Friday, December 2, 2011

Sugar is BAD, mKAY?

I feel like the teacher from Southpark…(Southpark video 1 and video 2). But instead of “Drugs are Bad, mKAY?”…I’m saying, “Sugar is BAD, mKAY?” I feel like the bad guy breaking the news, especially during the holidays! But I thought it was important to share the information so that perhaps, you might consider going a little easier on sugar for the holidays and who knows, maybe you'll get inspired and let it go all together for the new year, or at least reduce your regular intake of sugar and make it for very special occasions. Moderation is key, right?

I think it is something that we all know, but I don’t think many of us realize HOW BAD sugar really is. In addition to its more known evils (weight gain, hyperactivity, tooth decay), research has shown (141 reasons article and 146 reasons article) that sugar can weaken eyesight, impair the structure of DNA, change the structure of protein, lower the enzymes ability to function, damage the pancreas, increase fluid retention, compromise the lining of the capillaries, suppress the immune system, reduce learning capacity, and slow the ability of the adrenals to function.

Further, sugar can cause premature aging, arthritis, asthma, gallstones, heart disease, appendicitis, multiple sclerosis, varicose veings, hemorrhoids, food allergies, cataracts, emphysema, atherosclerosis, headaches, migraines, loss of tissue elasticity and function, depression, hormonal imbalances, kidney stones, epileptic seizures, and constipation.

Finally, sugar also feeds cancer, so it can lead to cancer of the ovaries, play a role in pancreatic cancer in women, increase the risk of gastric cancer, lead to prostrate cancer, increase the risk of breast and stomach cancers, cause endometrial cancer, cancer of the rectum, renal carcinoma and liver tumors.

So what are your alternatives?

My preferences and recommendations are Xylitol and Stevia. Here’s a little information about each:

Xylitol is found in different fruits and vegetables, such as plums, berries and mushrooms as well as from birch trees and bark, and is produced naturally in the body. While it has the same sweetness as sugar, it has 40% fewer calories, 75% fewer carbohydrates, a low glycemic index of 7 with minimal effects on blood sugar. It is actually not considered a “sugar,” because it doesn’t display any of the negative insulin release effects as sugar. Additionally, Xylitol has been shown to reduce the risk of dental disease by killing bacteria tied to tooth decay and has other anti-bacterial, viral and fungal properties. Because of this, switching over to using Xylitol can lead to some initial digestive discomfort, but this is only because of the bad bacteria and viruses that it may be killing off initially. So upon continued use, any discomfort will pass. Finally, Xylitol is approved by the World Health Organization, European Union and Food and Drug Administration. Xylitol is my favorite alternative to sugar. Here are a few articles on Xylitol: Xylitol article, Ezine article, Zhion article, and Xyloburst article.

Stevia is an herb from the Chrysanthemum family. Stevia is significantly sweeter than sugar, but has negligible effects on blood glucose. There is even some research that it has anti-plaque benefits, but not to the levels of xylitol. The FDA is ambiguous about Stevia as it allows it to be imported as a food supplement but not a sweetener and defines Stevia as an unapproved food additive. Stevia may be used in cooking and baking, but may not caramelize like sugars. Stevia may also have a slightly bitter after taste. Some articles include: Wikipedia Stevia and

There is much discussion, and use, of agave nectar, but I am not a fan as how it is metabolized is much like sugars, corn syrup and honeys, so it negatively impacts your blood sugar and insulin levels, can feed bacteria, virus and fungi in your system and hence lead to more significant negative health consequences. A series of articles by Dr. Merkola explains more about why agave is bad, and possibly even worse than high fructose corn syrup (Merkola Article 1 and Article 2). Another Agave article that is not necessarily based on hard science or from a solid source, brings up some interesting and valid perspectives that are worth considering.

That is a little food for thought on sugar and its alternatives. Sugar is bad, Agave is not so good, whereas Xylitol is best, Stevia is another good alternative. So consider letting go of sugar in the new year and replacing it with something a little better for your body…it might just do your body, your health and your soul GOOD!

You can find me at and twitter @pilarstella.

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