The difference between artificial and natural sweeteners

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Best Sweeteners(NaturalHealth365) Every living creature is designed to run off of a simple sugar called glucose. It is the primary unit in the study of metabolism. However, there are certainly dangers involved with consuming too much sugar and glucose.

Those dangers mostly involve elevated blood sugar and insulin which trigger fat accumulation, cellular inflammation and insulin resistance.

Fructose is another simple sugar that is found in nature within fruits, honey, and plant/tree nectar. This is metabolized differently than glucose and can cause even more hazardous effects when consumed in excess. Most plant based sweeteners such as agave nectar are extremely high in fructose.

Agave was thought to be a good sweetener until health researchers found out the dangers of it is nearly 80% fructose content.

For best results – pick a ‘minimally processed’ natural sweetener

Ideal sweeteners are formed in nature and are minimally processed. These would include organic sugar, stevia, raw honey, maple syrup, etc. The greater the processing the more dangerous the sweetener can potentially be.

Due to our society’s love of sugar, scientists have been able to synthetically produce artificial sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners give us the same pleasure as sugar without the calories and dangerous effects on insulin signaling and triglyceride formation.

Unfortunately, these artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers break down into highly toxic chemical agents that damage important regions of the body.

Artificial sweeteners are often devised completely in a laboratory or they begin as sugar and undergo massive processing. Some of the most dangerous artificial sweeteners and flavor enhancers include the following:

Aspartame: Originally approved in 1981 for use in food is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is composed of 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid and 10% methanol. Excess phenylalanine has been shown to disrupt normal serotonin levels in the nervous system which can lead to depressive, emotional and psychotic disorders. Individuals who continually consume aspartame will have elevated phenylalanine.

Aspartic acid is an excitotoxin that literally over excites neurons and destroys cells. Methanol is also a neurotoxin and its absorption is also increased when aspartame is heated above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This heating breaks methanol into formaldehyde which damages the nervous system and is highly carcinogenic.

Acefultame Potassium: This artificial sweetener is often times used in combination with other artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and/or aspartame to mask any form of after taste. This sweetener has been shown to stimulate insulin secretions even though it does not increase blood sugar. Elevated insulin increases inflammation and hampers immunity.

Since Acefultame does not increase blood sugar this insulin response can stimulate reactive hypoglycemia. It has been linked to leukemia, breast cancer, thymus cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is Extremely Dangerous: This flavor enhancer and preservative is used in many canned and packaged foods. The Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine has stated that it promotes the growth of cancer cells and is highly neurotoxic in the body. Other studies have linked it to liver damage, chronic inflammation, chronic pain and weight loss resistance.

MSG is often included under deceptive names such as autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavorings, soy protein and whey protein isolate. (to name a few)

Sucralose: This artificial sweetener is marketed as if it came from natural sugar. However, it is highly processed with three chlorine atoms that damage the microflora within the human gut. The biochemist Dr. James Bown says “sucralose is simply chlorinated sugar.”

Sucralose has been shown to damage the thymus gland and inflame the liver and kidneys. Chlorine is a natural anti-septic that harms the human gut and destroys microflora leading to candida formation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, obesity and cachexia.

Sodium Benzoate: This is a type of water soluble preservative salt that is created by adding sodium hydroxide and benzoic acid. It is found in many soft drinks, energy drinks and other processed foods and drinks. Sodium Benzoate consumption has been strongly linked with neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and inflammatory disorders such as asthma.

Benzene is linked with many serious cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

What are the best ‘natural’ sweeteners?

Sweet foods were a rare delicacy for our ancient ancestors. Today, we have an unlimited supply of sugary foods and beverages at our disposal. Natural sweeteners can be used effectively in moderation to provide the sweetness that most people crave.

Here are the best natural sweeteners ranked in order based on low glycemic index and additional health benefits.

Stevia: Processed from the leaf of the stevia plant which is native to South America. This herb derivative has no effect on blood sugar, insulin signaling and triglyceride formation. It develops most of its sweetness from glycosides called stevioside and rebaudioside.

These compounds are 250-300 times sweeter than sucrose and make them the ability to withstand heat and have longer shelf life. Studies have even shown the stevia leaf to have beneficial effects at improving cellular insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type II diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lo Han Extract: A fruit plant that grows native in Southern China/Northern Thailand. Lo Han has a very low glycemic index and low sugar content. It gets the majority of its sweetness from a glycoside nutrient called mogrosides.

These mogrosides are 300 times sweeter than sugar and act as anti-oxidants that have shown abilities to inhibit cancer cell formation. This is a wonderful sweetener but can be hard to find and expensive.

Coconut Nectar: This is a very low glycemic liquid sweetener derived from the liquid sap of the coconut blossoms. The glycemic index is 35 making it one of the lowest of natural sweeteners. Also, the fructose levels are very low at 10% and it contains a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and other nutrients that enhance blood sugar stability. It is challenging to get and quite expensive.

Organic, Raw Honey: This superfood does have an effect on blood sugar and contains approximately 53% fructose so one should only consume this in moderation. Honey contains a wide array of trace minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese and selenium. These nutrients are critical for healthy cellular insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance.

Raw honey is also extremely rich in antioxidants and natural enzymes. Honey contains flavonoid anti-oxidants such as pinocembrin and pinostrobin that help reduce oxidative stress in the body and promote better enzyme activity.

Organic Blackstrap Molasses: Molasses is a byproduct of the processing of sugar. It does have an effect on glycemic index and must only be consumed in moderation. Blackstrap molasses is a very rich source of iron, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium.

Organic Grade B Maple Syrup: This syrup is a dark sap from the xylem of maple trees. It does contain sucrose, glucose and fructose and therefore has an effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. Please use in moderation. Maple syrup contains significant amounts of zinc, calcium, manganese and anti-oxidant phenol vanillin.

Sugar Alcohols: These include xylitol, glycerol, sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, and erythritol. Sugar alcohol is supposed to just pass through the body unrecognized and metabolized. This causes no blood sugar imbalances and is considered a safe sweetener. However, many individuals have reported significant gastrointestinal distress that includes cramping, bloating, gas and diarrhea.

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About the author: Dr. David Jockers owns and operates Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga. He is a Maximized Living doctor. His expertise is in weight loss, customized nutrition & exercise, & structural corrective chiropractic care. For more information – visit: DrJockers.com. Dr. Jockers is also available for long distance phone consultations to help you beat disease and reach your health goals.

References:
http://www.naturalnews.com/035382_aspartame_side_effects_headaches.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acesulfame_potassium
http://www.naturalnews.com/033914_Splenda_Essentials_sweetener.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/030110_coconut_nectar_vinegar.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=118&tname=foodspice

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  • Yaelah

    The best substitiute for sugar is not mentioned here: date honey. It far surpasses all else mentioned here besides maple.