Natural and Sweet

We all enjoy a little sweetness in our lives, yet there’s no getting away from the negative effects of sugar. A wealth of scientific evidence links this acidic poison to a legion of harmful consequences including immune system suppression, a rise in bad cholesterol, tooth decay, premature aging, a mal-absorption of nutrients, Candida growth, hormone imbalance and an increase in free-radicals. Sugar also contributes to obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, vision problems and migraines and is found to feed cancer cells. With no saving graces, sugar is highly deleterious to the systems of the body.

We crave sugar if our blood sugar levels are out of kilter. This occurs by consuming sugary foods and refined carbohydrates such as white flour that are quickly converted into sugar by the body. It’s a catch 22; the more sugar you eat, the more you crave. Aside physical detriments, the highs and lows of sugar addiction cause mood swings, irritability and a loss of concentration.

Artificial sweetness such as aspartame and saccharine are dangerous alternatives which break down into hazardous toxins in the body. Methyl alcohol derived from aspartame, for example, converts into the neurotoxin and carcinogen formaldehyde and formic acid which has the chemical composition of ant venom. Formic acid is used commercially in products such as paint stripper.

The synthetic amino acids that compose aspartame – phenylalanine and aspartic acid are seriously poisonous. According to Dr. John Olney, a neuroscientist at Washington University, St. Louis, Aspartic acid (40% of aspartame) causes holes in the brains of mice. Further, phenylalanine (50% of aspartame) causes seizures and degrades into DKP, a tumor causing agent.

Aspartame has a staggering 92 official side effects and countless studies have linked it with damage to the nervous system and neurological problems. Saccharin even tells you on the package that their product can cause cancer.

Complaints about aspartame represent 80-85 per cent of all food complaints registered to the FDA. There is Strong statistical evidence which links aspartame to breast cancer. American Cancer Society figures show that breast cancer cases have doubled since 1981, the year aspartame was approved for use as a food additive.

What if there was a healthy alternative that not only tasted sweet but actually had positive effects on the body? Sound too good to be true?

Stevia is a natural sugar substitute, a healthy sweet food that, quite the opposite of sugar, can regulate blood sugar levels and improve stamina. Used for centuries in native Paraguay, stevia is now widely popular in Japan, where thorough testing has revealed its benevolent use as a sweetener. The glycosides in stevia that give it it’s sweet taste are not metabolised by the body so no calories are absorbed. Further more it hosts an array of healthy nutrients such as phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium and zinc, vitamins C and A, protein and fibre and, unlike sugar, does not cause the growth of unhealthy bacteria or fungi.

Stevia, in balancing blood sugar can actually alleviate cravings for sweet foods and has been observed to reduce the appetite if taken 15-20 minutes before eating. It has also been revealed as a diuretic that can help rid the body of excess fluid.

If looking for an alternative to sugar, this remarkable non-caloric herb is the ultimate sugar subsititute; healthy, tasty and sweet! Stevia can be found in liquid or powder form in many healthfood stores or online and there are numerous cook books available with stevia recipes.

Sweet vegetables such as carrots, butternut squash and sweet potatoes, and superfood fruits such as berries, papaya, figs and prunes rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, are also great substitutes when kicking the sugar habit. Vegetables high in fibre and healthy whole grains also serve to stabalise blood sugar levels and ensure a slow release of energy into the blood stream, dimishing the rushes and subsequent cravings associated with sugary foods and refined carbohydrates.