Somewhere within all of us is a sweet tooth that has powers over our brains and tells us that it is ok to drink that soda pop or munch on that candy bar. Then as parents, allow the same for our children discarding it as “it’s what kids are supposed to do.” The reality is this, refined sugar is a major factor in causing obesity and chronic disease. It feeds cancer cells, triggers weight gain and promotes premature aging, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola (www.mercola.com). It is said that the average American consumes between 2 and 3 pounds of it a week. Whoa. That’s scary.
The most common refined sugars come in the forms of sucrose (table sugar), dextrose (corn sugar), and high-fructose corn syrup and are being processed into so many foods such as bread, peanut butter, breakfast cereal, mayonnaise, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, and a wealth of microwave meals. So to answer the burning question everyone is thinking right now… Yes, this also means we have to be aware and fully conscious of the food we are eating for the next 30 days because if it has any of the above mentioned in the ingredients then it is a no no!
Let us not forget about the artificial sweeteners. The most common are aspartame, sold under the trade names Equal and NutraSweet, and sucralose, sold under the trade name of Splenda. Artificial sweeteners can slingshot us towards adult-onset diabetes by increasing our desire for sweets, killing our taste buds and inducing insulin resistance. Aspartame causes additional problems because of its chemical breakdown. A molecule of aspartame consists of two amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) linked by a molecule of methanol, the alcohol found in antifreeze. Yes, I did say antifreeze. At 30C (86F), lower than body temperature, the three components come apart and each has distinctive effects. The methanol is metabolized in your body to formaldehyde and then to formic acid. Both of these are very potent metabolic poisons. Phenylalanine and aspartic acid both mimic brain neurotransmitters. They can disrupt the balance of these chemicals, causing depression, seizures, memory problems and problems with concentration and learning. They may also be a factor in the development of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), as well as multiple sclerosis.
My Safe List.
Trying out any of the following gets an ok from me: raw honey, stevia, and fresh fruit. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how sweet and delicious these really are. Raw honey, known for its vast healing properties, it is packed with live enzymes and is one of the top nutrient rich foods on the planet and is an overall delicious sweetener. Possibly the best sweetener might be the herb stevia. There is not much research done on this low- calorie herb because of resistance to its marketing by the sugar industry, but it does look promising. Stevia is the powdered leaf of the green plant. The leaf is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, without the bitter aftertaste that chemical artificial sweeteners can have. There is some evidence that stevia can regulate blood sugar, kill mouth bacteria and improve digestion. It is also believed to contain properties that actually nourish the pancreas. Because of its scarcity though, caution should be taken that the sweetener is from a reputable company. I always hear the argument about consuming too much fructose (sugar) related with fresh fruits. The truth is that fruits do contain high amounts fructose, but they also contain many essential vitamins and other nutrients. My resolution to this is, first, always eat your fruits in the morning time. If you do this your body will burn off the fructose with ease using it as fuel for the day. And second, make sure to eat fruit before it gets overly ripe. As fruit ripens, the fructose levels go up and the antioxidants and vitamin C goes down.
For my entire life and I am sure most of yours, we have been damaging our bodies inside and out with the refined sugar. Fortunately, our body has an amazing ability to heal itself when given the basic nutrition it needs, and your liver has an incredible ability to regenerate after being overwhelmed by toxins from chemicals we put in our bodies. If you start making changes today, your health WILL begin to improve, returning you to the state of vitality that nature intended. So I challenge you to take the 30 day sugar sabbatical a see how “great” actually feels. :)
Rockin’ Wellness to you, Seth