Okay, here it is… the final post on why sugar ruins your health. So far, we’ve explained why exactly sugar is bad for you, how it acts in your body, and why you should avoid it. Today, we’re going to give you some alternative sweetener options that you can use, guilt-free. These sweetener alternatives are still that–sweet–and should be used in moderation, but that are much better and easier for the body to digest than refined white sugar. We’re going to lean on Janet Jacks’ brilliant wisdom in Discover the Power of Food to help explain this all to you. “
Sucanat: Sucanat stands for Sugar Cane Natural, and is literally just dried whole sugar cane juice. No chemicals added, and nothing stripped away. The nutrients of the original plant are still present: only the fibre is removed. It is brown in colour, slightly grainy, and is not as sweet: it has more of a mellow, complex and pleasing sweetness. You can use it cup for cup any way you would sugar, it will “cookie” and “cake”, and as you work towards less sweetness, you likely will be able to reduce the amount you use even more.
Coconut Sugar: Produced from the sap of flower buds of the coconut palm. This sap is dehydrated to produce medium brown crystals that are similar in texture to sucanat. Coconut sugar is gaining popularity because it is unrefined, though still it should be used sparingly. It’s less sweet than sugar and has a similar nutritional profile as sucanat. You can use it any way you would use these other unrefined sugars.
Raw Honey: When raw, honey contains enzymes not present in refined honey. It is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, with certain types capable of tackling H-pylori and other disorders of the digestive tract. External application can heal wounds and burns. It also can be soothing to a cough or throat infection. Honey may not be as nutritious as broccoli or chicken soup, but it is a whole, unrefined sweetener with many beneficial properties.
Maple Syrup: Boiled down from the sap of the maple tree, here is another sweetener with a long history of use. Initial studies at the University of Rhode Island and those by Dr. Desjardin of Lavalle University in Quebec also suggest that maple compounds may inhibit enzymes relevant in type 2 diabetes management. Time will tell. Meanwhile, maple syrup is a natural, unrefined sweetener that still contains all the goodness nature intended.
Stevia: Stevia rebaudiana is a plant that you could grow in your garden. Concentrated from the stevia leaf, stevia extract or powder is an extremely rich sugar substitute which can be used to provide a sweet taste without any calories. It is a natural sweetener that is not made from chemicals and that does not raise blood sugar. You can use stevia to sweeten beverages, smoothies, and desserts.
The Final Word on SweetenersWhen it comes to sweeteners, sucanat, honey, and maple syrup provide enough natural nutrients to look after their own metabolism (and perhaps do a lot more, too). They are not ‘nutrient thieves’. However, they are still sweeteners providing very concentrated carbohydrates. They can still elevate blood sugar, so must be used in small quantities. The best approach? Put your focus more on savoury foods, rather than on sweets. Let treats be just that: an occasional indulgence. And be sure to stay away from artificial sweeteners of all kinds.”
There you have it: why to avoid sugar, what it does to the body, and healthier alternatives to this toxic white substance. And to top it all off, we’re going to give you the remaining 26 reasons why you should avoid sugar, for 146 total. Check out our other blogs on this topic for a quick reminder, and good luck kicking the sugar habit!
121. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins.
122. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.
123. Sugar can cause changes frequently found in persons with gastric or duodenal ulcers.
124. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.
125. Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E in the blood.
126. Sugar can increase the systolic blood pressure.
127. High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products.
128. Sugar can promote an elevation of low density lipoproteins (LDL).
129. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.
130. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant.
131. Sugar increases estradiol (the most potent form of naturally occurring estrogen) in men.
132. Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.
133. I.V.s (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to the brain.
134. High sucrose intake could be an important risk factor in lung cancer.
135. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behaviour.
136. Sugar increases the estradiol in young men.
137. Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of schizophrenia.
138. Sugar can raise homo-cysteine levels in the blood stream.
139. Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small intestine.
140. Sugar can cause laryngeal cancer.
141. Sugar may contribute to mild memory loss.
142. Exposing a newborn to sugar results in a heightened preference for sucrose relative to water at 6 months and 2 years of age.
143. Sugar can increase the risk of stomach cancer.
144. Sugar ingestion by pregnant women increases neural tube defects in embryos. 145. Sugar can cause cancer of the rectum.
146. Sugar can cause renal (kidney) cell carcinoma.