In the article Ten Toxic Threats to Human Health and Happiness the seventh threat identified the serious problems caused by large numbers of people being hooked on sugar and sweets.
We need to change our eating habits because like harmful drugs, sugar shocks your sensitive systems: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and refined sugars are highly processed and refined, chemically altered and very addictive substances.
Sugar production is expanding and total per capita consumption is increasing. This is causing significant health problems such as blindness, cardo- vascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
An article reported refined sugars have been found to be more addictive than heroin when fed to rats. Rats will quit heroin (one of the most addictive drugs on earth) for sugar, but will not give up sugar to go back to the heroin.
What does that imply about humans and their addictions for sugar and sweets?
Not All Sugar is Created Equal
What many people do not realize is that not all sugar is created equal or has the same effects on the body.
The best way to reduce your intake of refined cooked sugars is to you increase your enjoyment and intake of fresh raw whole foods such as:
- native grains
- green leafy plants
- sea veggies
This way you can enjoy the natural whole food carbohydrates and raw sugar sources in fruits along with the healthy fiber. This will fill you up faster and allow the sugar to be absorbed more slowly and evenly over time which avoids the sugar rush and blood sugar spike.
GMO, HFCS & Beet Sugar Refining
Another big concern regarding processed sugar is that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and refined beet sugars are being produced from Genetically Engineered (GE) and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) (corn and sugar beets) which are unnatural. Most people are consuming a significant amount of sugar derived from genetically altered plants which is not disclosed on the labels and therefore people are exposing themselves to significant health risks.
Most people are also not aware of the major differences between cooked sugars and raw sugars regarding the affects it has on your blood chemistry which impacts on the blood system, brain, glands, hormones, organs and every cell in your body.
The process of making bleached and refined white sugar is a complex process which changes the structure of the sugar molecules as well as the way the sugar is processed by the body. Brown sugar is basically the same except for the bleaching process.
Sugar is a complex topic and an entire book has been written about it. You can read the book Sweet Deceptions by Dr. Joseph Mercola for more details. To keep it brief the sugar (usually cane sugar or beet sugar) is harvested, pressed and cooked at high temperatures to separate the sugar molecules from the fiber which locks up the sugar.
Then harmful chemicals are added and it is bleached during the refinement process which makes the highly processed white sugar a real danger.
BTW it is the bonding of sugar within fiber that allows cultures to eat raw cane sugar or other raw sweet fruits and foods without the same consequences as eating cooked refined sugar from cane. The fiber fills you up quickly, being bonded with the sugar makes it more difficult to digest and fiber feeds the good bacteria which eat sugar and slows down the sugar absorption process significantly.
Raw sugar is also more natural to the body as the enzymes, minerals, phyto nutrients and vitamins have not been destroyed allowing you to derive some nutritional value.
Cooked sugar on the other hand changes the molecular structure of the sugar. With the fiber removed a person can consume a lot of sugar easily and quickly without even chewing or getting full. Items produced with sugar such as alcohol, beer, candy, jams, jellies, juices, sodas, soy milk, sport drinks, wine and many others rapidly enter the blood and easily spike your blood sugar.
Also without the fiber the sugar is very quickly absorbed into the blood system and rapidly overloads the blood sugar level so the pancreas must secret insulin to bring the sugar level down and converts it to fat. Unfortunately over time the pancreas must continually secrete more insulin which becomes less effective (insulin resistance) and as the blood sugar surges many reactions are triggered which are very harmful to your health.
As you put on more fat your health deteriorates and also your cardio vascular system is damaged which often harms your brain, extremities, eyes, glands, liver and other organs. Processed, refined and cooked sugar is one of the most addictive drugs. Just look at the large numbers of people addicted to sodas, sugars and sweet treats to understand how difficult it is to maintain their health and weight.
Sugars Dark Past
Sugar has a very dark past and has been closely linked to slavery and modern day indentured servants and poverty. It has caused many native cultures such as Fijian, Haitian, Hawaiian, Jamaican, Mexican and countless others to lose their land and native ways of living. They also became addicted to the cooked sugar which triggers many health problems such as blindness, cardo-vascular disease, diabetes, joint problems, weight gain and obesity.
To learn more, click to watch > Hidden Story of Big Sugar Video
Healthy Natural Sugar Alternatives
There are other natural sweetener choices instead of white sugar such as dates, honey, Lakanto, raisins, prunes and stevia (herb from South America), Agave was not listed since at this time the jury is still out on agave nectar which several authorities describe as another cooked, processed and refined sugar with a high glycemic index.
There are enough articles and nutrition experts out there to cause serious concern and for me to stop using sugar in early 2009.
Raw honey has always been one of my favorites and was an easy choice for substitution.
Glycemic Index System
The Glycemic index is a system of calibrating the impact of eating foods and measuring the increase and speed of blood sugar levels. The lower the score on the glycemic index the better and the max score is 100. One thing many people do not know is that you can influence your blood sugar level increase from different foods by several factors such as exercise and food consumption factors.
How the food is prepared affects the index (raw foods often have a lower glycemic index than cooked foods because cooking breaks down the fiber and cooked sugar is more easily and rapidly absorbed). Also what you combine with it has an impact (for example fats and oils slow down the absorption rate and the amount of fiber in the food and also consumed with it (like a salad) does too).
If you think that using artificial sweeteners such as Acesulfame-K, aspartame, cyclamate, saccharin, splenda, neotame, and sucralose are healthy alternatives to refined sugar you are sadly mistaken. As bad as refined sugar is these artificial sweeteners are even worse for you. Another book could be written about the deception and problems with artificial sweeteners and their health risks. Do yourself a favor and avoid them completely.
Now you have more awareness and answers regarding how sugar shocks your sensitive systems and what you can do to: protect yourself.
Remember you can still enjoy your favorite fruits, sweet treats and even chocolate or carob when you delete the refined white sugar and use a healthier raw sweetener such as dates or honey. After all we want you to have better choices for sweet treats to help you maintain a balanced healthy lifestyle and enjoy a great life. May you enjoy healthy thoughts and raw sweet dreams for vibrant nutrition, energy, wellness and longevity.
Our next blog post will share: The Big Bad & Ugly of Commercial Agriculture