There is a saying "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" and in this country we tend to sweeten everything from our water to our meats. In the last post I talked about mercury and high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup, the sweetener of choice in most prepared foods, lacks both nutrition and fiber and thus is easily converted to fat on the body. Likewise common white sugar which also lacks nutrition and fiber is liable to go from the lips to the hips.
In an effort to avoid this problem, many people turn to artificial sweeteners. There are currently 2 in common use - aspartame (NutraSweet) and sucrolose (splenda). While marketed as safe non-calorie replacements for sugar, research has shown neither of these products to be safe.
The FDA (in its more honest days) refused to approve aspartame for 16 years due to safety concerns. It was finally approved because of a political favor despite the protests of the majority of scientists at the FDA. Aspartame is comprised of 2 amino acids joined by a methyl group. When aspartame breaks down, the methyl group falls off and becomes methyl alcohol (wood alcohol). This wood alcohol breaks down further to formaldehyde. Another breakdown product of aspartame is aspartic acid - this is the same poison that causes the sting in red ant bites Aspartame will kill ants and is a nonspecific poison. It can cause symptoms from headaches to cancer and can mimic many diseases such as Graves disease and MS. For more in-depth information on aspartame see www.dorway.com
Sucrolose is a chlorinated sugar. Chlorinated sugars do not exist naturally in nature. Many man made pesticides such as DDT and Lindane are chlorinated sugars. A foreign graduate student was actually looking for a new pesticide when sucrolose was discovered. His professor told him to test it and he thought he said taste it. Discovering its sweetness, they decided to market this new chemical as an artificial sweetener. Being in the same class as pesticides, it should come as no surprise that recent studies have found sucrolose to have a negative impact on bacteria in the gut. The bacterial flora in our gut plays a large role in our health as our beneficial bacteria help us derive nutrients from food and also keep the bad bacteria in check.. Basically we can not be healthy if our gut bacteria are out of whack.
In addition to the harmful effects that artificial sweeteners have on the human body, the whole premise that they are helpful for weight control is a myth. Studies have shown that people who include artificial sweeteners in their diets tend to be heavier than those that don't. The reason for this is that when one consumes a chemical sweetener, the body sensing sweetness releases insulin to take care of the sugars it perceives to be entering the bloodstream. With no actual sugar for insulin to pair up with the body will then crave carbohydrates to lower the blood insulin level.
Artificial sweeteners are hiding in everything from non-diet breads to multivitamins. Additionally because sucrolose is marketed as a sugar replacement for baking (it even takes a prominent place in the grocery store at eye level while sugar is placed on the bottom shelves) many unsuspecting people have been conned into using it for home cooking. Thus the possibility always exists that any food, even home prepared foods may contain artificial sweeteners.
There is a glitter of hope on the horizon. Stevia a natural herbal sweetener from South America that has been used safely for thousands of years. Once stevia was a thorn in the side of Corporate America who saw it as competition to their chemical sweeteners and tried to have it banned in this country. Only because of DESHA (Dietary and Supplemental Health Act) was stevia allowed to sold and then only as a herbal supplement not as a sweetener (there were even rules forbidding it to be sold in the sugar aisle). In the 1990's the FDA ordered the Stevita company of Texas to burn all cookbooks which utilized stevia as and ingredient (this order was later rescinded when Stevita called in the press). Today however the tide has changed and Corporate America has developed stevia derived sweeteners This is probably in response to the growing consumer knowledge about the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. Interesting enough when Corporate America came out with its stevia products the FDA had nothing to say.
For myself, I use sucronut (evaporated cane syrup), maple syrup and raw honey in limited amounts. At least all of these sugars while devoid of fiber still have a full compliment of nutrients. I also use a liquid stevia that I obtain from Trivita (www.trivita.com/11563866. My favorite things to use stevia for are lemonade (water. lemon. and stevia) and hot cocoa ( hot almond milk,cocoa powder. and stevia) I found that these 2 beverages will curb my sweet tooth when I am craving something with sugar,