It’s surprising how much there is to know about sugar and it’s imitators, and how bad it really is for you. The problem is not weight gain, the reason many stay away from real sugar, but that it causes damage to your body in ways that you don’t realize. Researchers are pushing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate sugar as a toxin. Sugar makes blood pressure and cholesterol go up, along with your risk for liver failure, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Sugar also suppresses the immune system and promotes inflammation in the body. A diet low in sugar can decrease symptoms in children with hyperactivity disorders. Surprised?
Sugar and it’s counterparts (fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice…) can be found in almost anything these days, especially convenience or boxed foods. Just check the ingredient list in some of your favorite foods, if I see sugar listed near the top of the ingredient list it doesn’t come into my house. I recently grabbed a box of Kashi Organic cereal that was on sale, got it home and saw that the second ingredient is “organic evaporated cane juice”. Rip off.
So what is the solution? Use natural sweeteners. Of course we all have a sweet tooth, we all like to indulge a little. But if I’m going to eat refined and processed sugar I want to make it count, like the occasional Snickers bar or Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, not my daily cup of tea or home baked muffins! There are many sweet alternatives such as honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, stevia, and molasses.
Sugar is bad enough, but artificial sugar? I liken it to powdered cancer.
Most people turn to artificial sweeteners when they’re looking for a sweet fix without the calories. Mannitol, Sorbitol, or Xylitol are sugar alcohols and Saccharin, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, and Neotame are ‘nonnutritive sweeteners’. The most widely used is Aspartame, and is in almost all ‘sugar-free’ sweet foods including diet sodas.
Aspartame is metabolized in the body as wood alcohol (methanol), or formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Your liver and kidneys cannot excrete this carcinogen so it builds up in your body, and an excess of carcinogens in your body is obviously not a good thing! A new study in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine treated six groups of mice with aspartame from before their birth until their deaths found that aspartame induces cancers of the liver and lungs in male mice.
Even Sucralose (Splenda). It is made by chlorinating sugar, and in the body is broken down into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequately tested in humans. Chlorine, when ingested, is toxic to the body.
The solution? For me, it was just a matter of avoiding all artificial sweeteners. Don’t want the sugar and calories? Than don’t get the sweet… learn to deal without it or use alternatives 😉
If you are interested in learning more, check out this compelling documentary which effectively illustrates the dangers of artificial sweeteners: