© 2016 Kebba Buckley Button, MS, OM. World Rights Reserved.
Do you sometimes wonder about the benefits and health costs of sugar vs. artificial sweeteners? Have you ever had the idea that you should cut back on sugar? Was it your dentist who suggested it, saying sugar could cause cavities? Or was it someone telling you that sugar makes you gain weight? Then, if you cut back on sugar, what are your sweet alternatives? In the US, various ideas about sugar being Bad For You caused a great increase in the development of artificial sweeteners, and in the 1960’s, the war of the sweeteners was on.
Cyclamates were big in Europe, and those compounds tasted much like sugar. They were banned in the US after a study showed they caused cancer in lab rats. Saccharin took over the sweetener market, and diet sodas began showing up everywhere. There were even store-brand sodas made with saccharin. The same group that said cyclamates were Bad For You now said saccharin was Bad For You, and aspartame (“Nutrasweet” and several other names) hit the market. Many tried it and liked it; many got headaches and kidney pain. For years, respected sources have been saying Nutrasweet is actually dangerously Bad For You. One detailed resource on this is Dr. Joseph Mercola’s webpage: http://aspartame.mercola.com/ . Are you sensing a pattern here?
The next artificial sweetener to come out was Splenda (sucralose). But this year it has been proven to cause cancer. And many had digestive distress from it. Now are you seeing a pattern here, about trying to avoid sugar by trying artificial sweeteners? Some other unpleasant findings about artificial sweeteners:
- Caused lab monkeys to lose their sense of food volume, resulting in a huge increase in how much they ate
- Are associated with decreased sweet-sensing in normal sweet foods and a decrease in palatability of non-sweet foods like vegetables. Sugared sweets tasted less satisfying and vegetables became yukky.
- Are associated with metabolic syndrome and weight gain in humans
- May be addictive. Rats preferred saccharin to cocaine in one study. Look out, humans!
Plus, in Chinese medicine, it’s not the calories in sugar that swell your waistline. It’s the quality of yin (the expanding forces of the Universe) in a food or drink. So anything you consume that is sweet for any reason—will cause your belly to get bigger.
This brings us around to the natural sweetener, stevia. It is FDA approved, available in many health food stores and even in sodas. But if you’re adding it to foods and drinks to “lose weight”, i.e., be thinner, stevia is still yin and could cause your waistline to swell. Time to add ab lifts to your workout.
Sugars have been condemned for rotting teeth and leading us to diabetes. But those studies are done with refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup. Until studies are done on the effects of unrefined sugars, consider sticking to small amounts of raw honey, maple syrup, and dried cane syrup. Also, cinnamon sprinkled on top of foods or beaten into your scrambled eggs will enhance sweetness. Your best bet with desserts is to skip the highly sweetened ones and switch to fruit. Fruit contains much more nutrition than conventional cake and ice cream, and it will fill and satisfy you in many fewer calories.
The moral of this story is: switch what you swallow, and you’ll feel better and look better. And that’s Upbeat Living!
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- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition(http://tinyurl.com/mqg3uvc ). Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine, available through her office. Just email SacredMeditation@kebba.com.
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