present in the largest quantities. As well as high fructose corn syrup and sucrose, other sugars that cause health problems and to look out for on labels are barley malt, dextrose, rice syrup and maltose.

3. Fruit (complex carbohydrate)

Fruit contains naturally occurring glucose, fructose and sucrose, mixed with fibre and oxygen which supports bodily function and operations. As fruit is a complex carbohydrate, it takes longer for the body to break it down, it contains a myriad of nutrients and vitamins that support your body, helps to keep your lymphatic system clear, clears your bowels and is generally one of the best types of food you can eat. It’s been proven that those with a high intake of fruit and vegetables have less oxidative damage to their cells. Fruit is your friend!

Glucose is one of the most essential types of sugar

The three main components needed for optimal bodily function are:

1. Complex sugars (carbohydrates): Sugar mixed with oxygen supports bodily function and operations. Sugar is our primary source of fuel and is needed above all else. 

2. Essential fatty acids: Required for healthy cell membranes, EFAs regulate blood pressure and aid in the development and function of the brain and nervous system.

3. Amino acids (protein): The building blocks of the body, amino acids build cells and repair damaged tissue. Amino acids – not protein – are our second source of energy. While your body can make some of them, nine have to be obtained through your diet.

Every cell in your body requires both complex sugar and sufficient hydration if it is to operate properly. This is why we call foods that are high in sugar carbo-hy-drates (carbon chain constituents). In order for our bodies to function at their best, glucose (hydrated complex sugar) is essential. We have been taught that protein is our primary source of energy, but it is actually glucose!

Our first food, breast milk, has a high ratio of sugars and the lowest ratio of protein in any species. Sugar is what allows for the development of organs such as the brain, liver and the heart. As we grow up, that need for sugar doesn’t go away and is very much required for all situations we find ourselves in.

Which types of sugar should we be eating?

We should undoubtedly eat less refined sugar, and more simple sugar. We’ve all been told to eat less sugar, but what this really means is that we should be eating less processed sugar. Of all the types of sugar, processed sugar – fructose and sucrose – are two of the worst culprits in destroying health and is essentially a poison. It is a chronic liver toxin, it blocks the lymphatic system and it is estimated to be ten times more addictive than crack cocaine.

What’s more, as little as five grams of table sugar stops your immune system working for four hours, thus increasing the chance of sickness and disease. The reality is that refined sugar is one of the most acid-forming substances we can consume. 

Conversely, whole fruits are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and water, so it is very difficult to get excessive amounts of fructose from eating whole fruit. With this factual information, it should start to become evident that simple sugars play a major role in good health. 

Where to get simple sugars, amino acids and essential fatty acids

Complete amino acid (protein) sources for vegetarians and vegans are:

  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Ezekiel bread
  • Spirulina
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds

Other foods high in amino acids include:

  • Dragon fruit 
  • Navel oranges
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Kiwis
  • Bananas
  • Olives
  • Strawberries
  • Açaí
  • Durian

Fruits containing essential fatty acids include:

  • Avocados
  • Dragon fruit
  • Coconut meat

Sugar and candida

Although it wasn’t always the case, candida is now well known in the natural health community. Part of the fungus family, it usually lives on the skin and inside the body, in places such as the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina. All of us have this beneficial fungus residing in our intestinal tract for two reasons:

  • Candida breaks down nutrients which allows for proper absorption into the organs and through the rest of the body via the bloodstream
  • Candida eats non useful foods in our system, cleaning up waste that would otherwise harm us

When we consume unproductive and unnatural foods, or already fermented foods such as meat, bread and dairy, these products remain in the gut for longer than they should. Candida will do its job and eat the excess to get rid of it; however, if there is an overload of fermented/putrefied food in the stomach, candida will need to multiply as a way to help the body to consume the excess waste. 

It is possible to have an excess of candida and yet be healthy as candida in itself is typically harmless. Candida is often accompanied by other ‘dis-eases’ such as shingles, herpes, diabetes, Lyme disease, MS and more. Often, candida is solely to blame when there are other factors at play that have gone undiagnosed. Those that have been informed they have candidiasis (systemic fungal infection) are then recommended to stay away from all types of sugar in favour of high fat and protein, when these are the food stuffs that contribute to excess candida and many other ‘dis-eases’!

Remember, simple sugars (carbohydrates) which is sugar mixed with oxygen supports our bodily function and operations. Sugar is our primary source of fuel and is needed above all else, therefore is not the culprit of candida.

Sugar and your teeth

Many people within the detox world have used a high amount of fruits and fruit juices and over a short period of time. Whilst eating a good proportion of fruit is good for your body, eating just fruit and not taking proper care of your teeth can result in erosion of enamel and cavities. This has happened to me and many people I know, but is something people don’t tend to speak about in the fruitarian community.

When eating a frugivore diet, you need to ensure that you’re including minerals, nutrients and vitamins from sweet vegetables, leafy greens, herbs, seaweeds, Irish moss, sprouted nuts and seeds. After you eat anything, especially fruit and fruit juice, it would be beneficial to swish your mouth around with water to remove excess food stuff that may have stuck to your teeth. About half an hour later, brush your teeth with a non fluoride toothpaste and floss.


Fruit sugar is a necessary and needed part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s one of the building blocks needed for optimal bodily function and eating a lack of fruit is a contributing factor to ‘dis-ease’. However, when only eating fruit and drinking fruit juices, this causes another set of problems by way of malnutrition and deficiency in minerals, nutrients and vitamins. By consuming a variety of organic whole fruits, sweet vegetables, leafy greens, seaweeds, Irish moss, sprouted/activated nuts and seeds, herbs, and drinking distilled water, and carrying out targeted juice cleanses (with the right oral care!), this is the perfect diet for you to be eating to feel vibrant, alive and happy!

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