Written by Elaine Newkirk
I often hear “Is______ a healthy sugar?” As usual I’ll educate you and let you decide.
Sucralose (Splenda -The Yellow Packets)
By James Bowen, M.D. on Splenda “In a simple word you would just as soon have DDT in your food as Splenda, because sucralose is a chlorocarbon. The chlorocarbons have long been famous for causing organ, genetic, and reproductive damage. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the testing of sucralose, even at less than the level demanded by FDA rules, reveals that it has been shown to cause up to 40% shrinkage of the thymus: A gland that is the very foundation of our immune system. It also causes swelling of the liver and kidneys, and calcification of the kidney.”
Sucrolose is marketed as a “healthful” and “natural” product since it is derived from sugar. However, its chemical structure is very different from that of sugar and sucralose is actually a chemical substance. It is produced by chlorinating sugar (sucrose). This involves chemically changing the structure of the sugar molecules by substituting three chlorine atoms for three hydroxyl groups.
The manufacturer claims that after consumption, sucralose passes through the body without being broken down for energy which makes it a no-calorie product, however because it is not utilized as energy for cells it is a toxin to the body. Despite the manufacturer’s mis-statements, sucralose does break down into small amounts of 1,6-dichlorofructose, a chemical which has not been adequately tested in humans.
While it is unlikely that sucralose is as toxic as the poisoning people are experiencing from Monsanato’s aspartame, it is clear from the hazards seen in pre-approval research and from its chemical structure that years or decades of use may contribute to serious chronic immunological or neurological disorders.
Saccharin (the Pink Packets)
Has been listed on the government’s list of suspected carcinogens for more than 2 decades. FDA warning stated on products containing saccharine as follows has been law since 1977: “USE OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH. THIS PRODUCT CONTAINS SACCHARIN WHICH HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO CAUSE CANCER IN LABORATORY ANIMALS.”
In 1978 and 1979, the National Cancer Institute conducted a study that concluded that heavy use of saccharin was related to cancer of the bladder. The National Cancer Institute defines “heavy use” as consuming two or more 8-ounce servings of a diet drink per day or six or more servings of sugar substitute per day.
Although I certainly do not suggest you use this product it may indeed be the safest of the chemical sweeteners. With almost three decades of use we at least have a track record to follow.
Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) (Usually blue packets)
It seems that the only place I could find any positive information about aspartame was to visit Monsanto’s marketing area of their website. Other research turned up the following facts.
Aspartame is a chemical concoction made up of:
Many leading physicians and scientists have appeared before the US Congress concerning disabilities, illnesses, allergies, and conditions caused by the long-term use of aspartame, particularly the phenylalanine, has caused migraines, weight gain, memory loss, and other health problems. Although phenylalanine is an amino acid if it is consumed without the balancing effect of the other amino acids that would appear in whole foods, they become dangerous excitotoxins to the brain and its function.
Now obviously aspartame will not cause these major health concerns for everyone who consumes them nor will effects be immediate. It really depends on the liver’s ability to cleanse the methyl alcohol from the system. Chronic illnesses of the digestive and immune systems actually make the chances of toxicity greater.
If you suspect these chemicals could be causing any health concerns for you, stop using them for 60 days (that’s how long it will take to get out of your system) and see if you have improvement.
Stevia (Stevia Rebaudiana that’s botanical name not a chemical additive)
Stevia is a plant often sold in the culinary herb section of plant nurseries. It is easily grown in warm climates and produces pretty white flowers. The leaves are VERY sweet and totally natural about 50 times sweeter than sugar. They do sometimes have a mild bitter aftertaste similar to artificial sweeteners. For this reason many people often consume a refined form of stevia called pure white stevia. In this pure form, stevia is about 500 times sweeter than sugar replacing at ½ teaspoon pure white stevia per cup of sugar. There have been no adverse reactions to stevia ever reported.
The FDA stated that stevia can be legally marketed as a dietary supplement under legislation enacted in 1994, however any mention of its possible use as a sweetener or tea is still strictly prohibited. It was originally allowed into the US as an additive to face creams to eliminate small wrinkles near the eyes (Simply adding the amount that sticks to a Q-tip to an ounce of lotion and applying a small amount daily, is all you need.) It is suspected that this “limited use” had something to do with political contributions from companies such as Monsanto during the time that stevia sought approval as a natural healthy sweetener.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, or polyol. Xylitol metabolism does not require insulin and it does not promote tooth decay thus products sweetened with xylitol can be labeled “sugar free”. Xylitol extracted from birch tree pulp is used in candies, chewing gum, and natural-ingredient toothpastes. Xylitol is considered a nutritive sweetener because it provides calories, just like sugar. It occurs naturally in straw, corncobs, fruit, vegetables, cereals, mushrooms, and some seaweeds.
Xylitol, a natural sugar found in some fruits, interferes with the growth of some bacteria that may cause ear infections. It also decreases fermentation and bacterial growth in the mouth. In double-blind research, children who chewed gum sweetened with xylitol had a reduced risk of ear infections. Although it is not a common sweetener, it may be a safe alternative in commercially produced synthetic sweeteners.
Raw Cane Sugar (The natural brown packets)
Often seen as Turbinado or Fair Trade raw cane, this is a very usable carbohydrate. It is usually extracted from the whole cane by rollers which press the sweet juice out. The juice is then cleaned by adding minerals (often lime) that “settle” the dirt out of the liquid, it is then heat evaporated and crystallized. Provided that you want a raw sugar the process then stops. Because little is added to raw sugar, the body is able to use it as fuel and will be easily metabolized as energy if consumed in direct ratio to need. Although a digestive enzyme such as amylase may be needed if consumption is frequent.
FYI: It takes about a ton of cane to make 200 pounds of raw sugar. Each acre of land yields between 32 tons per season in Florida to 96 tons per acre in Hawaii. Waste fibers are usually used as fuel for the sugar factory.
If refined sugar is made the minerals that occur naturally are removed, being refined into white sugar and molasses. This process makes the body use it’s own minerals to balance the sugars in the body. This along with the decreased additives explains while raw sugar is a healthier choice than refined.
Honey and Maple Syrup
Honey and Maple Syrup are much like raw sugar. Provided that they are from good sources and not refined the body can use them and therefore are not a problem if consumed in qualities that will be utilized rather than stored. I prefer local honey that is raw, however have heard frequent warnings that this in too much bacteria for a child under two years old due to their immature immune system.
Just to help you with the decision making. I limit sugar to small quantities of Raw sugar in home baking, xylitol in my Contentmints, which help me sleep on a stressful night, and stevia in tea.
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