Experiment: honey mixed with a hint of maple syrup.

2:06 PM Sugar is everywhere. I love sugar and a life without candy is not really my thing?! 
Well, since I am more healthy, I eat less candy, but I still think about sugar often. One reads that bananas are bad because of their sugar content and some health experts propose to not switch to the super healthy sugar alternatives, because in real life, some of these aren't as healthy as they are promoted. Okay, what does that mean? I don't know, but I felt the urge to inform myself more about sugar. 
What's wrong and what's right? I want to stop thinking if any produce or product is containing too much sugar... can food just be easy? 

Let's investigate today! 

We all learned in school (and from our families) that too much sugar is bad for us. It's not good for our teeth, our skin, or our heart. Especially during our childhood, too much suagr isn't good for our growth and development. But what about when we are all grown up? 
Personally...I like my sugar and I need it for certain things - coffee, chocolate, baked goods...you name it. I already got some alternative sugars in my pantry which help me having a healthier sugar consume, but I still don't know how much my body "can take" and which one is the best for me! 
Also a pattern I have to get rid of is treating myself. I learned that the only way to treat myself is with sugar... stressful situation? I grab some extra sugar! What a weird thing, right? But I know that there are many people who "struggle" with the same issue! 

So what's up with this sugar love affair?

Did you know that sugar used to be considered a spice and not a sweetener? During the twelfth century, when it was introduced to England, it was grouped with spices like saffron and cinnamon - used by wealthy people. 
In Iraq, for instance, the people took it even further and used sugar as medicine. Mixed with fruits and spices, powders or infusions were made to create medicinal syrups. 
And then...we happened. Or...what's next? 

Well, sugar didn't need to be invented, It was always there. It is brought to you by nature. All green plants make sugar through photosynthesis, the process plants use to transform the sun’s energy into food. Did you know? The sugar we keep in our pantry is exactly the same as sugar that’s naturally in peaches, almonds, sweet peas and more.

Sugar is sucrose - for everyone who needs a little help here :) This is what confuses me often... but let's make it easier with this chart about all the sugars out there!

Okay, good. I see that sugar is everywhere and even though it's a natural product, I can't enjoy it too much on a daily basis. What do I have to take care of? 

Sources say that sugar has to be limited and this means for women the intake should be around 24g daily and for males 36g. This is only a few teaspoons! Sugar is inflames the body, so take care of your heart, joints, and your brain, as well! 

Here's an interesting video where you get to know some facts about sugar on our brain function!

So what kinds of sugars shall I have at home then? And what about my holy fruits?
Let's discuss a few sugar alternatives. 

Agave Nectar
Without its health properties and minerals, the agave syrup we're left with is basically a high-fructose syrup that's even worse than white sugar.

Coconut Sugar
It contains vitamins like B1, B2, B3, and B6, which aid in fighting stress and boosting energy, and short chain fatty acids like glutamic acid, which aids the body's metabolic functions. This sugar is definitely better than brown sugar!

Maple Syrup
If you thought maple syrup was reserved for topping your pancake stacks, you thought wrong. When used in moderation, this natural syrup can be a weight-loss wonder and a great replacement for cane sugar.

Honey is probably one of the most commonly used alternatives to cane sugar. Although commercial honey has a low-glycemic index, manuka honey, which is created by bees that feed on the sap of tea trees, is your best bet, because it's packed with antibacterial health properties and beauty benefits.

You might not have heard of blackstrap molasses, but if you're on the lookout for an alternative to refined sugar, you might want to add it to your shopping list. Molasses are the byproduct of cane sugar production, and of the many varieties, blackstrap molasses has the lowest sugar content an is mineral rich.

My favorite has been agave nectar so far, because since I am eating healthy, all the people tell me to switch to this healthier option... but now with all this studying here, I am thinking if I should consume more maple (I mean cheers to pancakes ~). What do you think? 

I can also recommend Chinese date sugar which I love to include into my bakings!
*Because date sugar is simply ground whole dried fruit, it contains all the fruit’s nutrients — vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber —  at 10 calories per teaspoon it is about one-third lower calories than regular sugar. 

Now let's also chat real quick about our holy fruits and their sugar content. 
There are studies out there which have found out that fructose can be the most harmful type of sugar for our metabolism, compared to glucose, the sugar found naturally in our bloodstream; and sucrose, a combination of fructose and glucose. "Glucose doesn't metabolize the same way as fructose and deposits less fat than fructose," says Justin Rhodes, Ph.D.
Above we learned that sugar in fruit and the sugar in soda, for example, is the same molecule - so if we compare these two things, we find out that an apple has about 12g of fructose compared to soda's 40g which means that you can eat three apples to get the same amount of fructose as one soda and you still have more nutrients and vitamins. The sugars in soda are just empty calories... 
So yes, grab your apple, your mango, your banana. You won't find yourself craving to eat three bananas, because you can't stop enjoying this sugar rush... it's all limited and you are provided with all the important nutrients you'll need in your diet or eating comfort zone.

Oh god. There is so much more to know about sugar and I could talk about this for days, but soon I will share a part two, so for today, I think we learn a lot with this here. Feel free to share your knowledge and experiences, too! 

*The graphics I used above are from a great website that shows you ANYTHING about sugar, so if you are still curious, check out this link!

Pictures via.