The health industry today is a broad spectrum. From low-fat to no carb, to high-protein to juice cleanses, it’s no wonder the average consumer is overwhelmed. The new enemy seems to be sugar, but is sugar a poison?

Like carbs and gluten before it, there has been a lot of talk about how sugar is ‘poison’ and we should avoid it as such. But is something we’ve been eating for thousands of years really that bad?

Humans have a natural bliss point for sugar that has been honed through our evolution. This means that we’re programmed to like foods with a certain amount of sugar; it’s what our bodies crave and historically, our way of telling when a food was ripe and good to eat.

Contrary to a lot of other professionals in the nutrition industry, nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara of Changing Habits loves sugar. She believes that sugar is an important part of our diet, but how it can benefit us depends greatly on what type we consume.

Please find her tips on sugar consumption:

  • Don’t deny yourself. Our brains and body needs sugar, it is an optimum fuel source as well as helps in the communication of our cells and you should never cut it out completely.
  • Use good quality, non-refined sugars. This is the number one rule when it comes to sugar. Avoid white, refined sugars at all costs.
  • Look for organic sugar. Buy organically sourced products that are extracted directly from the sugar cane. Products like Rapadura Sugar are extracted from the sugar cane and evaporated over a low heat, that’s it – nothing added and nothing taken away. This means you get the vitamins and minerals from the sugar cane as well as the sweet fix.
  • Be strategic. Avoid heavily processed products that contain refined sugar, get your sweet fix elsewhere. Either make your own healthy chocolate, desserts or have a piece of fruit!
  • Never compensate real sugar for sweeteners. A favourite of dieters, artificial sweeteners are rife but research would suggest they do more harm than good. Not only can they cause weight gain but chemicals in these products are linked to strokes and heart disease.
  • Watch out for manmade sugars. Such as dextrose, glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, xylitol, maltodextrine, many of these sugars are made with genetically modified corn and wheat – the long term ramifications of these foods are still not know.

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