Table sugar and sugar substitutes have recently become the center of attention due to new insight into carbohydrates and insulin. At the same time, consumers are starting to ask many questions addressing real concerns about their health and safety. New studies are popping up everyday by way of books, magazine articles, TV shows, videos, internet, etc. These tend to force our attention on sugar and artificial sweeteners and I personally get many questions regarding their safety. My primary reason for writing this article is to urge caution about some of the many sugar substitutes as well as about sugar itself.
Let’s explore the popular brands that we might find at restaurants and on our food tables. They come in packages of white, pink, blue, and yellow and now the new green; some restaurants have all the colors on the table except the green.
White sugar is poison because it has been bleached, highly processed, deprived of its nutrients and is readily available for quick digestion and quick impact on the insulin release process which is responsible for dealing with the sudden surge of sugar in our system. Insulin is responsible for converting all sugars into glucose so that our brain and body can use it for energy. Any disturbance in this process will be harmful to our metabolism, energy, and general health. The reason for the current increase in diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, etc. has a lot to do with sudden surges of sugar in our system, exhausting our insulin and causing harm to our metabolic system. In short, that?s why when we eat a big bowl of cookies and ice cream we get a lot of energy followed by sleepiness.
The primitive sugars our grandmothers used to use like honey, syrup, and molasses are all natural and complex sugars as opposed to white sugar which is a simple sugar. The complex sugars do not do as much harm because they do not cause such a surge as when white, refined sugar is dumped into our bodies and calls on too much insulin right away. Instead a complex sugar needs some breaking down which gives our system time before it calls for insulin. Grandma loves to make maple syrup cookies; it is high in zinc and manganese, two important minerals. All forms of sugar also contain calories. Simple, white sugar contains 40 calories per tablespoon. Molasses has 47 calories but it also is a great source of iron, calcium and copper. Honey has the most calories, 64 per tablespoon. Although complex sugars are much better than simple sugars they are still used too much and too often. In the world of dieting and detoxing, even these complex sugars should be avoided.
Why do people turn to popular sweeteners?
Because they want to avoid the potential adverse effects of table or white sugar, i.e. to escape the sudden surge of sugar and insulin response that?s responsible for too rapid digestion followed by prompt weakness and increased craving for more food. Furthermore, we know that white sugar and carbs are converted to fat and all this leads to a vicious cycle of fat accumulation and more weight gain. Therefore, we people who like to be thin have turned to artificial sweeteners and should not be blamed for resorting to them in the search for a better sweet.
In order to maintain good health, the Martha?s Vineyard Diet Detox Plan, though not a diet per se, encourages and even recommends the use of a sweetener. But now another question emerges: after all the studies and research, which substitute packet is best: pink, yellow, blue or green? What is dangerous or wrong with other sweeteners? Some of the generic names of those packets that circulate on the market are: aspartame, acesulfame, neutame, sucralose, and alitame.
Are there problems with some leading artificial sweeteners substitutes? Yes.
The one safest sweetener: Stevia.
Why is Stevia the number one as a substitute sugar? We know it is the best because it is a natural, not chemical, product. It is not a new brand on the market but an herb used for more than 400 years in South America by indigenous tribes. It has never produced ill effects. According to lab studies, it?s 30 times sweeter than regular sugar. A recent study by the Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology reveals that Stevia dilates the blood vessels and helps to prevent high blood pressure. It improves urine output, regulates digestive systems, encourages the friendly bacteria in the digestive system and by doing so, Stevia shows itself as a good Detoxing agent, assisting and purifying our system. Stevia does not trigger insulin release like sugars and does not raise blood sugar levels to produce the surge which causes rapid onset cravings. It has no bitter after-taste. This pure natural sweetener has been around since 1918. The large corporate giants have not let this South American sweetener invade their territory, but it?s not a matter of territory, it?s a matter of health. Knowledge is power. Power creates health; in other words it is a matter of life!
Let?s go stevia, let?s go green, the little green packets. Why green? Because green is the color of nature, the color of plants, herbs and the environment. The color of health.
Copyright © 2012 The Martha's Vineyard Holistic Retreat