Sugar Conspiracy Still Rages
Corrupt information about sugar from advertisers, multinational food corporations and mainstream media abounds. Meanwhile, an unsuspecting public often swallows what they’re told, hook line and sinker. For the sake of your health, you need to become ever more savvy about which products you can feel good about buying and which to avoid completely. Bear with me. I’ll lay out the bare bones of what you need to be aware of as you wend your way around the continually expanding selection of sugar-related products deceptively disguised as “good for you.”
Sugar purveyors have got away with murder. Along with governments who have been supposed to guide us on what to eat to stay healthy, they have for decades wrongly told us that eating fats is dangerous for our health. Multinational food and drink manufacturers cunningly decided to replace fats in the convenience foods they sell with sugar to make their wares more palatable. The vast majority of shoppers, consciously attempting to follow “official” advice, wholeheartedly embraced all the sugar-filled packaged foods they were offered. Many shoppers are now waking up to how dangerous sugar is to their health and their life. But we have a long way to go.
Sugar is the most damaging of all the carbohydrates. Ordinary table sugar consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. The glucose part gets digested in your stomach. Then it enters your bloodstream, where it makes your blood sugar rise. This triggers insulin release—a major cause of the development of insulin resistance. The other 50% component of table sugar—fructose—acts differently in your body. It does not affect your blood sugar, and we do not yet know for sure what part fructose may play in the release of insulin. So we are still being taught that eating and drinking fructose fine. This makes fructose healthy, right? Wrong!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
When you eat a piece of fruit—say, an apple—the fruit sugar it contains comes wrapped up in natural fiber including pectin, a soluble fiber which helps your body eliminate heavy metals from your system. It can take you 10 minutes or so to munch your way through an apple. It takes even more time for your body to break down the fiber and absorb it. This means that the fructose in the apple you eat is released relatively slowly. As a consequence, its fructose can be processed a little at a time by the liver, which is the organ that handles fructose. However, when you drink a nice big glass of apple juice or a soda (which contains 10 times more fructose than an apple) it can take as few as 10 seconds for you to swallow it all. Then your liver gets bombarded with a very dangerous form of fructose known as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
An excellent article published in the prestigious journal Nature, “The Toxic Truth About Sugar,” points out that the consumption of the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup has increased one hundred fold since 1970. “We’re being poisoned to death,” says Robert Lustig, MD. “That’s a very strong statement, but I think we can back it up with very clear scientific evidence.” Lustig and his colleagues suggest that sugar be regulated in the same way alcohol is regulated. The human body, especially the liver, never evolved to handle the kind of fructose load that it is now getting. What does it do? It responds by turning much of the fructose you take in into fat deposits. It also makes you highly prone to cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, hypertension, dementia and type 2 diabetes.
In the 19th century, we ate between 10 and 20 pounds of sugar per person per year. Today, each of us consumes between 150 and 200 pounds of it a year—much of it hidden in convenience foods, fruit juices and sodas. Because sugar, added to so many processed foods, is everywhere, it is virtually unavoidable. Millions of poorly informed people continue to consume 500 calories or more every day in added sugar alone. What few people yet know is that sugar acts upon the same areas of your brain as alcohol, cocaine and cigarettes do, creating cravings, unnatural hunger and an addiction for yet more sugar. The excessive amount of “stealth” sugar in processed foods has become the backbone that supports the profitable disease care business worth billions.
Chronic high blood sugar and insulin don’t just make you fat and predispose you to chronic diseases, they age you. Sugar also undermines the integrity of your skin. When you eat a diet full of non-vegetable carbohydrates—grains, cereals and sugars of any kind—your body gets busy fabricating wrinkles, sags, a puffy face and a lackluster complexion. And, as a result of the chronic high blood sugar and insulin resistance which develops over time, you can end up without the energy to do anything to change it.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is something food and drink manufacturers have used in ever-increasing quantities since 1978. It was originally a worthless by-product of the corn industry. That is, until someone had the bright idea of turning it into syrup and pouring it into sodas, cakes, breads, cookies, ready meals, even smoked meats and fish—you name it. Nowadays you can find HFCS just about everywhere in packaged foods and drinks—juices, sodas and fruity yoghurts, luncheon meats, even in smoked fish. Foods that most people still believe to be “healthy” are now riddled with this cheap, dangerous stuff. Not surprisingly, HFCS is ultra-sweet—55% fructose and 45% glucose.
Because nothing raises blood sugar levels and triggers insulin release more quickly than sugar in its many forms, eating anything full of sugar gives you an immediate ‘high’. Then, it can just as quickly bring you down, leaving you craving something else sweet to keep going. Want to do one thing which can dramatically improve your health, your weight and your good looks? Just stop eating sugar, including fructose, in any form, as well as any foods or drinks that contain it. Beware of what you buy because it is often not even listed as an ingredient on labels.
HOW TO CUT YOUR SUGAR INTAKE
It’s easy. Change your way of eating from a diet of packaged convenience foods to pesticide-free, whole organic foods that are unprocessed. Never use canned fruits in recipes that need sweetening. Instead go for fresh, low glycemic fruits or top quality stevias. Use organic seasonings to create great flavors for your dishes. Most often, the sugar content of a food has been deliberately hidden by food manufacturers by giving it a name that shoppers will not recognize.
Given the dangers implicit in using sweeteners, it’s equally important to be cautious when looking for alternatives to sugar itself. These fall into three main categories:
- Artificial sweeteners—which you want to avoid like the plague.
- Sugar alcohols.
- Natural sweeteners.
- All artificial sweeteners are harmful, each in its own way. These include aspartame—the worst of the lot. You’ll find it in Equal and NutriSweet; sucralose, which you’ll find in in Splenda; saccharine, which you’ll find in Sweet and Low, as well as many other artificial sweeteners by different names. There is much evidence to back up how dangerous these are. Avoid all of them if you care about your health.
- Sugar Alcohols with “ol” in their name such as xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, glycerol and lactitol can spike blood sugar but beware. Just because some product label says “sugar-free” this is not necessarily the truth, nor can you be sure it is calorie-free or low-sugar. Probably safest of them is xylitol, but only if you use it occasionally and very sparingly. (By the way, it is deadly for cats and dogs.)
“Natural Sweetener” does not necessarily mean natural. Agave Syrup and Agave Nectar can be even worse than HFCS. It’s a misnomer to refer to them as “natural”, despite the advertising hype that has most of the world still believing they are. Higher than any other sweetener on the market, Agave has virtually no nutritional value. As for honey, which has become seriously distorted as a result of the hideous damage being done to bee colonies, it too is to be avoided unless you happen to gather it from your own hives.
The Safest Choices: Stevia is an exotic herb which grows in subtropical areas of South America. This plant has been used to sweeten herbal drinks since pre-Columbian times. It’s a godsend for enhancing health and reducing your sugar intake. It’s great for sweetening drinks and baking dishes. But make sure you use only the best. All sorts of so-called stevias such as Truvia and Purevia continue to be promoted by multinational corporations. They call themselves “all-natural sweeteners”. In reality, they have been manufactured only from “certain active ingredients” in the stevia plant, not from the whole plant. As a result, they are distortions of the real thing. Don’t use them. Another good natural sweetener is Lo Han Guo, which comes from a Chinese fruit. It too is good, but more expensive than stevia.
Spoonable Stevia by Stevita uses only stevia extract with at least 95% pure glycosides (extremely sweet tasting ingredients of the Stevia herb leaves), and a little erythritol, a crystal granulated naturally produced filler found in fruits, vegetables and grains. It is best for baking and sprinkling.
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