Refined sugars include sweet substances that have been processed and milled to the point that the sugar particles are extremely fine. When refined sugars are eaten, the sugars are able to quickly enter the blood stream. This can spike the blood sugar, causing the body to feel instantly energized. Unfortunately, the energy received from refined sugars is short-lived, and will cause a sudden energy drop shortly afterward. When the energy level drops so suddenly, it causes the body to crave more sugars in order to compensate for the energy loss. This cycle leads to the consumption of excess calories, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Refined sugars include white sugar, corn syrup, refined honey and refined maple syrup. Instead of using refined sugars, chose whole-food sweeteners, such as raw honey or black strap molasses.
Refined flours have been milled so much that nearly all of the nutritional value has been lost. Many refined flours are fortified in order to compensate for the loss of vitamins and minerals. Refined flours are very fine in texture, and enter the blood stream as quickly as refined sugars, causing the same spike and drop in energy levels. Refined flours include white flour and products created with white flour, such as pastries, cookies, cakes and crackers. Choose whole-grain flours and baked goods that are minimally refined, instead of refined white flour products.
Refined produce include vegetables and fruits that have been cooked to the point that most of the vitamins, fiber and minerals have been lost, and canned. Using canned vegetables and fruits in recipes and in meals will not nourish the body and will cause the body to not have enough fiber to maintain proper digestion. Eating a great deal of processed and refined vegetables and fruits can lead to malnutrition and constipation. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables that still retain their nutrient levels and fiber, instead of refined, canned produce.