SUGAR: The Sweet-Tooth Report

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Part 1:  S U G A R   F A C T S    


Viruses love sugar, yeasts love sugar,

parasites love sugar, diabetes loves sugar,

cancer loves sugar & fat cells love sugar

Sugar stimulates the brain centers that evoke pleasure responses. It appears that during our evolutionary past, a craving for fructose was just what was needed to survive. Our human predecessors evolved to store fat when eating fructose – an extremely useful thing in the past during months of cold and shortages of food – but not so good in modern times. We've kept this genetic evolution, causing fructose to be create fat cells easily..

The American Cancer Society has voiced against too much refined sugar, but this was based solely on the fact that it contains no nutrients, just empty calories. It's much more dangerous than this.

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig of the University of California, San Francisco, has been quoted as saying: "It has nothing to do with its calories. Sugar is a poison by itself when consumed at high doses." 

Lustig also addresses the fact that we eat too much and exercise too little. Too much sugar gives us a rush and spike. After the initial rush, we beach ourselves on a couch and watch TV, the sugar sapping our strength and energy.


DIABETES STATISTICS

In 1973 2% of the population in the USA were diagnosed with diabetes - 4.2 million AmericansIn 2010 7% of the population in the USA were diagnosed with diabetes - 21.1 million Americans
Most of the cases in this statistical spike are Type-2 diabetes, also known as "adult onset diabetes".


SUGAR FACTS

Billion Dollar Budgets:
Americans spent $32 billion on candies / sweets in 2011.

What We Eat:
Americans eat an average of 22.7 teaspoons of refined sugar a day 

What's Sucrose:
Also known as regular table sugar – this typically consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose

What's Fructose:
Fructose is found naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables. Also refined for use as a sweetener.

What's High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS):
HFCS is cheaply made from government subsided corn (it is a heavily sprayed and usually is a GMO crop). It was first added to foods in the 1970's. It's typically 55% fructose, 45% glucose.


FOOD HALL OF SHAME

High Fructose Corn Syrup is on Dr. Oz's Food Hall of Shame. Dr. Oz says the body processes the sugar in high-fructose corn syrup differently than it does old-fashioned cane or beet sugar, which in turn causes HFCS to alter our body's natural ability to regulate appetite. "It blocks the ability of a chemical called leptin, which is the way your fat tells your brain it's there," says Dr. Oz


Excessive amounts of refined sugar 

is the mortal enemy of ripped abs, and 

it makes our pancreas very unhappy


DISEASE LOVES LOTS OF SUGAR

It’s important to remember what we’re actually feeding with our excessive sugar consumption. Viruses love sugar, yeasts (like Candida) love sugar, parasites love sugar, cancer loves sugar, fat cells love sugar. All these things take away our life force and energy, just the opposite of the implied promise of sugar.


FROM SIMPLE BEGINNINGS

Cane sugar, in its original form, is the juice from the sugar cane plant. In a naturally processed state, such as evaporated cane juice, it's simple enough and contains most of the original nutrients, and not bad when consumed moderately. However, the white sugar on our tables and in our foods is stripped of the fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural enzymes that are helpful to our bodies. This refined sugar has no nutritional value and is usually found in foods that contain excessive fats, useless calories and a ton of cholesterol.

This super-refined white sugar makes us fat. When our our body maxes out on the amount of sugar that it can store as an "energy source", the rest is pumped back into our bloodstream and dumped around our body as fat… so guys, look for it on your belly and girls on your thighs and upper arms. Type 2 diabetes is partly caused by too much sugar. All this stresses your body and stress causes aging.

Beware – when fructose, a natural sugar found in fruits – is refined, processed and added to foods or beverages, it has the same effects as refined sugar. Even worse, "high fructose" sweeteners such as HFCS don't register as calories and de-activate our natural "I've had enough" shut-off mechanisims. Drink a bottle of soda made with highly refined sugar and at least you'll know when you have had enough. High fructose sweeteneers allow us to drink two or three liters without being able to stop.

The sugar in sodas has such an enormous impact our bodies that the Acupuncturists at Remedy NYC have said: " If you replace your daily 20 oz. bottle of soda with a vitamin based 5 calorie drink such as Rockit Fuel – combined with a healthy diet... You would easily lose up to 35 pounds in one year."


METABOLIC SYNDROME

Glucose is metabolized by cells throughout our bodies, fructose, on the other hand, is metabolized by the liver. An overload in the liver causes fructose to be broken down into fats called triglycerides. Some of these fats stay in the liver – which over long exposure can cause the liver to become fatty and dysfunctional. The triglycerides that are pushed into our bloodstream can cause blood pressure to go up. The pancreas responds by puring out more and more insulin to try and keep things in check... and eventually a condition known as metabolic syndrome begins.

Metabolic syndrome is usually characterized by obesity, mostly around the waist and thighs, high blood pressure and the beginnings of Type-2 diabetes. Toss in increased opportunity for heart attack along with all that and you're edging your body toward serious illness.


Large sugar spikes = Diabetes, Obesity and Aging


THE LIFE OF SODA

A 24-ounce soda usually contains about 75 grams of sugar. That’s enough sugar to make your insulin levels bark like a Doberman on crack. Harvard says a single can of soda a day will add 15 pounds of body weight a year. According to "Healthbolt" this is what happens to your body after drinking a soda:

The First 10 minutes:
10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down. Nice visual huh.

20 minutes:
Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment)

40 minutes:
Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate, your blood pressure rises and as a response your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked – preventing drowsiness.

45 minutes:
Your body increases your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

60 minutes:
The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

60 Minutes:
The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes and water.

As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the soda, along with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like hydrating your system or building strong bones and teeth.

Beyond 60 minutes:
This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two hours – if you’re a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it’ll make you feel better and you'll avoid the crash.


Part 2:  A R T I F I C I A L   S W E E T E N E R S    

Artificial sweeteners are highly acid forming.

When the human body (that's us) reaches extreme acidity,

it reacts by leaching alkaline reserves from storage, and

depleting them – leaving us open to a host of diseases 


NINETY-TWO REASONS 

Are you looking to get away from the dark side of sugar and think that Equal and NutraSweet are the solutions? You're not alone. What you'll want to know before you tear open those well advertised packets is that they both contain aspartame, which has ninety-two (that’s 92!) negative side effects listed by the FDA.

When aspartame is ingested, methyl alcohol – one of the primary ingredients of aspartame – is converted into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a dangerous neurotoxin.

A few side effects from aspartame

  • Memory loss
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Joint pain
  • Migraines
  • Brain lesions
  • Bloating
  • Alzheimer’s disease


TOO BIG TO BE CALLED TOXIC?

Aspartame is a $1 Billion industry, maybe it's just "too big to be called toxic". In spite of recognizing 92 side effects – did I mention these other side effects: hair loss, blindness and weight gain? Yes, weight gain. The FDA approved aspartame (without restriction) in 1996. Who's got your back?


COAL TAR DELIGHT

So you thought you’d switch to Sweet and Low instead? Your "prize" with this sweetener is the coal-tar compound saccharin. When did coal tar enter the food chain and who put it on our table anyway? When politics takes over, we get artificial everything and so far, saccharin seems to be the biggest political football sweetener around. Saccharin was originally discovered in 1879, and claims the title of being 300% sweeter than sugar.


ONLY A LOW LEVEL CARCINOGEN

In 1977 the FDA was going to ban saccharin but congress overturned their ruling, requiring only a warning label instead. But Canada banned saccharin that same year. The warning label has since been removed as a requirement. One writer stated that 'even when using very high doses on lab rats saccharin was only a low level carcinogen' – a low level cancer causer. How many of those low level cancer causers do you think the government allows in our foods every day? Now, it's your choice to eat coal tar products or not, and the members of congress are more than pleased to tell you that it's perfectly safe. Looking at the increased rates of cancer over the last century, I'll take a guess that the low level cancer causers are adding up.


FRANKENSUGAR

Advertisers have us loving Splenda – what a lovely name. Splenda is made by chlorinating sugar and changing its chemical structure to get something I call “frankensugar". The manufacturers call this product sucralose. It’s mostly pure... except for the chlorinated molecules, heavy metals, methanol and arsenic.


Chlorocarbons have long been known for 

causing organ, genetic, and reproductive damage


A METABOLIC DISASTER

According to Tuberose: "Some chlorinated molecules serve as the basis for pesticides such as D.D.T., and accumulate in body fat. You would just as soon have a pesticide in your food as sucralose because sucralose (Splenda) is a chlorocarbon... chlorocarbons have long been known for causing organ, genetic, and reproductive damage

It should be no surprise, therefore, that the testing of sucralose reveals that it can cause up to 40 percent shrinkage of the thymus: a gland that is the very foundation of our immune system. Sucralose also causes swelling of the liver and kidneys, and calcification of the kidney."


HIGH FRUCTOSE DREAMS

There are natural alternatives to refined and chemically altered sugars, but before we get there, here comes High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) my “top of the list” of evil sweeteners, pretending to be naturally good because it's made from corn. I touched on this in Sugar Love – Part 1, so some of this is a review. HFCS entered our food chain in the 1970's, it's a highly processed corn syrup and because it is much sweeter than sugar it saves food manufacturers lots of money. 

HFCS is a dreamy moneymaker. It’s in everything from cranberry juice, soft drinks and yogurt to energy bars and those workout drinks you buy to help you get lean. Corn is one of the most genetically altered (GMO) crops cultivated.

The big problem with HFCS is the fructose, a sugar that is found naturally in fruit. The small amounts of fructose found naturally in fruit won't make you fat, and it's digested with natural enzymes and fibers. With HFCS our bodies don't understand the fructose as a calorie, so we metabolize it as fat. Not at all helpful if you're looking to lean down or show your abs.

HFCS has the ability to shut off our “full signals”. At least with refined sugar, our bodies tell us when we’ve had enough – like when you can’t even imagine having one more gulp of a real-sugar drink softdrink. That never happens with HFCS.


CLONING TASTE BUD RECEPTORS

The new kid on the block is Sweetmyx. It is made by Senomyx was developed by cloning taste bud receptors. It doesn't taste sweet, it enhances the sweetness of other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup (similar to how monosodium glutamate (MSG) enhances umami flavors in things like soy sauce). It's called a "sweetness enhancer" and has been licensed exclusively to Pepsi.

"From what I’ve been able to surmise, S617 (the company's moniker for Sweetmyx) is not a naturally derived sweetness enhancer. "It appears to be artificially synthesized from chemicals," says Bruce Bradley, a former food-industry marketer who wrote an expose of the industry's tricks called Fat Profits.

You won't ever find it on food labels, it will be lumped anonomously under the category "artificial flavors".

Because Sweetmyx is considered a "flavor ingredient" it doesn not have to go through any FDA approval process to get to the market. Scary, and they want us to drink another chemical. More information on Sweetmyx from Rodale Press.


KISS FROM THE DARKER SIDE

While I think these sweeteners are depraved, you don't have to be sweet deprived, there are natural sweeteners waiting for you. Frankly, our bodies can digest small (emphasis on small) amounts of just about anything, it's a survival thing we've developed. But why push it? Small amount of chemicals add up. Just do the math and check the rates of cancer now compared to 30 years ago.

We can overload on processing toxins. A twice yearly 14-Day Detox helps keep us on the right track. 

When our bodies are continually fed toxins, they lose valuable functions to create new and regenerate healthy cells. You age quicker, and get sick easier.


RUNNING ON EMPTY

Artificial sweeteners are highly acid forming. Our bodies naturally maintain a healthy PH (or healthy acid-alkaline balance). When our PH balance is pushed toward the acidic side, our bodies react to survive. To neutralize the acid, we take alkalizing minerals from our body's reserves. When our reserves are depleted, the neutralizing minerals are taken from our bones and muscles, weakening them and our body becomes more and more acidic, We become prone to disease.It's known that viruses and cancers thrive in acidic environments.

Know what you're eating and read ingredient labels. Trust yourself. If one of these sweeteners happens to touch your lips, just know what kissed you and get back on with conscious eating.


Part 3:  H E A L T H I E R    S W E E T E N E R S  

 


Just because a natural sweetener 

has benefits, is not licence to over indulge.

Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle. 

Know your sweeteners.


I like to think that we were beamed to earth just to experience the abundance here. An abundance of experiences, loves, hates, playthings and … sweets. You’ve probably made some decisions about those sugars and sweeteners brought to you through the marvels of modern chemistry. Unlike the sweeteners in Part 2, the sweeteners in Part 3  weren’t created by chemistry geeks and corporate executives… we’ve left those monster "Frankensugars" behind. 

So lets takes a look at natural sweeteners.


WILL WORK FOR SUGAR

As a kid, my sweet tooth was so strong that I’d bike across town to my Armenian grandmother's house to score some cookies (I was a fat kid and a dental mess). Along with her "All American" chocolate chip cookies, there were always her Armenian specialties of Paklava (or Baklava as the Greeks say) and butter cookies, both the sweet and those without sugar (she served the latter with spoonfuls of honey over it). Most of the time there was a half eaten apple or berry pie around too.

Before she would let me indulge, I’d have to work in the garden, filling the apple basket and collecting eggs from her chickens or berries and vegetables from her garden. She had plenty of honeybees as well, but they terrified me. She was my first teacher about the abundance and generosity of natural foods and also the memorable, addictive spikes of refined sugars. Sugar is irresistible to 4 foot tall kids, and just as juicy to 6 ft. adult ones.


MODERATION

Just because a sweetener has benefits, or is one you find preferable over another is not license to over indulge. Moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle, and especially when it comes to sweeteners. The less often you add a sweetener to your food, the more you will enjoy very small amount or sweet when you do eat it. 

We live in a beautiful universe, and the natural sweeteners coming available are quite abundant. I'm listing many of them below.


STEALTH NATURALS

With the exception of stevia and monk fruit (they do not elevate blood glucose levels) all of these natural sweeteners eaten in excess can lift you up, send you flying and then crash you down just like the old Paramount Park Stealth Rollercoaster. These sweeteners have varying amounts of calories… you know what that means. If you don’t burn them off, you'll add them as fat and end up looking like a stand-in extra for "Big Momma".

Erythritol, Malitol, Xylitol
These three "sugars" are made from plants or starches. They're lower in calories than table sugar (and many other substitutes) and appear to have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. These sugar substitutes ending in "ol" can be very stressful on the gastro-intestinal tract, causing unpleasant digestive symptoms. 

They've never been high on my personal list of sweeteners. You'll find them on the labels of flavored waters, sugar-free gum and nutrition bars as well as products for diabetics because of the low blood sugar impact. They are often paired with stevia on ingredient lists.

Evaporated cane-juice
This is the easiest substitute for replacing white sugar and it is fairly easy to find. The crystals are made by simply evaporating water from sugarcane juice. It can be found in stores under the name "sucanat". Sucanat is not processed like white sugar so it still contains nutrients and minerals found in the sugarcane. Don’t be mislead, commercial “brown sugar” is not sucanat. Buy organic or Fair Trade certified sucanat. 

Sucanat and turbanado sugar are similar, however sucanat has more nutrients (iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and potassium - in small amounts) than turbanado. Most of the nutrients are stripped from turbanado sugar during processing. Sucanat also has less sucrose (the main component in sugar that makes it sweet) than turbanado sugar.

Molasses
This is what is left after crystals of sugar are removed from sugarcane or beet juice, and it’s about 65% sucrose. Blackstrap molasses contains calcium and iron and other minerals, providing some nutritional value. It has about 70% more potassium than a bananna. Still, I don't consider this a "health food". Sorghum molasses and Barbados molasses are less nutritious than Blackstrap. Molasses has a particular flavor is is usually found in liquid form.

Barley Malt, Rice Amasake, Rice Syrup and Sorghum Syrup
These sweeteners are made by fermenting grains. They contain both simple and complex sugars as well as some complex carbohydrates so they are absorbed slowly into your bloodstream. They also contain nutrients (approximately half) from the original grains.

Maltodextrin
This sweetener is inexpensive and added to almost everything, including pharmaceuticals, nutrition bars, meal replacement drinks, meat, salad dressings and spices. It is made from corn or rice starch, and sometimes from wheat or potato. It is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and has a high glycemic index. 

The problem with maltodextrin is that it can easily cause a "sugar" overload in the blood stream and ends up being converted to fat. Oddly enough, many diet shakes diet products and food bars use Maltodextrin because it is cheap – and they don't have to label it as sugar on nutrition facts labels. Avoid it.

Date Sugar
Like the previous sweeteners, you can figure out the source from the name. This sugar is made from pulverized dried dates. One tablespoon of date sugar is counted as one fruit exchange in the diabetic exchange system. It contains fiber and minerals from the original fruit.

Maple Syrup
This great tasting stuff is simply tree sap. There are lots of minerals in maple syrup including potassium, zinc, manganese and calcium. Maple syrup is also high in anti-oxidants. It takes 10 gallons of maple sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup. Make sure you are choosing REAL maple syrup. Under the ingredients it should say 100% pure maple syrup, not corn syrup or anything else. Making sure it is organic is important because some companies use formaldehyde to prolong sap flow. 

Vermont has stringent quality control for the production of maple syrup, so maple syrup from Vermont is usually a good choice. Always check the labels.

Honey
Honey is just as sweet as refined sugar and gets absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. If you want nutritional value from this sweetener, choose raw honey. Raw honey contains the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and pollen that are destroyed when honey is processed (pasteurized). Raw honey, particularly from local sources, may help with hay fever and allergies by building your natural immunity. Honey is antimicrobial in its raw state. My suggestion: don’t eat processed honey.

Agave
Agave Nectar is a liquid sweetener that comes from the sap of the agave plant. It’s sometimes called the maple syrup of the south. Agave is heated and processed to create the light or amber liquids, raw agave is heated to low temperatures. I’ve read that the amount of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium create the color tone. Agave has the benefit of being sweeter than refined sugar, and doesn’t spike your insulin levels as much as refined sugar does – but it has just about the same calories as sugar. 

Agave is about 90% fructose. I don't recommend refined or concentrated sources of fructose as a sweetener. If you make a habit of using agave in excess, you're in for more fat and bad cholesterol production. Agave is quite sweet, so you tend to use less, that and it's low glycemic index is one of the reasons it became popular. Watch that your agave does not contain corn syrup. Look for "raw" and organic on the label if you do choose to use agave.

Stevia
This was probably the least known sweetener around a few years ago. Stevia is a native of Paraguay and is now grown in many countries. It has been used for many centuries and by many cultures. Extensive scientific research had been done to prove its safety, but until recently, it had only been approved as a dietary supplement. Stevia packs a sweet wallop. It’s 150 to 400 times sweeter than sugar and has no calories. It is known to help help regulate blood sugar levels. It is calorie free. Watch that it's not chemically processed and mixed with sugar alcohol (which can cause diarrhea and indigestion). 

You can find stevia as a liquid or in powdered form. Cheap stevia often leaves a "metallic" after taste.The taste and cost depends on the part of the plant stevia is made from. A little goes a long ways.

Monk Fruit
This sweetener is relatively new on store shelves. It seems to be referred to as monk fruit because this green, round melon like fruit was first used by monks in China in the 13th century. Monk Fruit has been used in China for centuries to treat illness, though not in the form it is in today. Monk Fruit has no calories and a little bit goes a long way. Too much has a less than pleasing taste. It is also sold in packets which make it convenient. I'll sometimes mix together a pinch of Monk Fruit and a little Coconut Palm Sugar to create a sweetener. Monk Fruit is one of Dr. Oz's favorites. 

Watch for 100% Monk Fruit when shopping
The makers of Splenda have created Nectresse - which contains erythritol (sugar alcohol) and molasses along with the Monk Fruit.  Monk Fruit in the Raw contains dextrose with Monk Fruit.

We use a combination of Monk Fruit and Steva in Rockit Fuel Formula 110. Rockit Fuel has only 5 calories and 1 gram of sugar. These natural sweeteners are complemented by flavor from Blueberry and Acai Extract and coloring from Grape Skin. The powdered drink has a balanced taste with no sugar spike and a smooth taste showing what is possible with these sweeteners.

Coconut Palm Crystals
Also called Coconut Sugar. This one is at the bottom of this sugar list, but at the top of mine – with a big star. It is made from the sap of the coconut palm tree buds. It is not as processed as other sugars and it's rich in minerals and vitamins. While I don't recommend it as a vitamin replacement, it's an abundant source of minerals, amino acids, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins and has a almost neutral PH. It's brownish in color and has a slight caramel taste. It substitutes 1 to 1 for baking with white table sugar and it has a low glycemic index score (35). Unlike low glycemic agave which is about 90% fructose, coconut palm sugar contains 9% fructose. 

When you are picking a Coconut Sugar, look for Organic, unbleached and unrefined on the label.


EAT TILL YOU POP

Culturally, we’re programmed to eat until we explode, just like the fat guy in Monty Python and the Meaning of Life. The results aren't pretty. The same thing happens to us with sweeteners. Enjoy a little, be moderate, take time off from them when you Detox. You'll be amazed at the sweetness you can find in foods that aren't considered "sweet" when you stay on an almost no sugar diet for 14 days or more.


TOP THREE

My top three favorite sweeteners are Coconut Palm Crystals, Monk Fruit and Maple Syrup. I like how my body reacts and feels with them. And I would recommend evaporated cane juice (sucanat) as a another choice because it's readily available across the country. Avoiding white sugar and using moderation will help keep you healthy and lean.


USE LESS – ENJOY MORE

Find a natural sweetener that works for you, it might not be the one that someone else likes. And as you use less, you’ll want it less and enjoy it more. Or better yet, eat an apple. Having a dessert or an occasional indulgence can be part of diet planning. It’s actually better if it is planned. It keeps us from going on total binges. Take the time to read labels, and stay conscious when you eat. 

The less processed your food is, the healthier you will be. Your body will love you for it.

– Rick Dinihanian

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