Sugar makes us feel better for many reasons, it stimulates the release of Dopamine in the brain which helps with mood. It's only natural that when something makes us feel good we want more of it! It's a well known fact that when we experience theses cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and relapse symptoms that these symptoms are similar to those of cocaine and heroin abusers. Thats how addictive it is but also socially acceptable!!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR ON LABELS AND TRY TO LOWER/ AVOID:
- Brown Sugar (still sugar! sometimes caramel colouring or molasses is added to it but doesn't mean its any healthier)
- High-fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
- Corn Sweetener, Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids
- Dextrose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Sucrose, Lactose
- Raw Sugar
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Maple Sugar, Processed Maple Syrup
EFFECTS OF SUGAR ON THE BODY:
- Causes an acidic effect on the body leaving you more susceptible to disease, viruses, and colds.
- Since our bodies are constantly trying to maintain alkalinity it does this by pulling minerals from our bones and when this happens too much it can result in mineral deficiency which results in Osteoporosis over time from lack of Calcium and Magnesium in the bones.
- Immune Suppression: Our white blood cells (the blood cells responsible for fighting disease and bacteria) require Vitamin C to deal with viruses and help to fight for our immune system. Glucose and Vitamin C are very similar in chemical structure and so they actually compete with each other for uptake into cells, so the more sugar consumed, the less Vitamin C we have. This slows our Immune System down. With the exception of real, fresh fruit, Simple carbs are all of the processed and refined sugars and starches.
- Aggravates asthma, promotes mood swings, linked to changes in personality, mood disorders, mental illness, development or worsening of arthritis, contributes to hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating especially in children, reduces the HLL cholesterol (good) and increases the LDL (bad) cholesterol, increases risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and leads to kidney damage.
- Leads to weight gain since the body stores it as fat. Sugar consumption leads to a surge in insulin which signals the liver to take excess sugar and convey it to fat for storage. After an immediate energy boost it is followed by a crash as the blood sugars drop and leaves us feeling tired and sluggish and craving more sugar. This becomes a viscous cycle.
Many natural alternatives contain minerals and many healing properties and benefits. Even the healthier alternatives should be used in moderation, as there is such thing as too much of a good thing!
- RAW UN-PASTEURIZED HONEY: anti-viral/ bacterial/ microbial, contains Antioxidant properties, probiotics, phytonutrients, and live enzymes
- PURE MAPLE SYRUP: Made from tree sap (the real deal). high in Zinc and Manganese
- STEVIA: no calorie content, comes from the stevia plant, contains phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, anti bacterial and microbial properties (it should be green when you buy it or else it too has been processed/ refined)
- SUCANET: Un-refined cane sugar. Sugar cane that is clarified, filtered and evaporated and crystallized. The vitamins and minerals are still present after this process and since it is sweeter than sugar you can use less
- BLACK STRAP MOLASSES: powerful source of Iron (necessary for energy and red blood cell production), great source of Calcium (important for healthy bones, regulates enzyme activity, and aids in nerve function)
- PALM SUGAR: low on the glycemic index, high in Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, and Zinc
- COCONUT CRYSTALS AND SYRUP: low on glycemic index, helps with blood sugar balancing, rich in minerals
- FRUIT: in it's whole form: fresh, frozen, or dried, fruit has it's own sweetness and has so many health benefits, a great way to satisfy sweet cravings and add natural sweetness
What are your favourite natural sweeteners?