The question of why some sweet substances (like honey), are considered acceptable for paleo where others (like sugar cane) are not was brought up recently on the 1meal1workout podcast. The same subject came up over the weekend with my mom, and again a day or so later, so I figured the signs were pointing to the need for some clarification- and my opinion- on the subject.
Let it never be said that I ignored the signs. Or the chance to share my opinion on something.
So for my doubting friend Mark, my questioning mother, and my confused acquaintance Joy, I give you the following information, largely paraphrased from people who are much smarter than I.
The super simple answer is that if it's processed, other than packaging, it's not very paleo.
Also, it's not good for you.
Generally speaking, why are sugars (in any form) bad?
- Sugar stimulates a physiological stressor-reaction cascade that provokes adrenaline and cortisol release and thickens the blood.
- Sugar effectively disables your immune system by impairing white blood cells’ functioning.
- Sugar decreases your body’s production of leptin, a hormone critical for appetite regulation.
- Sugar induces significant oxidative stress in the body.
- Sugar appears to fuel cancer cells.
- Sugar promotes fat storage and weight gain.
- Sugar disrupts the effective transfer of amino acids to muscle tissue.
- Sugar intake over time spurs insulin resistance, subsequent Type II diabetes and the entire host of related health issues like nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
|Sucrose (white sugar)||64|
|Barley malt syrup||42|
|Brown rice syrup||25|
|High fructose corn syrup||62|
|Stevia||less than 1|
|Sugar cane juice||43|
|Evaporated cane juice||55|
|Black strap molasses||55|
Coconut Palm Sugar 35
Agave looks good right? Well…wrong. Agave is an artificially processed, over-treated fructose syrup. There IS no such thing as "raw" agave. In order to create agave, the agave liquid is heated until much of the water evaporates. "Raw" agave is heated for long periods of time at low heat (115-119 degrees F). Regular agave is heated to 130 degrees or more for shorter periods of time — but in either case, in order to have agave syrup, it must be cooked, very much like maple syrup, making it a processed food.