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Sugar and Other Sweeteners
Sugar and its harmful effects on your
It's a proven fact that
refined sugar, in its many forms, increases insulin levels which can
lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes,
weight gain, premature aging, and other health problems.
The American Diabetes Association
(ADA) and its position on sugar
The ADA says it's okay for people with
diabetes to eat sugar. DON'T BELIEVE THEM!
Their recipe books include recipes that call
for white sugar and white flour. DON'T BUY THEM! These are the two main
foods that most other experts in nutrition say to avoid.
Dr. Gott wrote a book called "No Flour, No
Sugar Diet" that I recommend. Many others write about the harmful
effects of sugar on anyone's health, and certainly it's worse for people
with diabetes. I also recommend the Sugar Busters series of books.
It's said by many that the ADA is partially
funded by sugar corporations and others whose goal is to make profits,
not to help people be healthier. So, of course, they are not going to
tell us not to eat these foods because part of their funding would be
cut off. As one popular author says, "It's all about the money."
Refined white sugar
Here are a few excerpts
from this site.
Sugar is without question one of the most
dangerous substances on the food market today. What we are talking about
here is sucrose, the white crystalline sugar refined from cane or beet
juice by stripping away all its vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber,
water, and other synergists.
White sugar . . . is not fit for human consumption.
● Sugar suppresses the immune system by
causing the pancreas to secrete abnormally large quantities of insulin,
which is required to break it down.
● Insulin remains in circulation in the
bloodstream long after sugar has been metabolized, and one of its main
side effects is to suppress the release of growth hormone in the
● Sugar is the chief culprit in many
diseases and degenerative conditions.
● It can easily cause diabetes and is a
major factor in candidiasis, both of which are epidemic in the
industrialized Western world.
● Sugar also depletes the body of potassium
and magnesium, which are required for proper cardiac function, and is
therefore a major factor in heart disease.
● The nutritional leaching caused by sugar
can give rise to intense food cravings and eating binges, as the body
seeks to replenish the nutrients “stolen” from it by sugar.
Other sugars such as fructose (in fruit
and honey), lactose (in milk), and maltose (in grains) are natural
substances with nutritional value.
If you or your children have a sweet
tooth, you can easily satisfy it by concocting treats with pure raw
honey, pure maple syrup, unsulfured blackstrap molasses, and barley malt, which are not only sweet but also
nutritious and therapeutically beneficial.
Ways That Sugar Affects Your Health
This Web site details the harmful effects of sugar on the human body.
Refined Sugar—The Sweetest Poison of All
Why sugar is toxic to the body.
The Perils of Sugar
From the Atkins Web site.
Web site about sugar addiction with a link to her KickSugar support group
Sugar Lovers Beware! Covers sugar, sugar substitutes,
and natural sweeteners.
Sugar's Role in the Aging Process
to learn how sugar ages the human body.
“One of sugar's major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level,
which inhibits the release of growth hormones, which in turn depresses
the immune system. This is not something you want to take place if you
want to avoid disease.”
General information about sugar and
various other sweeteners.
the form of corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
Considerable recent research
shows that fructose—the
type which is not made from fruit but
rather from corn—is the most dangerous of all sugars.
Keep in mind that this is not talking about the
naturally-occurring fructose in fruit, which we should be consuming by eating 3 to 4 servings
of fruit daily.
See this report by Connie
Bennett. An excerpt: “Yet another study—the latest of several—suggests that corn-based
fructose could be associated with increased fat. What's more, the findings indicate that drinking too many soft drinks could be one reason why Americans are gaining weight .
. . Consider yourself warned: For the sake of your health, it's
wise to stop consuming foods and drinks laden with
Recent studies have shown what informed
nutritionists have known for years—that high-fructose corn syrup
promotes diabetes and obesity.
Article “Sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and type II diabetes.” Sugar and refined carbohydrates are
undeniably linked to diabetes. Researchers around the world have come to
the conclusion that the consumption of refined sugar is detrimental to
the health of people without diabetes and disastrous for those with it.
Furthermore, excess sugar in the blood can cause the onset of type 2
An article about how high fructose corn
syrup is produced and its effects on the human body:
The Murky World of High Fructose Corn Syrup.
A short article on
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Obesity
by Dr. Gabe Murkin, M. D.
Corn—it's everywhere! Read about corn,
the corn industry, the corn lobby, and the effects of excessive corn
An AARP Bulletin article,
“What's Worse Than Sugar?”
Excerpt: “The perils of sugar have been understood for years,
but now there's evidence of a new and even more dangerous consequence of
our craving for sweets. Dietary experts and scientists are singling out
one in particular—high-fructose corn syrup—as a reason for the startling
rise in obesity in America and a related increase in diabetes cases.”
fructose corn syrup is not the same thing at all as the natural, healthy
fructose in honey and fruit. It's a highly refined, artificial product
created through an intricate process that transforms cornstarch into a
thick, clear liquid. White sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not
the same—nutritional science studies say there is a big difference
between the two (even though corn growers, of course, say they
are the same).
is No Answer For a Sweetener” by Nancy Appleton, PhD. She
explains how and why it's used and lists 16 ways that it's harmful to
Six Reasons Why Corn is Making You Fat
In the form of high-fructose corn syrup, and other forms as well, corn
is creeping its way into Americans’ diets in increasing amounts and
adding inches to our waistlines. Find out why corn, which has become a
dietary staple to Americans, is likely contributing to the obesity
epidemic we are now facing.
A Killer on the Cob—Article
about high fructose corn syrup
Strong Evidence Links Soft
Drink Consumption To Obesity, Diabetes
The case against swigging soda just got stronger. A
large systematic review reveals clear associations between consumption
of nondiet soft drinks and increased calorie intake and body weight.
High fructose corn syrup
is often cited by some nutritionists as one of the
leading causes of obesity and is linked to diabetes. The
average American consumed 62.6 pounds of high fructose
corn syrup in 2001, most of which came from soft drinks.
Since HFCS is used as a substitute for other sugars
(particularly sucrose) in processed foods, it is not
clear whether it is the chemical differences between
sugars or a general increase in consumption of sugars of
all types that might be linked with obesity. Some
nutritionists and natural food advocates believe that
consumption of high fructose corn syrup should be
avoided due to its possible links with obesity and
diabetes. Also cited as reasons to avoid HFCS are that
it is highly refined, that it might be produced from
genetically modified corn, that various molds found on
corn might leave harmful byproducts in the final
product, or that corn products in general should be
avoided. Other nutritionists say that HFCS is no more or
less harmful than other forms of sugar and that all
sugars should be consumed sparingly. It may be the case
that confusion has arisen between the effects of
consuming pure fructose as compared to pure glucose,
versus the effects of consuming mixtures of the two
sugars from different sources.
Sugar substitutes—artificial and natural
Controversies About Foods for more information and for links to other sites about
the pros and cons of these sweeteners and their safety.
● Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal)
● Acesulfame K (Sunette, Sweet One, Sweet 'n
Saccharin (Sweet N' Low, Sprinkle Sweet,
Sugar Twin, Sweet Ten)
Stevia (a natural herbal sugar
Sucralose (Splenda) partly natural, partly
Whey Low (claims to be a natural sweetener, consists of sucrose,
fructose, and lactose) and comes in a few
(from corn) is
used as an additive to sweeten all sorts of packaged foods and is about
20 times sweeter than table sugar. This is different from the healthy fructose
in its natural state in fresh fruits.
Artificial sweeteners, also called sugar
substitutes, are compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar without the
calories. Because the substitutes are many times sweeter than sugar, it
takes a smaller amount of them to create the same sweetness as sugar.
For this reason, products made with artificial sweeteners have a much
lower calorie count than do those made with sugar. Also, they don't
affect blood sugar levels. Artificial sweeteners are considered "free
foods" in most diets. They don't count as a carbohydrate, a fat, or any other
Keep in mind that if you have diabetes, some foods containing
artificial sweeteners, such as sugar-free yogurt, can still affect your
blood sugar because of other carbohydrates or proteins in these foods.
In addition, some sugar-free, low-calorie candies may contain sugar
alcohols, such as sorbitol or mannitol. These are called reduced-calorie
sweeteners because they're made with natural foodstuffs and aren't
considered artificial. Like artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols have
little effect on blood sugar.
These are not technically
considered artificial sweeteners. Sugar alcohols occur naturally in foods and
come from plants as fruits
and vegetables, but are commercially produced from other carbohydrates
such as sucrose, glucose, and starch.
Some of the sugar alcohols
are Isomalt, Lactitol,
Malitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol,
Erythritol, and Xylitol, often found in
sugar-free bars, chewing gum, breath mints, etc. If eaten in excess,
most of these (all except erythritol) can cause digestive upsets in the form of
bloating, gas, and diarrhea, so use in moderation.
One popular diet says to limit
foods that contain these to
75 calories per day. However, everyone has their own tolerance level, so
it's best to experiment until you find out how much you can tolerate, then don't
exceed that amount. Erythritol is said to be the only sugar alcohol that
does not cause these digestive symptoms.
http://sheknows.com/about/look/4688.htm for an article by Jan
Hanson about sugar alcohols.
her points is that using these "trick" sugars can keep sugar cravings
alive. It's your decision whether the benefits of these sweet
substitutes are worth their drawbacks.
Mercola: “Xylitol is a high-grade (and high-cost)
sweetener that comes from trees. It has a very low glycemic index, and it doesn't spike blood sugar levels. Xylitol is a beneficial sweetener. It's antibacterial and actually helps
prevent dental cavities. This effect has been shown in several different
studies. In fact, I've recommended a brand of chewing gum, made with
xylitol, that actually prevents cavities (Spry gum). Xylitol is even
used in products such as nasal wash to prevent nasal or throat
infections, and it is very effective in that application. As a
sweetener, xylitol tastes delicious.”
Continuing from Dr. Mercola, regarding the digestive
upsets of sugar alcohols, “only the low-grade
xylitol produces these effects. Low grade xylitol is typically
contaminated with other sugar alcohols, most notably sorbitol. Sorbitol
is the culprit of this gastrointestinal distress.”
Has the highest
digestive tolerance of all the sugar alcohols (also called polyols).
Erythritol does not cause undesired gastrointestinal effects under its
intended conditions of use.
“Erythritol is a
relatively new addition to the list of sugar alcohols used in foods and
other consumer products . . . Erythritol is present in such fruits as
pears, melons, mushrooms, and grapes, as well as such fermented foods as
wine, soy sauce, and cheese.”
Natural sugar substitutes
Stevia—a safe and healthy natural
Stevia is is a herb approved by the FDA only as a food supplement, not
a sweetener, but it is widely used for sweetening.
Update December 19, 2008, from
News: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has
issued letters of nonobjection for the use of a natural,
zero-calorie sweetener (Stevia) it once sought to wipe out
from the U.S. marketplace.
NaturalNews.com: Extracts from the leaf of the Stevia
plant have been found to be high in antioxidants that
prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer, according to a
new Indian study published in the Journal of Agricultural
and Food Chemistry. "These results indicate that Stevia
rebaudiana may be useful as a potential source of natural
antioxidants," said lead author Srijani Ghanta, of the
Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in Kolkata.
Article titled “Stevia natural sweetener competes with
A quote from this article: “Don't forget,
obesity in America has increased by 30 percent in the past decade, the
same period in which aspartame has been introduced. It now accounts for
70 percent of our artificial sweetener use and a quarter of total
sweetener use.” (Note: There are also other things to blame for obesity,
one of them being as high fructose corn syrup.)
What Stevia is, it's uses, and why it was
banned in a few countries and by the FDA, and how an aspartame
manufacturer was involved in this ban. In 1995, the FDA revised its
stance to permit stevia to be used as a dietary supplement, although not
as a food additive. Currently, it is legal to import, grow, sell, and
consume stevia products in the US if it is contained within or labeled
for use as a dietary supplement.
An article, "Stevia:
Not Ready For Prime Time" with links to other sites with stevia
Article, "Stevia Leaf —
Too Good to be Legal?" by Rob McCaleb, president of the Herb Research
Dr. Mercola says: “Stevia, of course, is
an all-natural herbal sweetener that has virtually no calories and no glycemic effect, so it doesn't spike blood sugar levels. It's my top
choice for natural sweeteners, and it's one that I use every day.”
Stevia, Toxic or Tasty? Article by Jen L. Jones,
"The Real Issue in the Stevia Battles."
Many people prefer natural sweeteners
over refined sugars and sugar substitutes. Natural sugars
such as fructose (in fruit and honey), lactose (in milk),
and maltose (in grains) have nutritional value. Natural
sweeteners are considered to produce less of a shock to the
body's blood sugar level. These unrefined or less refined
sweeteners are vastly superior to refined sugars (such as
white sugar, brown sugar, confectioners sugar, corn syrup,
processed corn fructose, turbinado sugar, etc.) because they
contain nutrients, including necessary minerals, that help
with sugar metabolism.
Healthier sweet treats can be made with whole food sugars.
Natural sweeteners are usually organic and no chemicals are used
in any extraction processes.
A word of caution: If you have diabetes
or hypoglycemia, you need to monitor your body's response to
these and other natural sweeteners. Some can tolerate them
in small amounts,
some cannot. In any case, even in healthy people, they should be used in moderation
(as with any food).
Raw, unprocessed honey is actually sweeter than sugar, contains small amounts of B
vitamins, enzymes, and other ingredients. It's believed by many to have medicinal properties
and has long been rumored to have
Raw honey is antiseptic,
antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial—and it never spoils!
heated) honey is not recommended by most nutritionists and natural foods
Honey is a mixture of acid secretions from the glands of honeybees and
nectar from flowers. Although honey is a natural sweetener, it is
considered a refined sugar as the sucrose is broken down into glucose
and fructose while in the bee's stomach. It is sweeter and higher in
calories than refined white sugar. Honey contains some B vitamins,
minerals, and enzymes. However, the enzymes are generally destroyed by
high heat causing the honey to lose nutritional properties when used in
baking. (This is the main reason why only raw honey is recommended.)
For more information about
honey, click here:
The World's Healthiest Foods Web page about honey
Pure maple syrup
Pure maple syrup was once a staple of the
American kitchen until convenience caused us to replace this wholesome
sweetener with refined sugars void of any nutrition. Nutrients are
absorbed best in the form of foods because they are diluted and
dispersed among other ingredients that may better facilitate their
absorption. This makes the vitamins and minerals more easily assimilated
in the body. Pure maple syrup is composed of balanced sugars, minerals,
vitamins, and amino acids which makes it unique from other sweeteners.
For the full story, click here:
“Maple Syrup is made from the sap
of sugar maple trees. Thirtyfive to 50 gallons of sap are boiled to
produce one gallon of maple syrup. Grade A maple syrup has a lighter
color and flavor than Grade B, which is darker with a stronger flavor.
It is 65 percent (natural) sucrose. It is an excellent sweetener in apple and
pumpkin pie. Maple syrup also works well in carrot and spice cakes,
muffins, and quick breads.”
“Sweet molasses or light molasses is the
liquid left after the first extraction of sugar crystals. Blackstrap
molasses is the liquid left after the last extraction of sugar crystals,
and has a stronger, bittersweet flavor and is richer in potassium,
calcium, iron, and B vitamins than sweet molasses. Both sweet molasses
and blackstrap molasses are 70 percent sucrose. Sweet molasses is an
excellent substitute for brown sugar. It adds a very nice flavor to
baked beans, breads, muffins, gingerbread, and cookies.” Use only organic, unsulphured, blackstrap molasses.
unsulphured blackstrap molasses is an excellent source of
iron, calcium, copper and manganese, as well as potassium,
and magnesium. Unsulphured means that it does it not contain
sulpher which is used as a processing chemical.”
molasses is a sweetener that is actually good for you.
Unlike refined white sugar and corn syrup, which are
stripped of virtually all nutrients except simple
carbohydrates, or artificial sweeteners like saccharine or
aspartame, which not only provide no useful nutrients but
have been shown to cause health problems in sensitive
individuals, blackstrap molasses is a healthful sweetener
that contains significant amounts of a variety of minerals
that promote your health.”
“Agave syrup (nectar) is an awesome
food product. You will love this sweetener, guaranteed . . .
comes from a cactus plant in the desert. I believe that it
tastes better than honey and can used on pancakes, cookies,
and to sweeten baked goods.”
Other natural sweeteners:
Barley Malt Syrup
Brown Rice Syrup
Dates and Date Sugar
Evaporated Cane Juice
following Web pages for more
information and descriptions of these and other natural sweeteners.
natural, healthy sweeteners can contribute to weight gain.
Use in moderation.
Main Diet Page
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June 23, 2005