Do you remember the Mary Poppins’ song, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?” Well, it may have helped the medicine taste better, but it didn’t help the sickness. Sugar actually lowers the immune system for several hours after being consumed, and that is just the tip of the iceberg to what this enticing little sweet crystal is doing to our bodies. Let’s take a hard look at why sugar is toxic, and better options to use when it comes to sweetening the foods we love.
Why is sugar (white, brown or high fructose corn syrup) toxic, and why pick on commonly used sweeteners? Well, let’s take a look at the hard facts.
- sugar is toxic (read an excellent article on the toxicity of sugar)
- sugar may double the risk for heart disease (article on dangers of sugar and heart disease)
- sugar can cause similar damage to the liver as alcoholism
- sugar is one of the leading causes for the obesity epidemic in our country
- sugar increases inflammation and spikes blood sugar levels
- sugar lowers the immune system for up to four hours after consumption (Health Freedom Resources shares article on sugar and your immune system)
- sugar is highly addictive (some experts say more so than cocaine)
The list could continue but for sake of moving on, I’ll leave it at: you get the point why sugar is toxic! You may think, everything in moderation. This is true, but did you know the recommended daily allowance for sugar is 7 teaspoons? Think about that for just a minute, 7 teaspoons! That equals to roughly one cup per week, which seems like a lot, until you consider the average American downs nearly six cups per week! And while you may not think you’re consuming that much sugar, take a look at where it is hidden in our food and beverages.
- 3 teaspoons in 2 1/2 TBSP of Vanilla Creamer
- 3 teaspoons in one cup of Kellogg’s GF Honey Nut Chex
- 6 teaspoons in one cup of Newman’s Own Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce
- 6 teaspoons in 5 oz of non-fat yogurt!
- 6 teaspoons in a 12 oz Starbucks’ mocha
- 9 teaspoons in a 12 oz can of coke
Just eating or drinking one of those items nearly wipes out your daily allowance. So what are the alternatives? It comes down to how your body metabolizes the type of sugar you are eating. While white, brown, and high fructose corn syrup are metabolized mainly by the liver, the surge of sugar forces the liver to turn that sugar mainly into stored fat, hence the rise in obesity. There are other alternatives that lower the rate in which the sugars are metabolized.
- coconut palm sugar (a lower glycemic index sugar; no sugar crash, tastes similar to brown sugar)
- date sugar (derived from dates, alternative to brown sugar, does not melt or dissolve well)
- maple syrup (can be substituted in most recipes by lowering other liquids by one-quarter)
- brown rice syrup (slight butterscotch flavor, works well in dressings and muffins)
- raw honey (higher in calories than table sugar, so lessen the amount in recipes)
- stevia (derived from a plant, it is 300 times sweeter than sugar but can leave a nasty after-taste)
Why did Agave not make the list? Because even though it is touted as a good alternative by many, it is highly processed and dumps straight into the liver. And alternative sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, Nutra-Sweet and Sweet-n-Low are a whole different animal. Click here to see how dangerous they are and why you should NEVER use these sweeteners.
Alternative sweeteners are more expensive but it’s hard to put a price on health. You may end up paying more in the long run through healthcare costs.
My preferred sugar substitute is coconut palm sugar. Many recipes on my blog call for this type of sugar replacement. Beings sugar is toxic to your body, here are a few links if you are interested in purchasing a better option.
This article was shared on the following blogs: SuperSaturday, ThisGalCooks, RealFoodForager, PintSizedBaker, GlutenFreeHomemaker, SnippetsofInspiration