Sugar (and artificial sweeteners aka “fake sugar”) is in my opinion the worst thing in the American diet. Sugar, which exists in almost every processed food in some form, leads to diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, rotten teeth, promotes weight gain, is highly addictive, raises your cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, and it can give you cancer. This sounds very dramatic, but all of these things are true and as Americans I feel we aren’t being informed about how terrible sugar is for us. This might have something to do with the food industry and how they monetarily support our government- politics of course.
The point is that sugar is dangerous and I made the decision years ago to eat as little sugar and processed foods as possible. When I made this decision I didn’t even know how bad sugar was for me, I just knew that when I ate sugar I felt shaky and weak, especially with regard to my chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms. They were worse when I consumed sugar so I stayed away from it as much as possible. In the past 10 years I have continued to cut more sugar from my diet and now when I eat sugary things I think they’re too sweet and I don’t like the taste at all.
When I’m craving chocolate, I eat dark chocolate and have grown to love the stronger flavor than milk chocolate, which is mostly sugar anyway. When I’m craving something sweet, I will have a handful of grapes, a clementine, a banana, or some other fruit. I have found that I cannot drink fruit juice anymore because it gives me the same shaky feeling I have when eating dessert.
Regarding “fake sugars”, I have as much concern about them as I do about real sugar. I don’t think it’s a good idea to stay away from real sugar and then put toxic chemicals in my body, so I just don’t eat sugar, real or fake, very much at all. However, I have heard good things about the natural, plant based sweetener, Stevia, which can help lower blood pressure and ease stomach problems as well as being a natural sweetener. That is promising. Also Xylitol is another sweetener that seems to have some benefits as well. It naturally occurs in fruit and in our own bodies. It is a sugar alcohol and as such has a lower glycemic response than sucrose or glucose. In addition, it helps prevent gum disease. Wow a sweetener that’s actually good for your teeth!
If I have to use a sweetener it is usually honey or agave nectar. Honey has anti-viral and antibacterial properties in addition to being a natural sweetener, and I always make sure I’m using locally produced honey as well so I can ensure its quality. Agave nectar is a sweetener used by the Aztecs for thousands of years. It’s from the Agave plant, the same plant used to produce tequila and it has a low glycemic index so it does not raise blood sugar. it has a long history as a miracle plant used to cure various diseases
My conclusion about sugar is that if you have to have sweetener, use Stevia or Xylitol, but in general I try to do without it. I will sometimes use a spoonful of honey or agave nectar as well if I have to have something sweetened but usually I find it better for me to do without. After all, I’m sweet enough as it is!! 🙂