September 8, 2011

Sugar-Coated Claims!

Sep 8
I believe that marketing campaigns and gigantic advertising budgets often lead us astray and far, far away from truly healthy living. One such example would be artificial sweeteners! Irrespective of fancy advertising, these products are absolutely detrimental to your health! We all know the dangers of consuming too much sugar and that sugar is simply not healthy for us. Because of this, many are lead to believe that artificial sweeteners are the safer and healthier alternative. In fact, you might even think you’re doing the right thing for your health and the health of your family by using these products. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! In fact, 85 percent of all complaints registered with the FDA have to do with artificial sweeteners – that alone should warn you! Years ago, saccharin and aspartame were approved for public consumption even though both were plagued with negative clinical data even prior to the approval process. As most people now know, both of these artificial sweeteners cause an entire litany of health problems! They have been linked to a number of concerns including migraines, hives, cancer, seizures, diabetes, birth defects – everything but the kitchen sink! So just as people began to understand the dangers of saccharin and aspartame, a new cause for concern was brewing. Today, one of the most misleading products out there is Splenda (sucralose) – “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar”. This product has quickly become the number one selling artificial sweetener and I’m willing to bet that its misleading marketing slogan has much to do with it. There is no doubt that sucralose does start off as a sugar molecule. However, what is done with it is rather alarming! Basically, the process of making sucralose involves binding three chlorine molecules to a sugar molecule. This is completely unnatural. No sugar molecule is compounded with chlorine anywhere in nature. In actuality, sucralose belongs to a class of chemical substances called chlorocarbons and these are well known for their widespread toxicity. In fact, the insecticide DDT also belongs in the same class of chemical substances. As a result of being so unnatural and foreign, your body cannot recognize sucralose. Therefore, your body does not posses the ability to adequately metabolize it. It’s not that Splenda naturally has zero calories – the truth is that your body just cannot recognize it and as a result, cannot fully metabolize it! What is even more dangerous is that studies indicate that anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent of the sucralose is actually absorbed into your digestive system and ultimately stored in your body. So even though not all of it metabolized, some of it actually is! Essentially, a chemical substance whose closest chemical substance is an insecticide is being stored within your body! Who in their right mind would knowingly allow this?! In my opinion, it is best to stay away from sugar and all artificial sweeteners. It is important that you realize that if you’re consuming ‘food’ created in a lab and not by nature, your body must then try to process an unrecognizable substance.This can be very dangerous as it opens the door to short term and long lasting health problems for both you and your family. If you simply cannot do without a sugar substitute, I would suggest you try stevia. Stevia is a non-caloric herb from Paraguay that has been used as a sweetener for over 1,500 years in South America. Unlike aspartame and sucralose that are chemical substances, stevia is a natural alternative for sugar. I do need to point out that if you have insulin sensitivity issues, you would be best to avoid sweeteners altogether. All sweeteners (including stevia) can decrease sensitivity to insulin and should be left out of your diet for that reason. For everyone else who is looking for a sugar substitute, I believe stevia is the best sweetener out there. Just be careful to use pure stevia extract as opposed to the various stevia compounds (with fillers) that can be found on the market. We use the KAL brand (available in both powder and liquid forms) in our household and have found that they have much less of the bitter aftertaste than other stevia products. Please be aware that sugar substitutes are in a large variety of food products. Be very careful to read labels of all items you purchase to avoid unnecessary chemicals and toxins. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments! References:
  • “Sweet Deception: Why Splenda, NutraSweet, and the FDA May Be Hazardous to Your Health”; Joseph Mercola and Kendra Degen Pearsall; 2006
  • “Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda”; Carolyn de la Pena; 2010
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Sugar Substitutes – Are They Safe?; Scottie Misner; May 2001
  • “The Diet Cure”; Julia Ross, MA; 1999, p. 36 – p. 37