Sugar is sugar. Whether it is processed or natural sugar, it still does the same thing. Too much of a sweet thing can have negative consequences. However, there are aspects that are definitely worth looking at when comparing regular and organic sugar. Sugar in all forms is a carbohydrate that is used for energy. While the calorie intake is the same, there are areas that may make a difference to and for you.
Is organic sugar really better for you? Both contain pretty much the same amount of calories and neither is rich in nutrients. However, the way they are processed can make a difference. You should not get fooled by sweeteners either as they are not any better for you.
First, we’re going to look at refined sugar and then at what’s different about organic sugar. Then, we’ll look at what makes sugar “organic”. Finally, we’ll look at how sugar affects you, whether it’s organic or not. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of sugar.
Refined sugar is extracted and processed from sugar cane or sugar beets. It is basically a combination of glucose and fructose. Most manufactured foods contain chemically produced sugar that is from corn syrup.
How the Body Metabolizes Refined Sugar
The body breaks down processed sugar very fast causing blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Glucose in the blood causes the pancreas to release insulin which helps stimulate a constant balance throughout your body. And you also do not get the joys of feeling full.
Refined sugars are normally listed as ingredients ending in “-ose” or syrup names. They can also contain traces of chemicals.
How It Affects the Body
Research about refined Sugar has come a long way in the last decade. Of course, by now most of us know that sugar can lead to dental digression. But researchers found many more negative consequences to eating refined sugar.
For instance, it appears that refined sugar strongly correlates to many bad health conditions in the human race such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Some chemicals that are placed in foods can actually affect the hormones that normally make you feel full after a meal.
Additionally, sugar has also been linked to depression, dementia, liver disease, and even some cancers. High sugar can also cause gout, accelerate memory loss and increase the risk of dementia.
There are other health issues that you may be fighting tooth and nail to fix, which are actually caused by the sugars that are in our foods. If you are trying to get rid of acne, well, chances are most of it comes from the sugar you are eating. The more sugar you take in, the more acne will most probably appear on your skin, even when you’re an adult.
Sugar can also make your skin aging process happen quicker. Chemicals and minerals that your body produces from sugar can actually damage protein that is in your skin. Researchers showed repeatedly that those who took less sugar had better, healthier, and tighter skin.
Sugar can also lead to a drain in your energy as well. So while you may be “trying to stay awake” or what have you, you are actually doing the opposite. Just wait for that sugar crash.
I personally suffered from the bad consequences of consuming too much sugar over more than 2 decades.
Here are a few articles I wrote on the topic that may be of interest to you:
- The 5 Steps Of The Bad Sugar Cycle: How Sugar Makes Me Sick
- 7 Reasons Why I Quit Sugar (And You Should, Too)
- How To Improve Your Skin Complexion By Eating The Right Foods
How is Refined Sugar Made
Sugar is processed from sugar cane or sugar beets. There are two operations. First, they process the sugar out and into raw sugar. Then, they refine the sugar in order to remove all impurities.
There are three main types of sugar and each one has its own specifications. The types are as follows: raw sugar, plantation white sugar, and refined sugar.
- Affination is an unnecessary step but is used to remove color and ash. Most of it is removed mechanically depending on the color of the raw sugar.
- Melting is where raw sugar is melted down.
- Clarification helps remove more impurities and typically this is where two different types of clarification processes are performed.
- Decolorization is where thick juice is processed through to lower its color enough to make the sugar white.
- Crystallization and centrifuging is the process of spinning and separating the syrup and allowing the sugar to crystallize.
- Drying and cooling then happen when the wet sugar is moved through the conveyer and has to be maintained less than one hundred- and four-degrees Fahrenheit and then put through lump separation.
- Packing then comes once all is weighed and placed into bags.
Did You Know Processed Sugar Can Be Addictive?
Did you know that sugar can become an addiction? Emotional, physical, and mental dependencies can form on sugary foods and drinks. Some studies have suggested that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine and this can cause behavioral issues as well.
Like we said, too much of a good thing can turn out to be a bad thing. So how do we reduce that intake? Drop the soda, the energy drinks, and other drinks (such as juices) that are high in sugars for more water. If you have to have some kind of sweetener for your coffee or anything of that sort, use an organic natural sweetener. Consume healthy snacks (such as nuts) and whole fruits instead of smoothies and candy. Start watching what you eat. Processed foods hold more sugar than you think.
Sugar and Children
Processed foods contain a lot of sugar. Even when the food doesn’t taste sweet to us! For instance, most canned sauces contain added refined sugar.
Hence, eating those processed foods on top of the sugary snacks, candy, and sugary drinks can lead to a sugar overload for children. This can cause hyperactivity and heightened aggressive behavior. And it can also lead to an attention deficit on a daily basis.
For example, breakfast could either be nutritious oatmeal or rainbow-fruity-loopy-types of cereal. Most unhealthy foods use very appealing colorful packaging. Hence, given the choice, most kids will choose the highly processed, sugary breakfast cereals instead of any healthier option. So, set your kids up early and decrease the amount of processed food with refined sugars in your family’s diet.
Processed Sugar Withdrawal
While you detox from your sugary treats, withdrawal can be pretty irritating. You might experience physical and mental symptoms. They can last from a few days to up to two weeks.
I first became aware of those withdrawal symptoms when doing the Wildfit 90-day challenge, early 2019. Since then, I still enjoy some sugary foods every now and then, and I find it much easier to detox. It appears that our bodies can get better at it with time when we train them often enough to get back to a non-sugar diet for a bit.
Pay attention to stress, as it is a big trigger for sugar cravings and symptoms.
While going through your sugar detox you may experience depression and anxiety, more than usual. You may also notice a change in your sleep pattern. It will probably be hard to focus on day-to-day tasks during your detox phase until your body gets back to normal.
You may even feel dizziness and lightheadedness. At times you may feel nausea, almost like motion sickness. Other times you may feel tingling throughout your body and fatigue. Whatever you do, if you stick to it, it will get better. Make sure to eat more protein and load up on plenty of water and healthy vegetables.
Generally, I’d highly recommend you diminish the quantity of refined sugar in your diet progressively, as this will help your body cope better and avoid intense withdrawal symptoms.
Organic sugar is less processed with evaporated cane sugar. And “Organic” does not mean unprocessed. Raw sugar often contains impurities, and therefore, it has to go through some processing before it can be sold. This can cause a change in flavor.
How the Body Metabolizes Organic Sugar
The body breaks down both natural and processed sugars the same way. However, organic sugar can come with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. The fiber of the organic sugar helps reduce the speed with which it enters the bloodstream. This, in turn, helps keep the blood sugar from spiking.
How the Body Reacts to Organic Sugar
Organic sugar contains fewer harmful chemicals and pesticides which increase the risk of cancers. It is used to treat thirst, fatigue, anemia, ulcers, and inflamed areas. It can also be used as a laxative.
Organic sugar cane can also boost energy, relieve fevers, and it helps restore body proteins and store energy for later. It can also provide a mood boost. Some cultures believe that it also strengthens organs such as the heart, lungs, and eyes. Some scientists in Texas are saying that it can help treat and potentially cure diseases. Naturally sweet chocolate can also improve thinking skills.
How Organic Sugar is Made
Organic Sugar is grown without chemicals and pesticides and is also processed differently. It takes approximately seven months to mature.
- The cane sugar is broken down and extracted into juice.
- The cane is then crushed and chopped and combined with hot water.
- The juice is then put in for clarification.
- Sedimentation is then next in cycle, in order to remove impurities.
- Crystallization begins along with centrifuging.
- Then drying and packaging happens.
Organic Does Not Mean…
Many people believe that “organic” means that it is the purest of pure and there are absolutely no pesticides or chemicals used. This simply is not true. Organic means that “fewer chemicals and pesticides are used”. There are some that can be used if they do not contaminate the produce or anything involved with the produce. And the word “organic” is actually rather referring to the sugar farm’s practices.
Organic Farm Practices
When it comes to organic produce, keep in mind the practices by which they were grown. This helps produce taste better because it’s coming from healthy crops. Organic certification requires a grower to maintain an “Organic System Plan” and to be certified by an agent that is accredited, certified, approved, and audited by the USDA.
The Consequences of Putting an Organic Label on Something That’s Not
Before we delve into the practice of organic farming, what happens if the sugar you get is not in fact certified or anywhere close to being organic? The USDA has standards that must be met. If they are not, a sugar producer can receive a fine of up to $11,000 for each violation. The certifying agent must be stated on the label of the sugar. Keeping that in mind, what are some farming practices that keep sugar organic?
Crop rotation is the cultivation and production of different crops on the same piece of land over a frame of time. This helps ensure soil nutrients are always at the best state and weeds are suppressed. This allows for fewer insects to inhabit an area and keep the health of the land at its best.
This allows improved soil structure which in turn ensures better future crops. It reduces the possibility of disease in the soil, plants, and produce. With fewer weeds and improved biodiversity, crop rotation increases soil health, hence also making the produce healthier and increasing the production yield. With all of this in motion, it reduces the commercial risk for the farmer and the health risks for the consumer.
Cover cropping is known as a growing process that is specifically for the benefit of the soil, they are not primarily meant for production but to suppress weeds and manage soil health and erosion. They typically consist of grasses or beans. Farmers usually grow them in the offseason and use them to prepare the land for future cash crops.
With cover cropping, some crops attract birds which in turn eat the insects and weed seeds that may be building up in the fields. This also reduces the amount of water the farmers use in a field hence protecting the land and surrounding areas from erosion. Cover cropping also helps filter the water that is deep in the soil allowing for better conservation and, again, less erosion.
Vermicomposting is a process where worms turn organic waste into high-quality compost. Vermicompost contains water-based nutrients and is excellent for providing a fertilizer that is rich in nutrients and serves as a soil conditioner.
Vermicomposting improves soil aeration and is used to further enrich the soil with micro-organisms. Worm castings are higher than that of what the worm ingests. This even attracts other deep-burrowing earthworms to provide a constant fertilizer. The process also improves the ability to hold water within the soil. All of this combined provides a healthy PH balance in the soil and allows for even better nutrient recycling within the soil.
Biopesticides are derived from natural materials such as plants, animals, and certain minerals that control pests by non-toxic mechanisms. Most pesticides are synthetic materials that directly kill the pest. Biochemicals interfere with mating (keeping the population growth down) and in general, deters pests away from the area.
Biopesticides are usually less toxic and only generally targeted to a certain spectrum of insects that kill or decrease the production of plants. They will not affect birds, mammals, and or larger insects different than those in that target range. With this, biopesticides help support higher crop yields compared to conventional pesticides.
Insects and Organic Sugar
Farmland needs insects to produce waste and help recycle nutrients back into the soil. Some insects can help create topsoil as well. Burrowing insects dig and are able to provide channels for water.
Why We Love Organic, and You Should, Too!
Organic sugar is grown and cultivated in the most original organic ways, from using worms and natural fertilizer to using natural means of pesticides so that there is no use of synthetics. This means that there is less pollution, waste, and erosion happening to the planet to grow crops.
Overall, the organic sugars are able to keep more of their vitamins during their growth and harvesting time. The soil is at its optimal level, and every bit of what makes a plant fully grow with all of its nutrients is able to do so naturally. Crops are not cleaned clear of the insects and animals that contribute to their full development. Every aspect of planting, growth, and processing organic sugar is as close to pure as you can get. Unless, of course, you’d eat it straight from the ground!
Sugars typically occur naturally in foods, along with other beneficial nutrients, such as fructose in fruits and some vegetables. These sugars often are also found together with other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body. Beware though, not all-natural sugars are good. For instance, blending and juicing in order to make smoothies and natural juices can break the natural sugars down and remove some of the vitamins and beneficial aspects of sugars and vitamins for our bodies.
In the end, it is safe to say that sugar is not the reason for all the mass chaos in the health world. Do not go off and go on a “sugar strike”. That can, in fact, turn bad for you as your body does need natural sugars to be able to properly function.
However, the body needs the right kind and amount of sugars to perform at its best.
Eating processed foods of any kind, especially processed sugar, can be dangerous to your body. The latter typically needs to work twice to eliminate the excess chemicals and then try and break the sugar down into useful pieces of minerals, which however have most likely been stripped out during the refining process.
You may not be thinking about it, but giving your body those synthetic, chemical, processed foods in place of real, nutrient-dense, mineral-rich foods will affect your ability to generate energy and how you feel overall.
Give your body the quality and quantity of food that it needs.
Organic sugar should be used in place of refined sugar whenever possible.
Make some homemade meals at home so you can control what goes into your food. You can even bake yourself a pie, as long as it’s full of natural, organic fruit and sugar and free of processed ingredients.
Yes, it is hard to get through the grocery store without buying some processed stuff! But at least try and cut some of it out.
You can do it! Remember that you’re helping yourself live better, healthier, and happier.