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I know that sugar of any kind, except that found in fruit, is a big no-no on the Whole30.  However, I was discussing the basics of Paleo eating yesterday with a friend who didn't know much about it.  He asked about raw sugar.  My understanding is that it's not a Paleo-approved ingredient, but my question is why? 

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First thing, there is a difference between Paleo and healthy. Paleo is a broad, varied approach to eating that includes lots of things the Whole30 does not. There are many authorities in the Paleo world. You can be one if you talk long enough and use social media effectively. The Whole30 is defined by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig based upon their reading of science, self-experimentation, and their work with 1000s of consulting and seminar clients. 

 

Second thing, sugar is sugar is sugar. No matter what form of sugar you are talking about, it has similar effects in the body. Fake sugars with no calories have similar effects on many bodily processes that "real" sugars do. Negative effects. Raw sugar, coconut sugar, stevia, aspartame, the blue stuff, the pink stuff, the yellow stuff, honey, maple syrup, etc. are pretty much the same inside your body.

 

The Whole30 does not ban sweet food, but it does ban added sugars of any sort, except for using fruit juice as a sweetener in recipes. Eliminating added sugar improves the health and ultimate happiness of people who make the transition. Really.

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I don't dispute that sugar has negative effects.  I am not personally tempted to "cheat" or let raw sugar slide if it's on an ingredient label.  I am looking for an explanation based on science to explain to people what it is about raw sugar that is so terrible.  If sugar is sugar is sugar, whether it is refined or not, then I anticipate the question being, why is fruit allowed?

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really? You wonder if there is a difference between raw sugar and the sugar in fruit? I understang being a devils advocate but honestly,  there is difference and not seeing it is one more sign of the danger that comes from reducing our understanding of food to macronutrients and calories alone. Fruit comes with vitamins and fiber and a whole host of things we are just beginning to understand. Raw sugar contains only sugar. It is a refined food that doesn't offer anything but sweet taste. I'm not saying go gorge yourself on fruit, but whole fruit is a natural food we are designed to consume in moderation. Doing so makes us more healthy. No one could argue the same for raw sugar. 

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I would ask your friend why he is looking to find an acceptable sugar to add to his diet or whole30. Remember the whole30 is a 30 day challenge it is not a lifetime. It is supposed to be hard otherwise it would be the easy whole30. If he wants to eat sugar then he can but if he wants to do a whole30 challenge then he needs to give it up for 30 days. Also there is no rule that says you have to have fruit. You can do a fruitless whole30 if you feel that works for you. You have to draw the fine line somewhere. I think omitting processed sugar and allowing fresh fruit with your meals is acceptable. Good Luck!

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Haha......jeez. Rough crowd. I am simply asking what the difference is, not saying there isn't a difference. I am not a nutritionist or a biologist or a chemist. I am merely wondering what the reasoning is for raw sugar being the same - I thought that maybe since it was "raw," it wasn't refined. Yikes. I'm not trying to eat raw sugar, nor would I tell an inquisitive friend to eat it. I'm not trying to bend the rules. I'm simply trying to have an answer other than "sugar is sugar" because I like to make my decisions based on reasons that make sense to me logically, not simply with a "well because I said so" mentality. I was merely considering that/wondering if perhaps raw sugar wasn't as bad because it was raw (and maybe therefore not refined or processed?). I don't know. That's why I'm asking. 

 

For the record, my friend isn't anywhere near doing a Whole30.  He was just asking.  And while I am personally not "in danger" of adding sugar of any kind to my diet, I was simply trying to be a little bit more informed so that I could answer that question better in the future. Just looking for some help with that. I don't see the need for the snarky remarks.

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Sarah........I totally understood what you were asking. :)  Folks here are really helpful, and I love them all.  It's just that some words seem to trip the ' :angry: AAAKKKKK!!' response no matter what the question is.

 

For what it's worth, I usually respond to questions regarding non-compliant foods with an offer to borrow my copy of "It Starts With Food" or I write the Whole30 website address down on the back of my business card so they can research it for themselves.

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Raw sugar is still a processed food, if--at best--it is minimally processed. It's not like chewing on a piece of sugarcane. So, I'm not sure I understand how "raw sugar" is different from any other sugar in a paleo or w30 framework. The point of paleo is to eat high nutrient dense food. Raw sugar has the same effects on your physiology as regular table sugar.

Then again, some people will remain willfully ignorant and refuse to see logic in your argument no matter what you say.

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Sarah, I wondered the same thing. I find that certain people who comment on here are a little harsh.  When someone asks a question,  can there be a simple response, a kinder tone, some humor? This forum is supposed to be for support, right?

 

Anyway, I heard from a nutritionist that if sugar enters your bloodstream too fast, thats when its harmful. So sugar in fruit is bound to other components, and your body has to sort of pick through all of those. As opposed to raw sugar, refined sugar, goes straight to the bloodstream. 

 

I also found this article. 

 

http://familyhealthed.org/2013/sugar-in-fruit-is-more-healthful-than-refined-sugar/

 

:D

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Raw sugar is less processed than cane sugar. It is usually a light tan color and has a molasses-y flavor because it hasn't had the molasses stripped from it the way refined white sugar has (brown sugar is just white sugar with a little molasses added back to it) It still has little to no nutrients or other health promoting substances. It is empty calories. Because it's less refined, it's may be less-bad than white sugar because it's usually organic so it at least doesn't have pesticides and chemicals in it, but it's far from good for you. Fruit on the other hand comes as a whole package. Not only does it have sugar, but it also has fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants. Fruit, in moderation, promotes health, whereas sugar, even raw sugar, does not.

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Because it's less refined, it's may be less-bad than white sugar because it's usually organic so it at least doesn't have pesticides and chemicals in it, but it's far from good for you.

 

Sorry, I have to dispute that - just because it's less refined doesn't make it anywhere near organic. Unless I'm specifically looking in the health food aisle or shop, the raw sugar on the shelf comes from exactly the same place as the other sugars, and is therefore grown with the exact same pesticides/herbicides/chemicals. There may be additional chemicals used in the processing of white sugar (I have no idea how that is done), but that doesn't mean there is none on the raw sugar.

 

I would tell your friend that the difference between raw and white sugar is purely taste (as it is between white and brown sugar), there is no nutritional difference.

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I buy raw sugar to make my kombucha. The only kind I've used is also organic. I've never looked around for anything else or noticed it. I buy my sugar in the bulk aisle, I don't ever go down the baking aisle to see what other kind of raw sugar they have.

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I buy raw sugar to make my kombucha. The only kind I've used is also organic. I've never looked around for anything else or noticed it. I buy my sugar in the bulk aisle, I don't ever go down the baking aisle to see what other kind of raw sugar they have.

Bulk bin organics - lucky!

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If you were doing a non-Paleo type diet, I'd say that the least processed sugar would be best if your baking or flavoring. I love muscavado sugar, it has a very interesting taste.

 

However, the point of doing a Whole 30 is to change yourself. Eating sugar, in any form, is part of the problem in our diets. You only need to read ISWF to know this. For me, one of the best parts of doing W30 was stopping having sweetener in my food. We have become so accustomed to sugar in everything that our taste buds don't know what real food tastes like. Raw fruit now tastes so sweet to me, I can't imaging having to put sugar or whipped cream or anything on it, as I used to.

 

The scientific data is very simple. Sugar, in any form, acts like sugar once you ingest it. It doesn't matter if it's raw or white sugar.

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Looking at it from another angle: sugar is sugar is sugar, so we shouldn't eat it. Raw sugar is refined sugar from canes or beets with no additional health effects. The only reason fruits are allowed is because they contain other stuff that is good for you, like fiber and vitamin C. And to get that package of goodness we accept the sugar they contain. (But that is also why vegetables are recomended over fruit - less sugar per gram of "healthiness")

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I know that sugar of any kind, except that found in fruit, is a big no-no on the Whole30.  However, I was discussing the basics of Paleo eating yesterday with a friend who didn't know much about it.  He asked about raw sugar.  My understanding is that it's not a Paleo-approved ingredient, but my question is why? 

Sarah,

  I understand your question. There are a lot of really good articles on why sugar is so bad for us. This piece in the NYTimes is a good place to start. There's really no benefit (aside from calories should you be in danger of starvation and happen on a stash of honey or similar) to consuming sugar, and many diseases that it is suspected of contributing to or causing.

  The sugar in fruit is definitely sugar, and should be consumed in moderation. Depending on your lifestyle, it may make sense to stick to veggies. I personally eat very little fruit after reading more about it (and kind of losing my taste for it, I really adore my veggies as nerdy as that may sound).

  I encourage you to keep reading and learning. It's fascinating stuff.

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ultrarunnergirl, thank you for your response.  I appreciate your understanding of my question, as well as your ability to answer it with science and a lack of preaching :)  I do find nutrition fascinating and have been reading more about it over the past year or so than I ever have before.  I will definitely check out that article and continue to do my own research.

 

Rachel_7546, I will say that the first couple responses frustrated me due to their rudeness...however, several people since then have reached out with kindness, so it's made the pretentious, preachy comments not quite as bad (though they still suck!).  Ultimately, it's important for us all to remember to take all the info on here with a grain of salt.  Most of the people posting on here are not doctors nor do they have a background in nutrition education.  Even many of the responses on here which were not rude completely misunderstood my question, and even MORE gave me an answer that seems to be more based on their own assumptions than on scientific fact. 

 

I think the initial comments left a bitter taste in my mouth (no pun intended) and my subsequent comments probably make ME come off as rude; I apologize if that's the case. It's not my intention.

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For what's it worth, Sarah, I thought the tone of some of the commenters was uncalled for. I think they thought you were argumentative for the sake of being argumentative. But I think any fair reading of your questions shows that you were just being curious. I'm happy you stood up for yourself.

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I think we need to clear up a little misunderstanding here, because people are feeling bad, and unwelcome, and that is never what we want here on the whole30 forums.

 

Sometimes on the internet people misread other people's tone. I did it above, when I heard the OP as being a devil's advocate asking a question she didn't mean just to start an internet brawl, when I understand now that she was asking a sincere question. I suspect she also misread my tone, in my response which was not intended to judge the OP personally, but instead to commiserate with like-minded fellows on the whole30 board about how society is losing sight of the big picture by focusing on macros alone.

 

I will try harder to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I ask that you do so too.

 

Although all information (including that coming from doctors) should be taken with a grain of salt, I do take great stock in what the Hartwigs have to say about nutrition. Please feel free to ask whatever questions you have, and we will work hard to answer with the depth of knowledge available within the whole30 program.

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Sarah, 

There is no need to apologize, but I appreciate it. I have questions all the time, and find it helpful to browse the forums. This was the first time I read some unexpected responses. Thanks for reaching out! Good luck Sarah!  :)

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