What are the best alternatives?
With all the information now coming to light on the harmful health effects of sugar. Why are we are still eating an incredible amount of it on a daily basis.
That is because it is in everything things. If you are consuming a diet high in processed, packaged and junk food you simply can’t avoid it, as these types of food have extremely high amounts of added sugar. They are made in large scale, industrial refineries using cheap, mass-farmed crops like sugar beets. They extracted the sugary pulp with methods that strip away all trace of healthy minerals and nutrients. This leaves you with a super-concentrated dose sugar with empty calories that just causes all sort of chaos in your body.
The average American consumes double and for some triple the recommended amount of the sweet white poison.
According to Dr. Ron Fessenden, M.D., M.P.H. the average American consumes over 150 pounds of refined sugar, plus an additional 62 pounds of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) every year.
Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine.
Sugar causes a spike in your blood-sugar levels which is followed by a HUGE crash. Your blood-sugar level is a key signal for appetite and hunger, the sugar crash triggers warning alarms in your body. Your brain thinks you are starving. In response it compels you to eat immediately, and especially foods that are sweet and sugary. I am sure we have all felt that overwhelming craving before, when all you want to eat is a sugary donuts or a candy, even after eating a full meal. When your body is in this state however strong your will power is it is virtually impossible to resist. It is a vicious cycle. Meaning the end result is you end up eating more sugar, which creates another spike and crash effect on your blood-sugar levels. So the long and short of it is the more sugar you eat, the more sugar your body craves.
Some of the biggest culprits are soft drinks, candy, cakes, pies, cookies, fruit drinks, desserts, cereal, condiments, bread, flavored yogurt, flavored oatmeal, canned soup, salad dressings, ice cream, Ice tea, sport drinks, fruit cups, BBQ sauce and pasta sauce and much, much more.
There are many health problems that have been linked with sugar. These health problems include chronic inflammation, heart disease, cancer, dementia, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, acne, infertility and impotence.
Did you know the United States spends over $150 billion dollars each year in medical expenses which is only going to increase and the Dutch Health Minister, Paul Van der Velpen, proclaims that sugar to be worse than alcohol, tobacco and cocaine combined?
We have just looked at why sugar is extremely hazardous to your health. There are two factors we need to look at first if you want to make changes in your sugar intake. How much sugar are you consuming and what kind of sugar do you eat. Consumed in moderation, sugar is a helpful source of energy. That is only true based on where you get it from. Sugar by eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables and honey, your body knows how to extract the maximum benefit from these natural healthy sources.
The food industry produces billions of dollars’ worth of cheap sugar which is more than likely from GMO sugar beets. It is nearly impossible today to find commercially manufactured products that does not contain one or more sources of sugar. So while the food companies get richer, we get sicker.
It is time to choose a “healthier” sugar, opting for the more natural sugar options at the grocery stores. So let’s take a look at what sugars to avoid and what sugar is a better choice?
Refined white sugar is completely stripped of all nutritional value, and provides only empty calories. More than 65 percent of the white sugar available commercially is made from GMO sugar beets. This is the worst choice, avoid it at all costs!
Commercial brown sugar is nothing more than refined white sugar with some molasses added back in for color and flavor. Don’t be fooled by the color or claims. It’s just as bad.
Evaporated cane juice: Made from sugar cane, opposed to sugar beets. It is slightly less refined than white sugar, and therefore retains more color, flavor, and nutrients from the sugar cane. The only difference between commercial evaporated cane juice and white sugar is that the former goes through one less step of refinement.
Raw organic cane sugar: This type of sugar is less processed than refined white sugar, and still contains some of the original nutrients present in cane juice. These include amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and even some antioxidants. Because it’s organic, you also won’t be exposed to the pesticides present in commercially grown sugar. It is obviously a better choice than refined white sugar.
Coconut sugar: Coconut sugar is harvested from the sap of the coconut plant through a very natural process of extracting the juice, and then allowing the water to evaporate. Process-wise, it is one of the most sustainable methods of sugar production, and the product also contains a small amount of fiber and other nutrients. Coconut also contains a lower percentage of fructose than the other sugars listed, which makes it a healthy option.
Maple syrup – Not to be confused with the “pancake syrup” that is made from high fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring which is not a good choice.
Real maple syrup is made by boiling the sap of maple trees into a concentrated and sweet syrup. People associate maple syrup with pancakes and waffles, but maple syrup is a delicious sweetener for use instead of refined sugar. Maple syrup contains small amounts of calcium and zinc and a significant amount of riboflavin. Riboflavin is essential for helping you derive energy from the food you eat, and also has antioxidant functions.
Coconut water powder: It contains more naturally occurring minerals and fiber than regular cane sugar. It is made from young green Thai coconuts, a rich and natural electrolyte source. Made to use at home or on the go, using organic high quality ingredients. Organic coconut water and organic Acacia Gum. It is a taste of the tropics. You can stir it into water for an instant hydrating drink, or use it as an alternative to refined sugars or sweeteners in your recipes.
Stevia – Is an herb native to South America. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar and it has no calories or no glycemic impact.
Other than the different types of sugars discussed above, there is one “sugar” that — in its raw form — contains a highly concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help nourish and revitalize your body. As well as an increasing number of doctors and health care providers are now prescribing not only it as an alternative to standard sweeteners, but also to treat life-threatening diseases, heal chronic conditions, and keep people looking and feeling their best.
It’s Honey: According to new research and the advice of nutritionists and medical doctors if you can switch out your intake of refined sugar and use pure raw honey instead the health benefits can be enormous!
What is Honey?
Honey is far more than a natural sweetener. It is a “functional food”, which means it is a natural food with health benefits. It contains a concentrated natural dose of antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins including vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. Minerals including iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium and nutrients that nourish and re-vitalize your body. It also has unique antimicrobial properties that help fight off infections. Honey has a long history for being used to treat coughs, wounds, indigestion, skin infections, flu’s, burns and much more.
One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, yet it has a healthy glycemic load around 10 for 1 tbsp. which is a little less than a banana, and does not cause a sugar spike and elevated insulin release like white sugar. Although honey is an affordable food, bees spend thousands of hours collecting pollen from around two million flowers to make one pound of pure honey.
Supports your immune system and fights off harmful bacteria. Our bodies are under constant attack by numerous viruses and bacteria. If our immune system is down, then the body is threatened with feeling tired or fatigued, making you sick or in some more extreme cases even kill you. It is so important to fight off these threats by staying healthy. So what is so special about honey? One of it vital components is an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme, when exposed to oxygen, produces hydrogen peroxide, a strong acid that dissolves the cell walls bacteria. Because of this honey is powerful in fighting against skin infections, healing wounds and supporting our immune system. This is also the reason honey has a very long shelf life without going bad. Also honey’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidants activities make it ideal for treating wounds.
Supplies the building blocks for healthy cells. Honey has a complex array of proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other essential nutrients. When these powerful nutrients are ingested, they go to work straight away. Tuning up your heart, lungs, stomach, brain, eyes and skin. Controlling cancer-causing free radicals and stopping cell damage. Detoxifying the body of harmful pollutants and other potentially harmful toxins.
Honey Makes Excellent Cough “Medicine”. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which is a substance that relieves irritation in your mouth or throat by forming a protective film. Research shows honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over the counter cough medications, to soothe cough and related sleeping difficulties due to upper respiratory tract infections in children.
Honey Improves Your Scalp: Honey diluted with a bit of warm water has shown to significantly improve seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that causes dandruff and itching. After applying the solution every other day for four weeks, “all of the patients responded markedly.” According to the researchers.
“Itching was relieved and scaling was disappeared within one week. Skin lesions were healed and disappeared completely within 2 weeks. In addition, patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss.”
Help Boost Your Energy: A healthy, whole-food diet and proper sleep is the best recipe for boundless energy, but if you’re looking for a quick energy boost, such as before or after a workout, honey can suffice. This is particularly true for athletes looking for a “time-released fuel” to provide energy over a longer duration.
Reduce Allergy Symptoms: Locally produced honey, which will contain pollen spores picked up by the bees from local plants, introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Theoretically, this can activate your immune system and over time can build up your natural immunity against it.
The typical recommendation is to take about a teaspoon-full of locally produced honey per day, starting a few months PRIOR to the pollen season, to allow your system to build up immunity. And the key here is local.
This approach only works because it has pollen of local plants you may be allergic to. Honey from other parts of the country simply won’t work. While research on this has yielded conflicting results, one study found that, during birch pollen season, compared to the control group, the patients using birch pollen honey experienced:
60 percent reduction in symptoms
70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms
50 percent decrease in usage of antihistamines
Sleep Aid: Honey can be a health aid for sleepless nights. Similar to sugar, honey can cause a rise in insulin and release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that improves mood and happiness. “The body converts serotonin into melatonin, a chemical compound that regulates the length and the quality of sleep,” Rene Ficek, registered dietitian and lead dietitian nutritionist at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating in Chicago, Ill., told Medical Daily in an email.
Moreover, honey also contains several amino acids, including tryptophan that is commonly associated with turkey. Honey’s steady rise in insulin, according to Brennecke, causes the tryptophan in honey to enter the brain, where it’s then converted into serotonin and then into melatonin, which is a sleep aid. This hormone is responsible for regulating sleep and wake cycles.
Did you know that honey burns differently in your body than other sugars? We talked earlier on how rapidly sugar burns in your body giving you a sudden surge of energy, a sugar rush, followed by a crash. When you eat honey you don’t get the same high-low effect. You get a slow even burn of energy which allows for a more sustainable energy force that can help you when you are working, playing sports and many other activities. It is because of honeys extra enzymes that help the body to rebuild itself and also regulates how the body uses sugar. Honey gives you a more controlled energy source that doesn’t leave you exhausted, overweight or even sick. Did you know that a single spoonful of honey is loaded with over 16 types of antioxidants which is essential to rebuilding cells in the body, fight free-radicals and combat aging?
Why Choose Raw Honey?
To get all the wonderful health benefits of honey it is important to select the right honey. Research by the Palynology Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University tested 60 honey products from supermarkets and grocery stores and found that 76% of your average domestic “Grade A” type of honey is ultra-purified and highly processed, containing no trace of pollen and loaded with added sugar, corn syrup, and other dangerous chemicals.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains that any honey products that have been ultra-filtered, as these have, are not actually honey and therefore the health benefits of honey cannot be assumed.
Due to commercial honey being heavily processed, the excessive heat in this process destroys the natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in honey. Filtering and processing eliminates many of the beneficial phytonutrients including pollen and enzyme-rich propolis. The only way to achieve sparkling clear honey is by heat, so avoid the golden syrup-like honey in favor of opaque organic raw honey.
Raw honey is a concentrated source of natural goodness. Benefits include:
• A rich taste
• High nutritional benefits
• Promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestine
• Soothes and heals skin wounds
• Blocks free radicals
• Aids sleep
• Counters pollen allergies
• Reduces homocysteine levels to maintain a healthy heart
Best of all, honey does not need special storage or refrigeration – use it by the spoonful straight from the jar.
DIY Honey Home Remedies
Honey is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture, making it an ideal addition to moisturizers, shampoos, and conditioners. Along with its antimicrobial properties, honey makes a wonderful addition to homemade personal care products. The National Honey Board has a few you can try out for yourself:
- Honey Hair Conditioner: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup olive oil. Work a small amount through your hair until coated. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo as normal and rinse.
- Honey Body Moisturizer: Mix 5 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons rose oil, and 2 cups almond oil in a medium-sized bottle. Apply as needed onto wet skin.
- Honey Almond Scrub: Mix 3 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and 6 ½ tablespoons of finely crushed almonds. Rub the exfoliating scrub onto your face gently and rinse with warm water.