bad sugarThe producers in the food industry only care to sell as many products as possible. In order to do so, they add sugar to almost all their merchandise. One can find sugar in products in which sugar shouldn’t exist, like in ham. They are supposed to be cheap, delicious, and most importantly addictive.

I’m sure that every one of you experienced a situation where after reaching for one candy or cookie, all of a sudden you desire another one. So, you reach for one more, two more, three more… The more you eat, the more you desire. That’s how narcotics work. That’s why it is very important to read the labels and the list of ingredients before purchasing the product. However, don’t be fulled by the different, complicated, or innocent substituting names for sugar. Watch out for products such as: light, without sugar, for diabetics, etc. These items, in fact, don’t contain sugar, therefore the producers aren’t lying, but the contained substitutes are far more dangerous than sucrose.

Luckily, more and more people educate themselves about the harmfulness of sugar and reach out for healthier sugar substitutes. However, we don’t always choose the best ones…

Sugars are impossible to avoid in our diet.

They exist, in natural form, in fruits (fructose), diary (lactose), and other products; giving them a great natural taste.

The body produces glucose by itself, so what do we need sucrose for?

After cutting sugar down to almost 0%, suddenly, we can taste the bitterness and actual flavor of things. It is because our taste buds get used to the sweet taste, after adding sugar to everything for years. From my own experience, I can add that, after cutting out processed sugar to almost 0%, I am unable to drink tea or coffee with sugar, or eat the entire candy bar without feeling nauseous. My body reacts differently to sugar and it simply doesn’t like it or want it.

It would be best to just remove sugar entirely from your diet, but I realize it isn’t so easy or even possible. That’s why I want to show you different sugar substitutes and how to distinguish which ones are good or bad.

Bad, artificial sugar substitutes:

  • Acesulfame K (E950)-it is a derivative of Acetoacetic acid. Even though the FDA approved it in 1988, there is no study proving the safety of this ingredient.
  • Alitame (E956)- it is a chemical compound that is 2000 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose). It is an aspartic acid-containing dipeptide sweetener. Similarly, to Acesulfame K, safety is a concern, so it is better to avoid it.
  • Aspartame (E951)– very popular sugar substitute. Methanol, contained in aspartame, transforms into formaldehyde (after entering the body). As we already know, formaldehyde is cancer-causing. The studies on animals showed emerging brain tumors.
  • Cyclamic Acid (E952)– it is commonly used in diet products. It is 30 times sweeter than sucrose. It is used in combination with other sweeteners. The problem is that the effect of Cyclamic acid mixing with other sweeteners is unknown.
  • Saccharin (E954)– not to be confused with sucrose. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar. This compound was administered to lab animals and caused cancer over time.
  • Sucralose (E955)-called also Splenda. It is derived from sucrose. Studies on rats have shown shrinking of the thymus (endocrine gland) even by 40%. It is a main lymphoid organ, responsible for the proper functioning of the immune system.

Good sugar substitutes:

  • Agave– it is a plant that is used in a form of agave syrup which is a natural substance that is a little bit sweeter than sugar; however, with lower IG index. That’s why it is a great recommendation for diabetics and people with insulin resistance.
  • Alcohol derived sugar: xylitol (E967), lactitol (E966), maltitol (E965), mannitol (E421), sorbitol (E420).These compounds are much less caloric than sucrose and also contain a much smaller IG index which means that after consumption the level of blood sugar doesn’t increase as fast as after sucrose. The manufacturers usually use them in products “without sugar”. However, it is worth knowing that frequent use of these compounds may cause diarrhea, cramps, bloating, and gases.
  • Fructose– it is a natural sugar occurring in all fruits as well as in honey. It has a low IG index, but should be consumed in limited quantities. Excessive consumption of fructose may cause fatty liver disease; therefore, you should always choose fresh vegetables over fruits. It is also important to avoid high fructose corn syrup (used mainly in drinks). It is a substance with very high IG and is harmful to your health.
  • Stevia-it is actually the only recommended plant that gives natural and healthy sweetness similar to sugar. It is used for ages in South America and for a few decades in Japan. It contains steviol glycosides, which provide great sweetness at almost close to 0 IG index and calories. That’s why stevia is recommended for diabetes as well as people who are on a diet and want to keep the same body weight. It comes in the form of leaves, liquid, pills, and powder. You can also buy this plant on the internet.
  • Thaumatin (E957)– is a part of plant protein growing in Africa. It is usually used to sweeten carbonated beverages.

Lastly, something for the soul- an interesting question. Crystal sugar won’t attract the attention of any insect (besides bees but that’s for another reason). Sugar can sit in a container for a year or two and nothing will happen to it; it won’t go bad or get invaded by the insects. However, growing plums or apples are surrounded by bugs, which go for the fructose- natural sugar. If a bug recognizes what is good and what isn’t, then why do we, human, intoxicate ourselves with sugar?


Source: “bad sugar- but what instead?” Slawomir Smietowski in magazine “health without medication” 01/19

 Kasia BrzozaKasia Brzoza

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