Refined processed sugar is Bad! It is hard on your body, it's hard on the body to process and break down. Any type of sugar will spike the insulin and set the brain waves going crazy. Keeping your blood sugar stabilized all day is an important part of keeping a healthy body. Most people are constantly spiking the blood sugar and it's going up an down all day.
You definitely want to stay away from white sugar, brown sugar, turbinado sugars and also chemically processed types of additives and sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup....yikes! Bad, bad, bad...and it's in A LOT of packaged foods. Also Saccharin (Sweet n low), Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), Sucralose (Splenda) are very bad fake forms of sugar. They only do harmful things to the body. Read food labels and do not consume anything that has this in it!
Sugar has no nutritional value...and it's addicting. The more you have the more you want! Your body is saying "I'm not getting anything from this food....I need something...give me more!" And so you have more, more, more. It requires more effort to digest and breakdown because it lacks vitamins, minerals and fiber. The body depletes it's owns stores of minerals and enzymes to absorb it properly, causing deficiencies. Studies have shown that sugar is more addicting than drugs. It's scary stuff!!
My body has always had a hard time processing sugar from a young age. My Halloween candy would sit in my room for months. I knew what it would do to me and it was not appealing. But, as we have any amounts of sugar our bodies begin to crave it, no matter how horrible you might feel. Pretty soon it becomes very addicting and it's hard to give up. I have hypoglycemia issues and digestion issues, sugar does bad things to me. After months of no sugar I am now able to have some Natural forms of sugar but only in very small amounts. If I bake healthy treats I can only have 1, maybe 2....it takes a lot of self control and can be very difficult becaue that 1st taste of sugar is very hard to control not going for a second taste.
Natural Alternatives to sugar that are unrefined and unprocessed:
Raw Honey- also has some antioxidants and health benenfits. Raw, unproccessed, unfiltered honey is best. Buy it local if possible. It's full of vitamins and minearls.
Pure Maple syrup or maple sugar- maple syrup and granulated maple sugar are made from the sap that comes from maple trees. The granulated form works great as a cup for cup replacement for white sugar and the flavor won't over power a recipe.
Coconut palm sugar- made from the sap of the coconut tree. The taste is similar to brown sugar with a hint of molasses. Sometimes just called coconut sugar or palm sugar. Palm sugar is made from the sap of various palm trees. Use this in recipes that you want to give a warm brown sugar flavor. coconut sugar does not add as much moisture as white sugar; so you may need to add a little extra liquid to balance your recipes for baked goods.
Use these natural forms of sugar in baking, added to smoothies, etc.
Stevia and Xylitol are ok, but not the greatist, still more processed than more natural forms. Use more sparingly than the other natural forms.
Even natural forms of sugar should be used in moderation. Any form of sugar will still spike your insulin and any sugar isn't good in large amounts and like I said...the more you have the more your body will crave it over and over and over!! The best thing would be to not have any added sugars at all if you cannot control yourself. But, processed, refined sugars especially should not be used EVER! The less sugar you have Fruit and food will start to become sweeter, your taste buds will change and your body will thank you!! Giving up sugar alone will do amazing things for your health. Added sugars (among many other harmful things) are in most processed and packaged foods....read your labels and start eating more whole food sources....Just eat real food! :)