There are many sweeteners out there, both artificial and natural. In this post, I’ll focus on the natural sweeteners and which ones are good, and which ones are bad.
Fructose is part of a normal diet, but when we consume too much fructose, our bodies get overwhelmed and cannot process all of it. So the liver converts the fructose into triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides are a major factor in heart disease as well as strokes. Also, when we consume fructose, our bodies appetite regulation system is not triggered, and therefore we still feel hungry (or not full). This implies that having high fructose intake can lead to eating more, and hence, weight gain.
Fructose also is fuel for cancer. Cancer cells, like any other cell in our bodies, need fuel to multiply. Fructose is the fuel for cancer cells that let them multiply faster. We all have cancer cells within our body, but if you feed the cancer cells, you are giving them more energy to multiply. Putting this aside, there is also the factor of how much sugar is in our systems.
The average can of soft drink (12 oz) contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. By any means, that is already a lot. But if you ingest 10 teaspoons of sugar, it will increase your blood-sugar levels by about 5 times! One can of pop is about equal to 5 times your normal blood glucose level. Just think about that for a minute.
Now if you add in all the sugar that is contained in all the processed foods, it adds up fast. Did you know that sugar is in deserts, jam, fruit drinks, candy, condiments such as ketchup, cereals, processed meats, and many more “foods?” That’s why we also avoid many processed foods.
Which sugars to avoid?
We avoid all refined sugars. This includees HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), corn syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, turbinado sugar, demerara sugar, muscovado sugar, and many more. We’re just trying to keep it simple and stick to one or two more natural, less processed sugars.
HFCS 55% fructose / 45% glucose
White Sugar 50% fructose / 50% glucose
Agave Nectar 75% fructose / 25% glucose
There are natural sweeteners that are ok. Honey is one natural sweetener that is low(er) in fructose. Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that has 0% fructose. Palm sugar or Coconut sugar is one that may be ok. Either way, we still limit our sugar intake. When we bake, we use honey, but a lot of that is used in the conversion to CO2 in bread.
Honey 20% fructose / 80% glucose
Artificial sweeteners are really bad for you. There are several artificial sweeteners, but the most common ones are aspartame and sucralose. These are synthetic chemicals made in a lab and are toxic to our bodies. We should not be consuming them in any way, shape, or form. Also, they increase your appetite, which makes you want to eat more.
Aspartame is a drug. There is no questioning this fact. When it was approved in 1974, there was a ton of resistance to it, along with a whole lot of evidence against it. At that time, there were over 7,000 adverse reactions yet it was still approved by the FDA. The head of the FDA at that time was Arthur Hull, who shortly afterwards left the FDA to become a consultant for Mon$anto.
Just take a look at some of the side effects of aspertame as reported from the Department of Health and Human Services:
# of people (%) Eye - Decreased vision and/or other eye problems 140 (25%) (blurring, "bright flashes," tunnel vision) - Pain (or or both eyes) 51 (9%) - Decreased tears, trouble with contact lens, 46 (8%) or both - Blindness (one or both eyes) 14 (3%) Ear - Tinnitus ("ringing," "buzzing") 73 (13%) - Severe intolerance for noise 47 (9%) - Marked impairment of hearing 25 (5%) Neurologic - Headaches 249 (45%) - Dizziness, unsteadiness, or both 217 (39%) - Confusion, memory loss, or both 157 (29%) - Severe drowsiness and sleepiness 93 (17%) - Paresthesias ("pins and needles," "tingling") 82 (15%) or numbness of the limbs - Convulsions (grand mal epileptic attacks) 80 (15%) - Petit mal attacks and "absences" 18 (3%) - Severe slurring of speech 64 (12%) - Severe tremors 51 (9%) - Severe "hyperactivity" and "restless legs" 43 (8%) - Atypical facial pain 38 (7%) Psychologic-Psychiatric - Severe depression 139 (25%) - "Extreme irritability" 125 (23%) - "Severe anixiety attacks" 105 (19%) - "Marked personality changes" 88 (16%) - Recent "severe insomnia" 76 (14%) - "Severe aggravation of phobias" 41 (7%) Chest - Palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart action), 88 (16%) of both - "Shortness of breath" 54 (10%) - Atypical chest pain 44 (8%) - Recent hypertension (high blood pressure) 34 (6%) Gastrointestinal - Nausea 79 (14%) - Diarrhea 70 (13%) Associated gross blood in the stools (12) - Abdominal pain 70 (13%) - Pain on swallowing 28 (5%) Skin and Allergies - Severe itching without a rash 44 (8%) - Severe lip and mouth reactions 29 (5%) - Urticaria (hives) 25 (5%) - Other eruptions 48 (9%) - Aggravation of respiratory allergies 10 (2%) Endocrine and Metabolic - Problems with diabetes: loss of control; 60 (11%) precipitation of clinical diabetes; aggravation or simulation of diabetic complications - Menstrual changes 45 (6%) Severe reduction or cessation of periods (22) - Paradoxic weight gain 34 (5%) - Marked weight loss 26 (6%) - Marked thinning or loss of the hair 32 (6%) - Aggravated hypoglycemia (low blood sugar 25 (5%) attacks) Other - Frequency of voiding (day and night), burning 69 (13%) on urination (dysuria), or both - Excessive thirst 65 (12%) - Severe joint pains 58 (11%) - "Bloat" 57 (10%) - Fluid retention and leg swelling 20 (4%) - Increased susceptibility to infection 7 (1%)
There is a huge amount of information at the first link below. I wrote most of this post before going to that site, and there is far more than what I originally realized. Please read it for more in-depth information.