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You obviously know we need to consume less sugar – and rightly so. However, despite the numerous warnings by health authorities of the ill effects of sugar, the majority of the population is still consuming sugar on a daily basis in some form or other.

Nancy Appleton, PhD, clinical nutritionist, has compiled a list of 146 reasons on ‘how sugar is ruining your health’ in her book Lick the Sugar Habit. Here are some of them:

• Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
• Sugar feeds cancer
• Sugar increases cholesterol
• Sugar can weaken eyesight
• Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
• Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
• Sugar causes food allergies
• Sugar contributes to diabetes
• Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
• Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
• Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
• Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
• Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
• Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
• Sugar contributes to osteoporosis

With 146 proven reasons why sugar is bad for us, is there perhaps one single reason as to why we might need it? The only interesting thing about sugar is that it tastes good and makes us temporarily feel good.

The news on artificial sweeteners isn’t sweet either. Artificial sweeteners are notorious for making you gain weight and become unhealthy. That’s right. If you think about that for a second, it defies all logic, yet it is the bitter and ironic truth.

Artificial sugar is far from the low calorie, “healthy” option it is touted to be by the manufacturing companies and those hand-in-glove with them. The chemical name for Splenda is “sucralose”, chosen deliberately for how much like “sucrose” it sounds. Only, it isn’t sucrose, but tricholosucrose, meaning that it is has chlorine in it. So calorie counting dieters beware, you might be doing your body more harm than good in the long run.

Murder By Artificial SweetenersArtificial sweeteners mess with your metabolism. The scoop on artificial sweeteners is that they slow down the body’s metabolism and put you at the risk of metabolic disorders and consequent weight gain. The idea that obesity could very well have it’s roots in a diet of low calorie sweets and soft drinks, as ludicrous as it sounds, could be entirely true. According to a scientific study done in the United States in 2008 on a sample of 18,000 people consuming one or more artificially sweetened, “diet” drinks per day increased their risk of acquiring metabolic disorders by 30 to 40 percent. This might give us an inkling as to why obesity is on the rise, for instance.

Aspartame: The deadliest of them all. Another artificial sweetener Aspartame is known for causing a range of health problems and worrying symptoms from seizures to brain tumors. The controversy runs that the FDA has approved Aspartame as “safe”, yet it is one of the most dangerous additive to be forced upon the public by deceitful means. Only 90 different symptoms have been documented as a result of Aspartame consumption and these include anxiety attacks, slurred speech, fatigue, depression, migraine, tinnitus, vertigo, heart palpitations, nausea and muscle https:. Epilepsy, brain tumors and chronic fatigue have not been ruled out either as chronic symptoms of long-term exposure to Aspartame.

The wonderful thing is that we do not have to give up the sweetness of sugar in order to be healthy; we just need to REPLACE it with better alternatives. While giving up sugar is very difficult, replacing it is now very easy. There are two natural, organic sugar alternatives that are sweet, easy to use and cook with – stevia and xylitol. They may sound like chemicals but they are completely natural and have been proven not only safe but beneficial for our well-being.

The best one to use is Stevia that has been used as a sweetener in South America for hundreds of years. It is calorie-free, which means it has no effect on our bodies’ production of insulin. Stevia, in its powdered concentrate, is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so only tiny amounts are needed for sweetening. Stevia is widely used all over the world. There have not been any reports of toxicity with stevia, which is consumed by millions of people daily. In Japan, for example, it claims 41% of the sweetener market, including sugar, and was used in Japanese Diet Coke until the company replaced it with aspartame (to “standardize” worldwide).

The only thing that deters people using stevia is that it can taste a little bitter in drinks and in some recipes, but this can be overcome by using another wonderful sweetener, called xylitol, in combination with stevia for ideal sugar replacement.

Xylitol is a natural substance found in fibrous vegetables and fruit, as well as in corn cobs and various hardwood trees, like birch. It is a natural, intermediate product that regularly occurs in the glucose metabolism of humans and animals, as well as in the metabolism of several plants. Xylitol is so natural that our bodies produce up to 15 grams of it daily during normal metabolism. Xylitol has been known to organic chemistry since the 1890’s.

Studies on both humans and rodents have shown that xylitol, when administered orally, is well tolerated and safe to levels of at least 40g per day (which equates to some 10-12 teaspoons of sugar) with no subjective or objective adverse findings.

Relatively high quantities of xylitol are found in plums, raspberries and cauliflower (0.3 to 0.9 g per 100 g dry matter; the quantities vary depending on plant varieties).

Xylitol looks, feels and tastes exactly like sugar – though that is where the similarity ends! While sugar wreaks havoc on the body, xylitol heals and repairs. It also builds immunity.

There are many benefits of using xylitol as a sugar substitute:

• Glycemic index of 7 (sucrose is 60)
• Minimal effect on blood sugar and insulin levels
• Inhibits yeast, including Candida Albicans (It actually helps fight candida)
• Inhibits plaque and dental cavities by 80% (Dentists use it and recommend xylitol toothpaste)
• Retards demineralization, and promotes re-mineralization, of tooth enamel

The only problem with xylitol is that it costs more than sugar, however, if we combine it with stevia in the ratio of 12:1 (12 parts of xylitol to 1 part of stevia), it becomes more cost effective and is a healthy way to sweeten our taste buds and satisfy our brain! Imagine eating cakes and chocolates that not only taste good but are also good for our teeth? You can literally have your cake and enjoy it without the guilt or empty detrimental sugar calories!