This discussion on the chemistry makeup of sugar is to empower you to eat with knowledge. It is a foundational look at sugar and how it is recognized by the body. It is not a lecture on how much sugar you eat, but to give you insight on how sugar bonds with other nutrients and is absorbed.
Sugar makes us feel good because it activates the dopamine hormone, and processed sugar goes more immediately and acutely. A shot of processed sugar gives us quick energy, like if you drink a soda, but then a crash of tiredness comes. This is because sugar’s original bond has changed.
A sugar molecule is C12H22O11.
Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. We are bombarded with opinions and misdirection that how you eat sugar whether natural or processed, the chemical makeup is the same. Sugar found in natural form, like an apple, is encased with elements like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. So when you bite into an apple, you get a slew of elements bonded to C12H22O11. Cane sugar is unprocessed and wrapped in other elements. When researching what exactly is being stripped away, you find countless blogs stating only “impurities.” Those impurities are other elements bonding with the sugar. We know the benefits of beets, and beet sugar comes with minerals, nutrients, and vitamins; yet we are taught that sugar is sugar.
The package of how sugar is delivered into our body is different. Our body recognizes sugar in fruits and unprocessed foods. When sugar is stripped of its “impurities,” the body must adjust to utilize this processed sugar. This brings on inflammation and pain causing havoc through the body in ways including high blood pressure, digestive issues, and headaches.
Very different molecules look similar. Like a sugar molecule is C12H22O11. A fat molecule is C54H108O6. Caffeine molecule is C8H10N4O2, and a cocaine molecule is C17H21NO4.
Even the slightest difference in a molecule is important. Like with the sugar molecule, you cannot extract just the oxygen and use it to breathe, nor the hydrogen and oxygen for water. 3 of the most abundant elements in the universe are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They are bonded in an infinite number of ways to create the planets, comets, animals, and life in the universe!
Your body is all about chemistry and natural food bonds should stay together.
Many times, patients tell me they do not think they eat too much sugar. Absolutely I agree. I agree that they don’t realize it. Pasta, bread, yogurt, cereal, energy bar, salad dressing, instant oatmeal and even dried fruit can have added processed sugar.
Sugar is not the enemy in its natural bond. Enjoy sugar options like raw cane, beet, molasses, honey, stevia, coconut, monk fruit, maple syrup.