Maintenance – Simple vs. Complex sugars

So here’s a little tidbit that I just learned. I have always known about simple sugars (white sugar, brown sugar, etc.) and simple carbs (basically anything made with white flour).  I have also heard about complex carbs (whole grains like brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet etc).  But I hadn’t heard about COMPLEX SUGARS!

As you already know, sugar is my addiction, and as a result, I need to try and steer clear (‘try’ is the operative word there).  Just a little bit sends my blood sugars soaring leaving me aching for more…and more…and more.

While I was reading Alicia Silverstone’s latest book, she mentioned using brown rice syrup and barley malt in lieu of the simple sugars.  Supposedly these don’t affect the spikes in blood sugar the way regular sweeteners do.

With that in mind I did a little research!  Here is a list of SIMPLE sugars:

white sugar (in all its forms)

brown sugar


maple syrup

agave nectar

and even fruit sweeteners

It seems that grain based sweeteners are the best quality sweeteners, mainly because they come from complex carbs.

I am currently reading “Cooking the Whole Foods Way” by Chrisina Pirello.  Here’s what she has to say on the subject:

“The beauty of grain sweeteners is that they are complex sugars, not simple sugars, so they are relased into the blood slowly, providing fuel for the body instead of the rush and crash we get from simple sugars.  They are also not all that refined a product; they are simply whole grains, inoculated with a fermenting agent and then cooked until they reduce to a syrup.”

In baking just remember that these sweeteners are a liquid so you will need to adjust your recipe accordingly to accommodate them.  About half a cup of syrup for every 1 cup of sugar called for. 

I am very excited to try out some new treats using grain sweeteners!  By the way, don’t even think about using artificial sweeteners, and here’s why!

Source: WFM Blog 16

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