The Nasties: Why White Sugar is So Bad For You And What You Can Choose Instead
What Exactly is Sugar?
The well known, granulated white sugar that just about every one of us has in our kitchens comes mainly from sugar cane (80%) or to a lesser extent sugar beet. In its raw state, cane sugar is a dark coloured, thick syrup better known as black molasses. It is this syrup which is refined to produce the clean looking granulated form that is white sugar. All of the nutrients contained in its original form are removed in the refining process. This leaves a handy product that is very sweet to the taste but is devoid of any goodness whatsoever.
What are the Negative Health Aspects of Eating Refined Sugar?
Sucrose in its refined form is broken down by the body into glucose and used by the body for producing energy. When sucrose is taken in and broken down in large amounts, the blood gets a rush glucose which causes an imbalance in blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are constantly rising and falling sharply
when you take in too much sugar.
This is countered to some extent by the body’s own regulatory system in the form of insulin. Insulin is a hormone manufactured within the pancreas. When those levels get too high too quickly, insulin is released in large quantities to return the blood sugar levels to equilibrium.
What happens is that you get a fast rush of energy from the sugar as it’s processed and released into the bloodstream. This is rapidly followed by a rapid drop in energy as the insulin does its work.
You then eat more sugary food or drink to regain your “high” and the process begins again. This puts a terrible strain on your pancreas in the constant creation and release of insulin. Eventually, the strain becomes too much and insulin production becomes erratic, meaning that blood sugar levels can no longer be effectively regulated. This leads to the onset of type II diabetes. Increased insulin levels decreases the production of growth hormones which in turn depresses our immune system.
Refined sugar doesn’t contain any fibre, vitamins, minerals, protein, fat or enzymes. Nothing your body needs, just empty calories. Your body ends up borrowing important nutrients from your healthy cells to metabolize the sugar.
Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are needed and taken from many parts of the body. It can get to the point where so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become brittle. A domino effect starts where the body becomes overly acidic and pulls even more minerals out to correct the imbalance.
Excess sugar causes the blood to become thick and sticky which inhibits blood flow. The body starts lacking vital nutrients that are needed to eliminate toxic waste. Then waste material starts to build up which speeds up cellular death = Premature Aging.
Sugar plays a role in asthma, mood swings, gallstones, heart disease, headaches, joint pain, diabetes, arthritis, nervous disorders, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tooth decay. Sugar produces an acidic environment in our mouth. Our saliva should be alkaline, which helps protect our
teeth, gums and mouth. An acidic environment leads to bacteria growth and weakens the enamel of the teeth.
Sugar is addictive and considered harmful when consistently consumed. Glucose and Vitamin C have a similar chemical structure and they compete for entry into the cells. If there is more glucose around than Vitamin C - glucose wins. As a consequence, your immune system becomes depressed.
If the sugar we ingest isn’t immediately used by our bodies for energy… it gets stored. So if we eat a sweet high in refined sugar, about 50% of the glucose is used for energy, 10% gets stored in the liver and muscles and 40% stored as fat.
People are ingesting a lot more sugar than they actually know. For example, did you know that one bottle of Vitamin Water has 32.5 grams of sugar? That's eight teaspoons of sugar. A 12-ounce can of soda contains nine teaspoons of sugar.
Each sugar cube represents 4 grams of sugar :
Nesquik Chocolate Milk:
8 oz (240 ml) Serving
Sugars, total: 29g
Calories, total: 200
Calories from sugar: 116
16 oz Bottle
Sugars, total: 58g
Calories, total: 400
Calories from sugar: 232
8 oz (240 ml) Serving
Sugars, total: 26g
Calories, total: 120
Calories from sugar: 104
16 oz Bottle
Sugars, total: 52g
Calories, total: 240
Calories from sugar: 208
Yoplait Yogurt, Strawberry:
6 oz Container
Sugars, total: 27g
Calories, total: 170
Calories from sugar: 108
One "serving" of the King Size Snickers is one third of the bar. Do you have enough restraint to eat one third and save the rest for later?
1 serving (1/3 King Size bar/35g)
Sugars, total: 18g
Calories, total: 170
Calories from sugar: 72
1 King Size bar (105g)
Sugars, total: 54g
Calories, total: 510
Calories from sugar: 216
1 Regular Size bar (59g)
Sugars, total: 30g
Calories, total: 280
Calories from sugar: 120
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups
2 pieces (1 package/42g)
Sugars, total: 20g
Calories, total: 230
Calories from sugar: 80
1 bag (2.6 oz)
Sugars, total: 47g
Calories, total: 250
Calories from sugar: 188
Xylitol - Derived from Birch trees in Finland during WWII to help deal with the sugar shortage, it has become a safe sweetener for diabetics as it does not raise insulin levels. One teaspoon has 9.6 calories with virtually no aftertaste. Xylitol occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, strawberries, plums and corn. The human body also produces xylitol as part of the metabolism of glucose.
Xylitol will prevent or reduce cavities as many types of bacteria cannot metabolize it. Even chewing gum with xylitol 3-5 times per day will help prevent dental problems.
Without needing insulin, Xylitol is metabolized into glycogen which can be stored directly in the cells until needed for energy when
it is converted into glucose. It is a natural insulin stabilizer because of it’s slow absorption.
Some studies have shown that it can increase the absorption of calcium and B vitamins.Xylitol is substituted for sugar in recipes at a 1 to 1
ratio. (this is a sugar alcohol. Like all sugar alcohols, too much consumption can lead to loose bowels or excess gas)
Stevia - The species Stevia Rebaudiana, commonly known as sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply Stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. It does not impact blood sugar levels and regulates blood sugar naturally. Early studies on stevia were done in the early 1950‘s in the United States - when the sugar industry fought to prevent it’s use. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, and some extracts have a bitter or licorice after taste at high concentrations. It has no calories. Standardized stevia can be 250-300 times sweeter than sugar. 1 cup sugar = 12 teaspoons (1/4 cup) powdered stevia or 2 1/2 teaspoons clear liquid stevia.
Dates - are loaded with high dietary fiber and are energy boosters with naturally occurring sugars such as fructose, glucose and sucrose that provide the body with loads of energy. Dates are one of the best natural sources of potassium, an essential mineral needed by the body to maintain muscle
contractions, and smooth functioning of the heart muscles. We do not store potassium in our bodies, a regular consumption of dates keeps potassium levels replenished, and maintains a healthy nervous system and metabolism.
Calcium and magnesium in dates ensure healthy bone development. Important vitamins, like vitamin A and a variety of B-complex
vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, etc) help fight off infection and disease.
Dates contain amino acids that smooth digestion while their nicotinic content helps cure intestinal problems. Date consumption inhibits the growth of pathological organisms, and promotes friendly bacteria in the intestines. They also have a laxative effect on the digestive
system. It has been stated that the positive effect on our digestive system which come from the dates help to prevent certain cancers.
4 dates have 7 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein, 54 mg. magnesium, 64 mg. calcium, 696 mcg. potassium.
Coconut Sugar/Palm Sugar
Since Dr. Oz came out saying that coconut palm sugar was healthy and sustainable, it’s become very popular. It seems like any brand that used to just be “palm sugar” now makes sure their materials say “coconut palm sugar” so no one misses them.
The sweet nectar comes not from the coconut itself but is harvested by hand twice a day directly from the flower.The nectar/syrup is heated a bit more until all the moisture is evaporated offand crystals remain.
Coconut sugar is metabolized more slowly than sugar and can be easier on the system. Coconut sugar is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and is a natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6,C.
Another Benefit: Sustainability
Because a coconut palm tree can produce sap for 20 years, can grow in arid climates and even in sand, and produces “50%-75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane, while using only a fifth of the resources,” palm sugar is very easy on the environment to produce.
Sucanat, Rapadura, Demerara, Turbinado, Organic Blue Agave Nectar, Maple Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Raw Honey
They all contain a higher mineral content than white sugar which helps our body assimilate them.The important difference between these and white sugar is in the processing. No harsh chemicals are used to refine these sweeteners. They are all far less processed and therefore our bodies have a better chance of knowing what to do with them. They are all closer to a natural state and therefore offer a better choice.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT WATER
Hydrates the body - In fact, athletes and those who work out regularly are advised to drink coconut water because it is a far more superior electrolyte drink containing the right amount of minerals than any sports drink. Most sports drinks that promise instant energy are often skewed up when it comes to the balancing of minerals and salts in the drinks, along with large amounts of sugar. With coconut water however, nature’s hand is evident as it contains just the right amount of potassium, sodium, natural sugars and chloride as compared to some of the sports drinks available in the market. Despite very light consistency, its water has a better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than
some fruits, like oranges.
(half of this recipe is plenty!)
4 cups rolled oats
½ cup almond meal
¼ cup flax seed meal
¼ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup unsweetened coconut
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
4 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) or grapeseed oil
Preheat oven to 300.
Mix all ingredients until it is gooey and clumps together. Spread onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for about a half hour or so, taking out every 10 minutes to mix. Let it cool completely before tasting, otherwise it won't taste right or have the right consistency.
Add raisins or other dried fruit if desired.
SUGAR FREE PEAR AND WALNUT MUFFINS
1 ½ cups pitted dates
2 ripe Bosc pears, cored and chopped
1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup natural almond butter
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350.
Put 1 cup of dates in a large bowl. Boil ½ cup water and pour over dates. Let sit for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the flour,
cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
Leaving water in the bowl, chop up dates with knife and fork. Add chopped pears, applesauce, walnuts, almond butter and remaining ½ cup of dates. Combine well.Add flour mixture to bowl and stir until just combined. Grease enough muffin holes on muffin pans and scoop batter evenly between them (about ¾ full will make 16 muffins).
Bake for 25 minutes, or until toothpick in centre of muffin comes out clean.
Each muffin contains approx. 208 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fibre
SOFT PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Makes about 50 little cookies
1 cup butter or coconut oil
3/4 c. sucanat or coconut sugar
8 oz pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips or raisins
1/2 cups chopped almonds or walnuts
Cream butter or coconut oil with sugar. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour and next 6 dry ingredients. Add to batter; mix well. Stir in choc chips and nuts.Drop rounded teaspoonfuls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
The history of artificial sweetener development seems to follow avery similar and disturbing cycle.
- The pattern seems to start with one or more scientists researching a totally unrelated field of chemicals when it is accidentally discovered that the chemicals taste sweet.
- A manufacturing company takes the newly found chemical and does enough of the "right testing" to show that it is safe and convince the authorities such as the FDA that what they say is true. The testing, however, is actually quite often inadequate to actually prove this and
rarely if ever is done over a long term.
- Marketing and Advertising campaigns sing the praises of this new savior for all those who are overweight and those wanted to have sweets
but don't want the evils of sugar.
- Food production companies race to add this amazing new chemical to their products so as to not miss the bandwagon.
- With all the media exposure and slick advertising, the public jumps in and the sales for the new sweetener increase dramatically.
- But after some time the complaints and illnesses begin to show up. Side effects of the chemical that are now being seen in more and more
people create the need for more studies to be done.
- True health risks are discovered and the sweetener falls out of favor with the public and the food manufacturers.
- But before the chemical sweetener even needs to be banned or removed from the food supply another new and better artificial sweetener
magically seems to appear and the cycle begins again..The Next King of the Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame was first discovered in 1965. It is better known to most people as NutraSweet or Equal (the little blue packet). This was the big diet food savior during the last part of the 20th century. But the many complaints and side effects that followed aspartame gave rise to the latest artificial sweetener... Splenda.
Splenda, the brand name for the artificial sweetener sucralose, began to show up in the late 1990's. It showed up just in time to save us from the evils of aspartame and during the start of this century had a meteoric rise to the top of the sweetener wars. These are just the latest of the artificial sweeteners to hit the market. They certainly are not the only ones and with the amount of money people spend on diet products and low cal foods they certainly won't be thelast.
What makes Artificial Sweeteners so Dangerous
The chemical makeup of each sweetener is a little different so they all have their own harmful side effects but overall the big problem that they all share is that artificial sweeteners are all derived from dangerous chemical compounds.
For example, saccharin was discovered accidentally while researching toluene derivatives. Toluene is a liquid produced during the process of making gas from crude oil and it is registered as a hazardous chemical.
Sucralose was discovered while researching new insecticides. During an experiment with sulfuryl chloride, a known poisonous chemical, the research assistant thought the boss said taste it instead of test it and guess what it was sweet. But the problem was the powder that was created contained a lot of chlorine - DDT is very similar in it's number of chlorine atoms.
Another problem with these sweeteners is how they react within our body. Aspartame is metabolized and breaks down into things such as methanol which can cause definite health problems.Overall these sweeteners have not been tested thoroughly. The research that has been done is often flawed or has had the statistics twisted in order to push the products through the FDA. They all come from chemicals and
chemical compounds that are KNOWN to be hazardous.
If that wasn't enough, they are now being mixed together and with other more natural sugars. None of these mixtures has ever been tested for toxicity
We are doing a great big science experiment with the human population as test subjects. And while preliminary results are in with many health complaints, the final result is unknown.
The most misunderstood fact about sucralose is that it is nothing like sugar even though the marketing implies that it is. Sucralose is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide, making it unlike anything found in nature. If you read the fine print on the Splenda web site, it states that "although sucralose has a structure like sugar and a sugar-like taste, it is not natural."
The presence of chlorine is thought to be the most dangerous component of sucralose. Chlorine is considered a carcinogen and has been used in poisonous gas, disinfectants, pesticides, and plastics. Symptoms associated with sucralose are gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash,hives, redness, itching, swelling), wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations,anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes. The only way to be sure of the safety of sucralose is to have long-term studies on humans done.
ASPARTAME (EQUAL AND NUTRISWEET)
Aspartame disease: H.J. Roberts, MD, coined the term "aspartame disease" in a book filled with over 1,000 pages of information about the negative health consequences of ingesting aspartame. Dr. Roberts reports that by 1998, aspartame products were the cause of 80% of complaints to the FDA about food additives. Some of these symptoms include headache,dizziness, change in mood, vomiting or nausea,
abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, and fatigue. Along with these symptoms, links to aspartame are made for fibromyalgiasymptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, tinnitus,joint pain, unexplainable depression, anxietyattacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and various cancers. While the FDA has assured us that the research does not show any adverse health complications from aspartame, there has been some evidence to suggest that some of the following symptoms can be related to aspartame.
SACCHERIN (SWEET’N LOW)
The safety concerns of consuming products with saccharin remain even with the removal of the warning that happened in 2000. According to a report written in 1997 by the Center for the Science in Public Interest (CSPI) in response to the National Toxicology Program (NTP) removing saccharin from the list of potential carcinogens, "It would be highly imprudent for the NTP to delist saccharin. Doing so would give the public a false sense of security,remove any incentive for further testing, and result in greater exposure to this probable carcinogen in tens of millions of people, including children (indeed,fetuses). If saccharin is even a weak carcinogen, this unnecessary additive
would pose an intolerable risk to the public. Thus, we urge the NTP on the basis of currently available data to conclude that saccharin is 'reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen' because there is 'sufficient' evidence of carcinogenicity in animals (multiple sites in rats and mice) and 'limited' or 'sufficient' evidence of carcinogenicity in humans (bladder cancer) and not to delist saccharin, at least until a great deal of further research is conducted." Another possible danger of saccharin is the possibility of allergic reactions. The reaction would be in response to it belonging to a class of compounds known as sulfonamides, which can cause allergic reactions in individuals who cannot
tolerate sulfa drugs. Reactions can include headaches, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhea.