Sugar – Bittersweet Symphony
Since 18th century the sugar consumption per average person increased more than 40 times and going up.
Sugar takes a devastating toll on your health. Excessive sugar consumption may be the largest factor underlying obesity and modern diseases. Any sugar that the body doesn’t need is converted to fat.
The research shows that refined sugar is far more addictive than cocaine. From a health perspective, drinking any soft drink poses a serious health risk. Just one can of soda, for example, contains up to 40 grams of sugar.
Processed food is loaded with sugar. Fructose derived from corn (corn syrup) has become very cheap and now widely used in the majority of processed foods.
Grain-based foods such as bread, pancakes, cereals made from refined flours are also quickly turned into sugar in our bodies.
Dr Robert Lustig in his book Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar says that it doesn’t matter whether the sugars come from fruit juice, smoothies or fizzy drinks; the fructose is dangerous for our health, irrespective of the source.
The burden of metabolizing fructose falls on liver, where excess fructose is quickly converted into fat, which explains the weight gain and obesity. Fructose is the primary cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver, contributes to raising the blood pressure and leads to the chronic inflammation that is at the core of most chronic diseases. To make things worse, fructose can promote cancer proliferation and growth.
Fruits contain fructose, although it is important to note that fruits also contain vitamins and other antioxidants that reduce the dangerous effects of fructose. Fruit juice in particular is loaded with fructose, whilst a lot of the antioxidants and fibre are lost by juicing fruits. Dr Mercola suggests limiting the daily fructose to less than 25 grams especially if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol. An apple or pear for example each contain around 10 grams of fructose.
Aspartame, often advertised as safe high-quality alternative to sugar, is extremely dangerous. There are hundreds of studies demonstrating its harmful effects including causing leukemia, lymphoma, and other tumors in lab animals.
Healthy Sugar Alternatives
- Honey in its pure, raw form has myriad of health benefits. Please note that bees may be fed on sugar and make sure you buy the high quality pure honey from a trusted supplier. Manuka Honey from New Zeeland is pricey but well-known for its quality.
- Stevia is a sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe in its natural form. When buying stevia, look for organic stevia extract that is 100% pure without ANY added ingredients (Organic Stevia and Zenulife have versions). Alternatively you can grow stevia plant in our garden.
Tips to Avoid the Sugar Addiction Trap
1. Avoid all artificial sweeteners
All artificial sweeteners have detrimental health effects and should be avoided: aspartame (Canderel and others), saccharin and sucralose (chlorinated artificial sweetener). Agave syrup is typically highly processed so it is also best to avoid it.
2. Read ingredients list and avoid HFCS.
Read ingredients list and avoid food that contains ‘corn syrup’, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) or any variation
3. Avoid “no-“, “low-fat”, “low-sugar” processed food.
Avoid processed foods labeled as “no-“ or “low-fat” (usually means it’s loaded with fructose or sugar), or “no-“ or “low sugar” diet foods (which usually contain artificial sweeteners).
4. No soda drinks, they are all with no exceptions loaded with sugar or dangerous artificial sweeteners.
Filtered, pure water is our best bet.