Anything that is too good to be true usually is…unless you’re talking about dark, rich and handsome chocolate! Time to hit the pause button on the biggest loser in the diet industry and we’re NOT talking about that reality show. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. Yikes! they are not your friend. That nagging feeling in the back of your mind when you sprinkle some on your cereal, coffee or whatever, could be right. What are the so-called health claims of artificial sweeteners based on? Are they really better for your than sugar? How did we get into this mess in the first place? What are you trading you virtuous abstention of sugar for???
1.) Forgoing sugar may be prevent you from putting your dentist’s children through college but “the acid in diet soda still could contribute to dental erosion,”
2.) Aspartame, the main ingredient in NutraSweet turns into formaldehyde in the body. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to embalm myself. Oh and did I mention it was carcinogenic? Aspartame causes adverse reactions such as brain fog, because it damages brain cells, causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and increases cravings for sugar. In general artificial sweetners are 100 times sweeter than sugar. When you ingest them the taste receptors in your tongue register a sweet taste and cause the body to release insulin to break down sugar. Since artificial sweeteners have no calories and cannot be processed by the body because they are not real food the insulin remains elevated, waiting for sugar to break down and your overall blood sugar drops. What happens next? You need to eat something, preferably sweet, to stave off the drop in blood sugar, thus consuming more calories than you originally would have if you just had a couple packets of sugar or that can of REAL coke.
3.) What about splenda? Isn’t it actually real sugar but it has no calories? Splenda is really sucralose which was accidentally discovered in a lab when some chemists were trying to produce insecticide. One of my Mom’s friends says they actually use it to kill ants in their home. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to put that stuff in my body!
4.) What about real sugar? It’s not the best for you but it is certainly better than artificial sweeteners. In general, the white sugar that is refined and bleached in factories (to look pretty) is too refined (very processed) and the body breaks it down very quickly causing an inflammatory response and, therefore, a decrease in immunity. All the same, a couple of packets of sugar will not kill you. They are certainly better than the poisonous, alternative sugar packets.
5.) What about those sneaky sugar alcohols, you know the ones found on the packets of processed food? They cause bloating and diarrhea. Sounds like fun, right?
Kick those pink, blue and yellow packets to the curb or, preferably, the trash and your body will thank you for it. If you can’t break up with sucralose, aspartame or sugar at least consider cutting down and see how you feel. Why not try adding the below, less well-known but delicious and beneficial alternatives.
1.) Stevia is an herb derived from a plant in South America, used by the indigenous peoples. Stevia, like the artificial sweeteners, contains zero calories but it is a naturally occurring substance that will not cause the above side effects. Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar and doesn’t adversely affect the body’s glucose levels. As wonderful as it sounds, they are still substances that should be used in moderation. You can have too much of a good thing! I find that the NOW Stevia packets taste the best. There’s also Truvia. There are so many different brands and they all taste different. Find the one that tastes best for you.
2.) Honey, especially raw honey (which is pesticide free), not only sweetens things and makes them taste amazing but it has antiseptic properties. It contains approx 60 calories per tablespoon.
3.) Agave Nectar (the light kind tastes most like honey and the dark kind has a molasses flavor) is a sweetener derived from the agave plant. The agave plant also produces tequila. Don’t be fooled by the name. Agave nectar contains zero alcohol and tastes wonderful. It has a lower glycemic index than white rice so it is the best alternative to honey if you are concerned about blood sugar levels. It also contains approx 60 calories per tablespoon.
4.) Brown rice syrup is another blood sugar friendly product which is produced by fermenting brown rice. It has a unique caramel-like flavor. Brown rice syrup contains approx 75 cal per tablespoon.
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Check out this tricky marketing tactic (photos attached) for diet cherry 7-up which “claims” to have antioxidants. The only beneficial item on the can, laden with cancer-causing ingredients, is a small dose of vitamin E. I’ll take my vitamins instead thank you very much!
Thank you for reading this newsletter. The sources are there and the alternatives exist. Don’t believe everything you read, even this newsletter if you so choose. Find what is true for yourself and may the truth set you free!
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