Refined sugar is a simple carbohydrate because its been stripped of its nutrients. A sugar plant has nutrients. Sugar cane and molasses are more directly utilized, not extracted, and carry more of the nutrients to metabolize sugar. more about sugar
Sugar drives insulin levels to abnormal heights, causing Type 2 Diabetes or Syndrome X.
Sugar depresses the immune system by slowing the ability of white blood cells to kill infection. Think of a group of kids just after a sugary cereal breakfast; they’re very susceptible to passing around viruses and bacteria.
“Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of about two cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.” (from Feeding Your Immune System)
Our body deals with excess sugar by creating more insulin.
What is the purpose of Insulin? It is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Its main function is to store energy from food. Only a small amount of carbs are stored as glycogen, the rest are converted into triglycerides. Yes, triglycerides!
Why is insulin fluctuation problematic? Cells become resistant when too much insulin is pumped. They turn off their insulin receptors and are not ready to receive energy from food. The cells are trying to protect themselves from the excess, so they send a signal that they’ve had enough.
Sugar depletes B vitamins and harms the nervous system. Adrenaline is made from B vitamins; stress causes adrenaline production. If too much adrenaline enters the system, cortisol is produced. Cortisol harms many processes, including the nervous system.
Sugar harms digestion because it feeds candida which can lead to candida infection.
Sugar creates an acidic body system. (not acidic blood ph, but acidic cells created by consuming certain food types) Acidic cells lead to all types of disease (allergy, cancer, diabetes, endo, candida, arthritis, etc.)
Alternatives to refined sugar?
The food industry has tried to create chemical imitations for sugar to help us avoid calories. Water is the only drink that truly has zero calories. A chemical concoction like diet soda dehydrates the body because it takes water away to dissolve and try to break down those chemicals. All of the chemical sweetners have side effects.
Aspartame, or Nutra Sweet (brand name), is found in so many drinks, yogurts, gums, usually in food items traditionally sweetened with sugar, which people have decided they want to avoid, either to avoid calorie intake or tooth decay.
When the FDA approved aspartame, it was never intended to become so widely used, and the threshold for consumption by which they figured it would be “safe” for humans is usually surpassed by anyone taking more than one serving per day.
It was tested only in its powder form and then it was stated that it does not produce cancer in the animals, but does produce brain lesions.
In its liquid form it turns into poisonous wood alcohol (methanol). Methanol is stored in the liver and accumulates.
Discovered by accident through biological warfare research and has become entrenched in our food supply.
Aspartame is linked to the rise in the rate of childhood seizures. (adapted from Chemical Crazy and Insulin Resistant by Sherrie Attila)
Sucanat is non-refined cane sugar which retains its molasses content. The pure dried cane juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated and cooled at which point the small brown grainy crystals are formed. (from WikiPedia)
Xylitol is extracted from fruit, usually strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. It is safe and good for preventing tooth decay. Many chewing gums and natural toothpastes are made with xylitol.
Both sucanat and xylitol are able to be measured and used in a way similar to white sugar in cooking and baking.
Agave Nectar is a cactus plant similar to aloe vera. It doesn’t effect blood sugar levels.
Stevia is a sweet herb, not a sugary substance. It can be in liquid or powder and is measured in drops and has no effect on blood sugar.
Honey sugars are surrounded by nutrients to metabolize the sugar. In recipies, increase flour or decrease liquid, add a bit of baking soda and powder.
Maple Syrup sugars are surrounded by nutrients to metabolize the sugar
Molasses is sugar which is not refined or whitened. It contains a good compliment of B vitamins. The strong flavor makes it inappropriate for some recipes. Available in granule form.
Ground dates add sweetness and fiber.
Applesauce adds moisture and sweetness.
Ground grapes add moisture and sweetness.
Sugar may be entrenched in our diets, but nutritious additions and alternatives can be found. Some families may wish to delete sugar completely. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Any change you can make to control sugar intake will be an improvement, and step by step, we can all build healthier habits.
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