Which sugar should I use?

Lets talk about sugar, sometimes it seems like it is in EVERYTHING..  So since it is seemingly unavoidable, and our bodies do need some amounts of sugar for energy (the naturally occurring sugar in fruits and vegetables is the best), than how do you pick the best one?  One way is by using the glycemic index.

What is the Glycemic Index??

Glycemic index is not as complicated as it sounds, it is simply a measurement of how the body’s blood sugar levels (or blood glucose level) react to any given food consumed.  It is very important to remember that each value given represents a range and that everyone’s body will react slightly different.

The glycemic index has been referenced more often lately  because it is used as a guideline for many new weight loss plans.  A low carb diet is considered effective because meats and vegetables typically do not raise or spike your blood glucose.  The south beach diet takes it a step further and suggests that you only eat fruits and vegetables that are low on the glycemic index, as well as low or no carbohydrates (food items like potatoes and white rice have high ranking on the glycemic index).  Processed and refined sugars are simply crystalized carbohydrates.  The reason naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and vegetables are different than refined sugars is because these natural sugars are incased in the fibers of the plant.  They are less available to your GI system for absorption, resulting in less of a blood glucose spike.   That is why when you eat carbs and fiber together the glycemic index on that food comes down..

Here is a list of commonly found/used sugars and sweeteners.  Sugar is still sugar, and eating whole foods that don’t require sweeteners is the best option, BUT, realistically speaking we all like a little sugar now and then, right?  I know I do.  So the key is lets try and pick the sweetener that does less of a number on our (and our kids) systems..

  • Agave Nectar   –  30
  • Brown Sugar  –  64
  • Cane Sugar  –  80
  • Coconut Sugar  –  35
  • Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids – 75
  • Dextrose  – 100
  • Evaporated Cane Juice – 55
  • Glucose – 100
  • High-fructose corn syrup  – 87
  • Honey – 58
  • Maltodextrin – 130
  • Molasses – 55
  • Raw sugar – 65
  • Sucrose – 65
  • Pure Maple Syrup – 54
  • Turbinado Sugar – 65
  • Xylitol – 7

On the list you may see a few you are unfamiliar with including maltodextrin.  Maltodextrin is a white powder often used in processed foods as a thickener or a filler since it’s fairly inexpensive, as well as in pharmaceuticals as a binding agent. You’ll find it in canned fruits, snacks, cereal, desserts, instant pudding, sauces, and salad dressings.   It is considered to be easily digestible although has a very high ranking on the glycemic index, and is often found in sports drinks.  If you are an athlete or are wondering about how easily a type of sugar is converted to energy, that is a completely different subject.  If you are interested in reading about that, leave me a comment below!



** Married mommy of two beautiful girls , residing in San Diego. Practice manager/Veterinary nurse working in the field for 11 years.

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3 Responses

  1. carol stauffer says:

    Wow really looks more professional, love the new format.

  2. Very well explained, I know more the different types of sugar. Very good article

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