High sugar intake causes a lot of problems—including brain fog, sluggishness and food cravings. Left unchecked, it will lead to serious problems like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and dementia—side note, Alzheimer’s is also referred to as diabetes of the brain. Many Americans experience symptoms related to sugar consumption but do not realize that is what they are suffering from. Thankfully, we have alternatives to sugar to substitute into our diets.
The US’ Sugar Over-consumption
Over the past several decades, sugar has gone from being a once-in-a-while treat to something we consume all day long, every day. Many people, when confronted with this fact, will acknowledge that this is so; however, they’ll think of the friend at work who seems to subsist entirely upon jelly donuts and soda or the relative who devours a pint of ice cream every evening all while they deny that they themselves are victim to this circumstance. They, and perhaps you too, are consuming far more sugar than realized. Consider the following:
- The day starts off with coffee, which is usually sugared, I’m from New York City where a regular coffee contains milk and two packs or cubes of sugar—or made with a sugar-laden flavoring.
- The coffee is accompanied by a doughnut or muffin, which we think is good for us because it is a bran muffin–HA! It’s packed with sugar. We’d also eat a bagel covered with cream cheese and jelly—more sugar.
- Our kids’ breakfast cereals are sugar-covered, processed grains, and their lunches are full of sugar-laden junk like Gatorade, processed cheeses, white bread and supposedly healthy snacks like granola bars, which are actually sugar bombs in disguise.
- Dinner might not look like it has much sugar–until we read the ingredients of what we’re eating. Salad dressings, tomato sauce and ketchup all are packed with sugar.
A recent report found that as much as 25 percent of the American population’s calorie consumption comes from added sugar!
What is all this sugar doing to our health?
As Americans, we eat over 65 teaspoons of sugar every single day!
This is utter insanity, and most experts agree that sugar is by far the worst food for your health. There is literally no safe amount of processed and refined sugar!
- Sugar creates an addictive response in the brain. These cravings are not much different than those experienced by drug addicts. And, just like with other drugs, the more sugar you consume, the more you crave.
- Sugar causes cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Those who eat the most sugar see an increased death rate of 250 percent. Every additional can of soda increases the risk of diabetes by 1 percent. Those who are pre-diabetic have a 60 percent increased risk of dying from heart disease.
- Sugar stresses the liver, which can cause nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This can lead to liver inflammation and cirrhosis. According to a recent study, NAFLD is present in 17–33 percent of Americans!
- Sugar is one of the bigger contributors to the aging process and the development of degenerative diseases. When sugar binds with protein, it forms a sort of crust around our cells and breaks down the protein structure. Sugar is the best way to get fat and speed up the aging process.
What are some sweeteners to avoid?
- Sucralose (Splenda). This is an artificial sweetener that inhibits the absorption of zinc and iodine, which then decreases healthy gut bacteria by up to 50 percent. And we all know how important healthy gut bacteria is to immune function, digestion and overall health.
- Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal and the not-yet-released AminoSweet). is often found in diet soda. It has been linked to stroke, headaches, seizures, memory loss, dementia and cancer.
- Agave nectar. This is a popular sweetener found in health food stores. Agave nectar received a lot of attention as a “healthy” alternative to sugar—my mother-in-law thought this stuff was simply fabulous. Unfortunately, this was another marketing lie. Agave is 90 percent fructose; by comparison, table sugar is 50 percent fructose. Therefore, agave is really unhealthy because of the risk of NAFLD, diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
- Hidden Sugars. These are a serious problem because they are hidden. Ketchup is a great example since it often has more sugar by volume than ice cream. Check a product’s ingredients for corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown rice syrup, brown sugar, dehydrated cane juice, cane crystals, concentrated fruit juice, dextrin, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, xylose, maltitol and sorbitol.
Natural Sugar Substitutes
- Honey. Honey is a whole food and has been used for many tens of thousands of years. Honey is easier on blood sugar than other sweeteners and doesn’t need insulin to metabolize. Honey includes minerals, vitamins and some antibiotic properties. It is also a prebiotic that supports the immune system and can help with seasonal allergies. I always suggest raw honey in a glass jar.
- Maple Syrup. Maple syrup has been consumed for centuries and was common among Native Americans before the Europeans arrived. Grade-B is darker and richer in minerals than grade-A. Always look for organic maple syrup.
- Monk Fruit. Monk fruit is a natural sweetener and does not impact blood sugar. It is 150 times sweeter than sugar. Make sure to find it without dextrose!
- Stevia. Stevia is a very sweet herb from the South American Stevia plant. It does not raise blood sugar and is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Some people have negative hormonal effects from Stevia such as acne; it should be avoided by children and pregnant women. Make sure the Stevia you use is not bleached, is not chemically altered or contains added maltodextrin. Some people may have gas or bloating or a bitter after taste.
- Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural insulin stabilizer that can be added to most baked goods. Only small amounts should be used though as it can cause gas, bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.
Fruit is a great option to satisfy sugar cravings. Other options include kombucha or sparkling water with some citrus or herbal tea.
You do not need added sugar, and, with a good, nourishing diet, your body will no longer crave it.
Eliminating sugar is one of the very best things you can do for your health, weight, mind and looks!
Let Krieger Health Solutions Help You Eliminate Sugar
A well-nourished body opens the door for so many opportunities. If you want to know more about detoxifying yourself from sugar, please contact Krieger Health Solutions to schedule a free consultation. You can reach us at 770-993-4425.
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