I had a request for a post about sugar… and here it is. First lets recap on the question:
“Is making jello popcorn with honey rather than corn syrup really a much healthier option or is sugar sugar and still going to make me unhealthy either way?”
Ah sugar. SUGAR! This is a hefty nutrition topic. Refined or table sugar gets a really really bad rap… but for seemingly good reason. And yet we consume it at an unprecedented rate in the United States. The average American consumes 26 spoonfuls of sugar EVERY DAY… (maybe it’s to help all of the medicine we take to go down…) Yet, the human body only needs the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar to operate your entire bloodstream.
There is a large group of people who believe sugar is absolutely the worst thing for us to put into our bodies… highly addictive and the cause of most health problems our country now faces (heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc etc.) Here is a nice little video for you.
Yet there are some that will tell you that is really “natural” and “healthy” because it acts as a delivery system for other good nutrients. I find this to be propaganda to get people to keep buying and eating sugar.
So what is sugar anyway…
The refined sugar that we use comes from sugar beets and sugar cane… which look like nice wholesome natural plants. But it is the refining process which turns that into this….
The process that has to take place for this transformation involves quite a few chemicals… including “antiscalants, color precipitants, bleaching aids, biocides/preservatives, dextran & starch inhibitor, viscosity reducers, defoamers, flocculants, descalants, bio-enzymes” So in my mind that kind of removes all semblance of natural-ness and turns it into something completely different.
Refined sugar is devoid of any sort of nutrient… it is just empty calories that you can slap right onto your _____________. (Fill in the blank)
So what’s the deal with Honey… well honey is considered “better” than refined sugar because it does not go through the same refining process and contains some vitamins and minerals (but only a very small amount) It also has some anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid foods that create appetites for themselves. If you find sweet things to be addictive you may consider removing them from your diet, or greatly reducing (for some reason when you talk to some people about giving up sweets they get all crazy like the world is collapsing) . If you stop eating it so much, you stop craving it so much. Promise.
If you are making Jell-O popcorn you are already getting some sort of refined sugar in the Jell-O itself… unless you use sugar free which I believe contains Splenda (sucralose). So your decision between honey or corn syrup will only make it fractionally better. But in my opinion every little fraction counts because a lot of little fractions add up to a whole lot.
So if I had to rank sweeteners from the best to the worst here is the order I would put them in. ( I will not dive into artificial sweeteners in this post, although I do believe that some have their time and place.)
WORST TO BEST
- High Fructose Corn Syrup– I consider it worse because it keeps your body from producing key hormones that regulate your energy cycle and inhibit hunger… among other evils.
- Refined Sugar
- Corn Syrup
- Cane Syrup/Juice (taken before the refining process)
- Pure Maple Syrup
- Stevia (although it has a very distinct taste that I am not a huge fan of in a lot of things)