What You Should Know About Sweetners
America’s got a sweet tooth. This addiction is changing our health for the worst. Even children know that too many sweets are bad for you. But does it go beyond a simple stomach ache and a sugar crash? Actually, a sweet tooth can be deadly.
The first evidence of sugar being refined in a crystalline form is from 500 BC India. Before this sweetness in the diet came from fruits, berries and other plants. Occasionally people would use honey to sweeten a food. But honey is seasonal so the opportunity was rare. Now with our processing capabilities anybody can get sweets any time. In just 200 years we have gone from eating about 15 lbs. of sugar per year in 1815 to over 180 lbs. per year in 2000.
So what is the cost? Tooth decay, obesity, chronic inflammatory disease such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and more. 100 grams of sugar per day is enough to depress your immune system making it difficult for you to fight off bacterial and viral infections. The average American consumes about twice that much daily. A diet high in sugar also causes ingested food to travel through your digestive system more slowly exposing your body to potentially harmful food ingredients such as food dyes and contaminants for longer.
If you want to avoid sugar it can be extremely difficult. There are a lot of different names for sugar out there: Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Maltose, Lactose, Dextrose, Glucose, Sucrose, Fructose, Cane Juice, Turibinado Sugar, Brown Sugar, Honey, and the list goes on. The more processed a food is then the more detrimental the effect of the sugar. We should be getting our sweetness through whole fruits, vegetables and berries.
Artificial sweeteners are even worse. Many are far sweeter than sugar. Just because they are low calorie doesn’t mean they are healthy. High Fructose Corn Syrup is processed using mercury, a toxic metal. It is in everything from ketchup to breakfast cereal and it is toxic to your liver. Aspartame (NutraSweet™, Equal™, etc) causes brain tumors and actually breaks down in your body to become formaldehyde, a common embalming fluid. Sucralose (Splenda™) is named to sound like a natural substance but it’s very artificial and contains chlorine, a chemical used to do everything from cleaning pool to making nerve gas. Next time you see Aspartame on a label you should read: Formaldehyde. Instead of sucralose read: Chlorinated sugar. Because they are so sweet they cause insulin release and drop your blood sugar.
Sweetness is addictive and triggers a cycle of increased appetite and craving for more sweets. This vicious cycle is a deadly one. The answer is to retrain your taste buds and explore the bouquet of other flavors we can enjoy such as spicy, bitter, sour, salt, and others. Laying off the sweets (regardless of the calorie count) just may save your life!