Going sugar free or sweet free?
Keto Diet, Paleo Diet, Plant-based diet and still many nameless diets become famous in overnights. These renowned diets advise like, cut down carbs, sugar or oil without understanding the essential nutrients it can give you.
What happens when you avoid something?
You crave that more.
Finally, you give in by eating a lot more sugary food.
Diet is different for each individual. Following a blind sugar-free diet is like driving cars with eyes closed. You end up hitting hardly on something.
In Ayurveda, a healthy diet includes six tastes- Shadrasa. Each taste is important in your diet. Eliminating a specific taste from your diet can remove a set of nutrients from your entire body.
Difference between Sugar vs Sweet
“Sugar” – the food molecules that bring the Sweet taste(Madhur Rasa) in your diet.
There are other foods which can help you with a sweet taste in your meals. They are milk, grains, wheat and rice. These food molecules do not taste sweet like sugar, but they can add the taste to your diet.
Many people confuse that cutting down sugar is to plainly stop eating things that taste sweet. All the sugars are not bad for your health. Some sugar contains nutrients that pacify some of your energy in the body.
Types of Sugar
Refined Sugar – the white cubes we have in our pantry is a man-made chemical substance. The manufacturer processes it from sugarcane juices. They add chemicals, animal fat and other preservatives, which are not considered edible, to make the sugar white and taste sweeter.
Brown Sugar – The sugar molecules brown in color are the first byproduct of the sugarcanes. They are not purified or processed. When you crystallize the sugarcane extracts(juices), they come out in brown crystals, keeping all the nutrients present in sugarcanes.
Corn Syrup – HFC, high fructose corn syrup is a processed sweet syrup made from the starch of corn. The effects of corn syrup are the same as that of the refined white sugar because the manufacturers add enzymes to maintain transparent color, increase sweetness and retain texture of the food. It increases the chance of fatty liver because of the artificial added enzymes.
Palm Sugar – This sugar is very healthy because it has a minimal process and obtained from the flower beds of the palm tree. The sap from these flower beds are heated to remove the moisture and the thick syrup is further reduced into brown crystals.
Honey – Bees collect nectar from the flowers and they store in their comb. These sweetening agents contain a lot of nutrients and if they don’t touch any factory premises for processing, the nutritious value is maintained.
Artificial Sweeteners – This sugar is worse than refined sugar because they are chemical synthesis which is made with help of chemicals from scratch.
Fruit Sugar – The sugar in the fruit is considered as fruit sugar. It contains fructose and glucose. Taking a fruit is good because it contains natural sugar but drinking canned fruit juices does not contain natural sugars.
Maple Syrup – Just like our palm sugar, maple syrup is made from maple trees. The syrup is obtained by heating the sap of the sugar maple tree and reduced to the required consistency.
Is Refined Sugar Bad?
The sugar you drop in coffee, the white little cubes will not give any health benefits but will give hell a lot of taste and numerous health complications.
Refined sugar is white. The brown sugar is processed so many times to turn it into white color. The more you refine the sugar, the worse it gets in terms of nutrients. The refined sugar process is nothing but “adulteration” . The end pearl white molecules are just dust. We are eating chunks of dust in the name of “sugar”.
But if it is this bad why do people keep using it?
For example if you see a vanilla cake but in brown color, would you buy it ?
No, because vanilla cake is supposed to be in white color. We want our food to look picture perfect. If you make a cake using brown sugar or palm sugar, the cake color will be in the shades of brown. It is a marketing trick pulled by the food & beverages industry to play their “big game” with our conditional mindset.
A refined white sugar will obey the color rules in the food industry. The reason they exist is because they can cooperate well with other added color preservatives, chemical coloring agents and flavoring agents.
It is scary to imagine the fact that an artificial molecule is created for the purpose of pushing products in the market and they label that artificial molecule into a “food” category.
Sugar- benefits and disadvantages
Sugar, when undergoes metabolism, it breaks down into glucose molecules as the final product and glucose releases energy for your body. Your body cells absorb this energy and use it for physical and mental activity.
When you eat natural sugar that contains micronutrients, it has complex carbohydrate molecules, so the metabolism is slow and it aids in glycogen storage. The absorption rate will be balanced, and it creates a gradual energy release without making you hyperactive.
The refined sugar, it has zero nutrients, will lead to a rapid metabolism, releases energy quickly and damages your essential microbes in the body. Your energy is not released evenly, so you feel hungry and keep adding in more sugary foods. This results in obesity in the long term.
Sugar for each body type
Every individual requires a different level of nutrients to their body. Sugar intake varies based on the body type. According to Ayurveda, body types are classified based on the predominant energy(Dosha)﹘ Vata, Pitta, Kapha. The amount of sugar in the diet is different for each body type.
In Ayurveda, there are certain foods that don’t taste sweet while chewing them in your mouth, but when they are metabolized, they exhibit the property of the sweet or sugar food. It is called “Madhura Rasa” in Ayurveda.
For example: Milk, wheat and even amla fall under the Madhura Rasa food category.
Vata body type people are very active by nature and light frame. They can intake the sugar and sweets in their diet. The natural sugar(unprocessed and unadulterated) will help a Vata body aid in glycogen storage. This helps them to have a momentum in their energy distribution because of the complex carbohydrates present in the natural sugar.
The Pitta dosha people have a high metabolism rate because of their increased digestive fire. If you are pitta body type, keep full stop to the “refined white sugar”. Pitta people should move towards the natural sugar which is unadulterated and unprocessed.
Heavily built, thick oily skin, the strong body type—Kapha people—should have a limited intake of the sugar. Since they have a large body frame, sweet foods can lead them to become obese. Kapha people cannot avoid the Madhura Rasa but need to keep it in limited quantity in their meal plan.
How does Ayurveda look at Sugar?
Diet plans from overseas or western countries look at sugar as an enemy when in need to shed weight or improve lifestyle. But Ayurveda acknowledges the difference between each sugar based food and embraces the consumption at balanced level.
Honey – the natural sweetener, with no adulteration or process, is good to intake. On metabolizing honey will produce heat and can remove fat from the body. For a Vata and Kapha body type, they can take honey but Pitta people need to switch to other natural sugar.
Jaggery – the natural sweetening agent can cool down your body and strengthen your body. We recommend Vata people to intake Jaggery after every meal.
White Sugar (Refined or Double refined) – has no nutrients, rapid metabolism, leads to unhealthy appetite and will aggravate all the doshas and lead to lifestyle diseases.
Too much of anything is good for nothing. Eating healthy food like millet, grains or nuts in high quantities on a daily basis will cause certain health conditions.
They are good when it is taken at an appropriate level. There needs to be a limit for everything. If your pinky finger becomes longer, neither your palm balances things easily nor you can type in your mobile or laptop. This shows why things needs to be in a mixture of correct proportions.
Know your boundaries for anything.