Sugar vs. Fruit Sugar: Not All Sugar Is Created Equal

smile cacao raw superfood barMany of our customers are conscientious label-readers, and our bars pass all the ingredient tests: certified Paleo, certified gluten-free, and preservative-free, with just eight superfood ingredients per bar. But we sometimes hear concerns about the sugar in our B.O.S.S. Bars so we wanted to share a bit about the difference between added (often refined) sugar and fruit sugar like the ones we use.

Natural Sugars

Glucose and fructose, both “simple” sugars, are found in fruits, vegetables and honey. They are more easily broken down by the body and are often delivered with the added benefit of fiber, which helps prevent severe spikes in blood sugar levels and those crazy crashes that we’ve all experienced after too much candy. Fiber also slows down the rate at which glucose is digested, so you have more time to “use” it on that afternoon walk with the dogs, your daily spin class or just a romp with the kids in the backyard, before it turns to fat.

Processed Sugars

High-fructose corn syrup, agave, sucrose–table sugar–and those trendy artificial sweeteners are all processed before being mixed into those “diet” snacks. These processed sugars add sweetness and nothing else, stripping away the vitamins, nutrients and fiber that fruits provide. These processed sugars are just empty calories, driving up your daily, weekly, and annual intake as well as quickly spiking blood sugar rates. And that is why they have no business in our bars.

Our Two Ingredients that Qualify as “Added Sugars”

We only use two Paleo-approved sweeteners: raw honey and coconut nectar. Honey, specifically, helps stabilize blood sugar levels, has been linked to “heightened athletic performance” and is antibacterial because of an added enzyme from bees, which helps keep our bars preservative-free. Coconut nectar is the sap from the flowers of the coconut tree and comes in at just a 35 on the glycemic index (anything under 55 is considered a “low” GI food), which means it causes a slower, steadier rise in blood sugars than most other sweeteners.

A Word on Dates

Dates are our primary ingredient and they epitomize all of the benefits we’ve been talking about. They are complex carbs that keep your body and mind fueled all day, with a low GI rating. Beyond that, they are full of fiber, contributing to the slower absorption of the natural sugars to help you avoid a sugar crash, and have more potassium by weight than a banana, to help your muscles recovery from your activity du jour.

Don’t get us wrong, consuming too much of either kind of sugar can be detrimental to your health, with ties to cancer, diabetes and obesity, but everyone needs some sugar in their diet to perform–from basic human tasks to herculean fitness efforts. “The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel,” says Vera Novak, MD, PhD, an HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It cannot be without it.” But too much can wreck your physical and mental capacities, so it is important to be aware of how much, and what kinds, of sugar you, and your family, are taking in.

Your health is your priority (and ours), which is why our B.O.S.S. Bars contain only honey, coconut nectar and fruit for delicious, healthy sweetness.

About the Author