What is Refined Sugar & 8 Reasons to Ditch It

Stack of sugar cubes

What is Refined Sugar?

New clients are always me, "What is refined sugar?" and then comes, "Doesn't fruit have too much sugar?"  My answer is always the same - All sugar is NOT created equal.

Refined sugar is one of the least nutritious, most insidious foods you can eat, and contrary to some what medical professionals may say, it is not the same thing as the naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and vegetables.

Fruit and vegetables contain loads of vitamins, minerals, fibers, enzymes, and other naturally occurring compounds that slow the rate at which sugar (fructose) enters the bloodstream, preventing blood sugar spikes and energy crashes while providing highly absorbable nutrients that your body will soak up immediately.

On the other hand, refined sugar offers NO nutritional value, promotes weight gain, leads to unstable blood sugar and energy levels, triggers inflammation, and exacerbates disease. Worse still? Refined sugar is white because it is chemically bleached, making is a highly carcinogenic substance.  

Will labels say "Refined Sugar"?

That would be way too easy! Refined sugar has an array of monikers that can serve to cloak its true identity on ingredient labels including:

  1. Corn syrup, Corn Syrup Solids
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  3. Cane juice, Evaporated Cane Juice, Cane Juice Crystals
  4. Dextrose, Maltose, Sucrose, Galactose
  5. Maltodextrin, Dextrin
  6. Rice Syrup, Barley Malt, Malt Syrup


Refined sugar is hiding in all sorts of seemingly harmless foods- canned soups, granola bars, breads, salad dressings, breakfast cereals, yogurts, breads, sauces and more. 

Benefits of giving up refined sugar: 

  1. Easier weight loss 
  2. Reduced inflammation  
  3. Improved sleep quality
  4. More stable energy levels & increased overall energy
  5. Improvement in skin’s appearance 
  6. Fewer mood swings, less irritability 
  7. Relief from blood sugar-related headaches
  8. Boosted immune system 

Sugar is a drug! 

What is refined sugar?  It is just like a drug. When you eat refined sugar, it impacts the reward system in the brain in much the same way as cocaine and heroin, causing surges of dopamine. Also like a drug, the more refined sugar you eat, the higher your tolerance gets, causing you to increase your intake in order to trigger the same feelings of pleasure in your brain. Sugar addiction is real and so are the cravings that accompany it.

The good news? 

Sugar addiction can actually be broken very quickly- in as little as a week or two! You may notice a difference in your cravings, energy levels, sleep quality, ability to concentrate, and even in the appearance of your skin within just a few days of not eating refined sugar. 

Bio image of article author Lisa Testa, M.S.

With over two decades of expertise in the field of Health & Wellness, Lisa Testa, M.S. is an experienced nutritionist who has dedicated her career to empowering hundreds of clients on their journeys to weight loss and natural healing through the transformative power of raw food nutrition.

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