Should I avoid all forms of sugar? This is a frequently asked question from many of my patients that are in treatment for obesity or eating disorders, such as anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, and binge eating disorder (BED). As with all things polluted, sugar has developed a bad reputation. In its natural form, it is one of the most important sources of energy that we have on the planet. It is the only carbohydrate that circulates in the blood stream and it serves as the primary energy source for the brain. In the plant world, it is formed through photosynthesis, and is vital to the propagation of each plant species, as its job is to nurture the plant’s seed. Sugar is found naturally in many foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and even in milk. These sources of sugar are not a problem. It is the added sugar in all of its polluted forms, which is contributing to so many of our health problems today. It is also the amount of added sugar in the U.S. diet that is literally killing us. This week, we’ll be posting a three-part series about sugar, the good, the bad, and the ugly!
- Crystalline fructose is a monosaccharide. It is usually created from cornstarch, but other starches such as rice and wheat can be used. In this method, corn is first milled to produce cornstarch, then processed to yield corn syrup, which is almost entirely glucose. The glucose obtained is treated with a series of enzymes to convert nearly all of it into fructose. The fructose is then allowed to crystallize, and is finally dried and milled to produce crystalline fructose.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a mixture of glucose and fructose. It is made up of any of a group of corn syrups that have undergone enzymatic processing to convert some of its glucose into fructose to produce the desired sweetness.
- Sucrose, the third form, is a disaccharide compound made up of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. It is the organic compound commonly known as table sugar. A white, odorless, crystalline powder with a sweet taste, it is best known for its role as a food enhancer.
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