If you haven’t heard the grim truth about sugar, then listen up. All types of processed and refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, and glucose, and processed foods that list one or more of these as the main ingredients are not your friend. The massive amounts of refined sugars contained in the typical Western diet are designed to stimulate appetites and increase consumption. All commercially processed foods made with added sugar contain glucose and fructose. Approximately one third of all calories in the average American diet come from refined sugar and corn syrup consumption

By the age of sixty-five, many Americans experience obesity, kidney stones, tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease and other related debilitating ailments. Blood-sugar spikes create insulin surges as processed sugar is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. That is just one of the many facts about sugar that you need to consider when reaching for the sugar bowl. Processed sugar also plays a role in the possible onset of insomnia, depression, hypertension, colon and pancreatic cancer, skin breakouts and metabolic syndrome. Refined sugar depletes the body of B vitamins and other nutrients, which can lead to indigestion and allergies.

According to the American Dietetic and Diabetic Associations, increased sugar consumption is the leading cause of degenerative disease. The average American consumes 53 gallons of soft drink per every year. The average can of soda has about 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons of sugar. One large 64-ounce soda contains approximately 53 teaspoons of sugar! Unfortunately, carbonated soft drinks are the largest source of refined sugar in the American diet.

Opt to explore the vast variety of herbal and natural teas that can easily replace a craving for soda with a flavor to suit every taste and mood, including fruit-infused varieties and others that ease stress. The therapeutic benefits of a calming cup of tea can never be underestimated. Consider adding a touch of lemon and natural honey or agave nectar instead of unhealthy sugar to keep joints lubricated and soothe a dry or scratchy throat. Coffee, in moderation, is actually considered beneficial to trigger the brain and aid in memory tasks. Stick with decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon to minimize the risk of insomnia or restlessness at bedtime.

It’s been proven that blood sugar directly affects brain size and function. The Journal of Neurology reported a relationship was indicated between the degree of atrophy and blood- sugar measurements. Even subtle elevations of blood sugar have been tied to brain shrinkage through performed cognitive tests that pointed to a direct relationship between failing memory and blood sugar elevation.

The secret to managing most age-related diseases is to control your sugar intake, according to an article written by John Phillip for Stop Aging Now. Phillips shares insights on how sugar affects our body, “Excess blood sugar triggers a cascade of potentially deadly processes that contribute to diabetes, hardening of the coronary arteries and neuropathic complications. High glucose levels from dietary sugar and excess carbohydrate consumption provokes the release of chemical cytokines that promote arterial wall inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Eventually the pancreas is no longer able to secrete enough insulin, and the insulin that is produced is no longer able to efficiently escort sugar to the cells and muscles.” Aging systems are challenged with the rigors of keeping an over-taxed system in check and eventually succumb to sugar’s debilitating effects.

Opt for natural sweeteners found in locally produced honey and ripe fruits, such as dates and figs, to offset the negative triggers of processed sugar. Consider adding a juicer to your kitchen lineup to benefit from nature’s sweeteners and nutrients, and a full array of vitamins. Designate breakfast as a sugar-free, fresh fruit smoothie meal once or twice a week to energize the day with a base of one-third cup of low-fat, plain yogurt that depends on fruit and fiber to deliver nutrition and flavor. By adjusting to the natural sweetness of fruit, the body does not have to work as hard, which decreases the chances of diseases and chronic illness.

Artificial sweeteners are not recommended for long-term use, as they contain chemicals and a glycemic index that is slightly higher than processed sugar. It’s been suggested that artificial sweeteners can reduce brain function over time. Two hundred times sweeter than sugar, some people get headaches from the aspartame-based sweetener called Equal and certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, have been linked to its long-term use. Saccharin, the sweetening agent in Sweet ‘N Low, has been around since 1879, and is 300 times sweeter than sugar, even when used in hot beverages, and can have a metallic aftertaste. With long-term, continued use, you may get so used to saccharin’s intense sweetness that you start craving sugary treats. While saccharin has been linked to bladder cancer in rats, experts have found no conclusive evidence of its correlation with cancer in humans.

The stevia plant offers a safe alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, and is void of calories or carbohydrates in its purest state. Stevia is available in several liquid and granule forms.

Equivalent of

2 tsps. Sugar

 

Stevia

 

Sugar

 

Equal, Splenda, Sweet ‘N Low

Calories 0 32 0
Carbohydrates 0g 8g 1g
Dietary Fiber 1g 0g 0g
Glycemic Index 0 70 80
Natural/Chemical Natural Natural Chemical

Cinnamon or vinegar taken before eating can help lower post meal blood sugar spikes and can complement a proper diet. The most dependable way to naturally cut blood sugar levels is to dramatically lower calories from carbohydrate sources at each meal. Totally eliminate all processed and refined carb foods including bread, pasta, corn and rice to decrease blood sugar levels. Depending on carbohydrate sensitivity, some individuals may also need to limit fruits and starchy vegetables, like potatoes and corn. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition believes that a diet rich in monounsaturated fats such as the Mediterranean diet improves post-meal blood glucose levels and moderates healthy insulin response. (Also Read Rx for Salt – Cut it out)

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