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A Guide to Natural and Artificial Sweeteners

Posted Oct 23 2012 3:11pm

A Guide to Natural and Artificial Sweeteners

Filed under: Healthy Ideas
October 23, 2012

All of us like to add a little bit of sweetness to our diet, but how much do we really know about natural and artificial sweeteners? Are artificial sweeteners really that bad for you? And if so, how bad are they? What can we use to replace them?

These are all really important to know.. So many critics have come out and expressed their concern towards chemically processed artificial sweeteners, while their manufacturers still proclaim there is no evidence that they are unsafe.

However, after many studies, evidence shows otherwise. Artificial sweeteners can cause cancer, brain damage, birth defects, multiple sclerosis, spasms, headaches, cramps, dizziness, joint pain, anxiety attacks, depressions, vertigo, memory loss, and so much more!!

Here is a list of the most popular sweeteners from natural to unnatural. Please read so you know what you are putting in your body before it’s too late.

 

Sugar is a natural sweetener that is made from sugarcane or sugar beets. Brown sugar is from the same source, except it is mixed with molasses. Originally the sugar cane was used to chew on until the method of crystallizing sugar came about in India. At one time it was worth as much as gold, and there was a lot of controversy around it since slaves were used in sugar plantations. Even though it is quite abundant and affordable today, it should not be eaten in excess. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, tooth decay, and many more issues.

Date Sugar is a nutritious and delicious sweetener. It is also great in oatmeal or any recipe using brown sugar. Simply dehydrate the dates, and then grind them.

Fruit juice concentrate and apple sauce are a great replacements for adding sweetness to smoothies or baked goods, especially if you are trying to lose weight in a healthy way.

Honey is derived from honey bees.  High quality honey contains natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately, most of the honey sold in supermarkets has been chemically refined using excessive heat, which results in the destruction of critical nutrients. Look for unprocessed Manuka Honey or raw honey.

Stevia is an all natural derived sweetener that’s from the leaf of the Stevia plant. This plant is found in Central and South America and is called sweetleaf or sugarleaf. It is available in stores as a white powder or liquid extract, but it can also be found in some health food stores in the form of a green or brown whole plant or extract. Stevia is very sweet and many countries are starting to use it to sweeten their diet sodas.

Agave nectar is an extract that comes from the agave plant, which is mostly grown in Mexico (this is the same plant tequila is derived from). It helps not spike blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar does. Agave contains potassium, calcium, and magnesium and is composed of fructose and glucose. Agave is safe in moderation, but has shown to be toxic when taken in large doses consistently.

High Fructose Corn Syrup was first created in the 1970s and since then has become more popular than regular sugar. HFCS is considered to be very unhealthy by many, but since it’s cheap and sweet manufacturers tend to use it in processed foods. It has quick dangerous effects on the body, and can cause extreme weight gain. In one study 16 volunteers consumed a high fructose diet for 10 weeks. The results showed that new fat cells formed around the liver, heart, and digestive organs.

Sucralose is another synthetic chemical to stay away from. It is chlorinated sugar and is much sweeter than sugar. It made by replacing the dyroxyl group with 3 chlorine atoms. It is not nutritious at all and leaves the body the same way it came in. it is mainly known as Splenda and is offered in most coffee houses and restaurants as an artificial replacement to sugar. It is also found in sodas, baked goods, cereals, and frozen desserts. With all the chemicals added and altered in sucralose, it begins to resemble the chemical composition of pesticides. There are many negative side effects reported after ingesting sucralose, like rashes, sneezing, swelling, headaches, bloating, nausea, anxiety, and depression.

Saccharin was banned in Canada and in several other countries due to its negative side effects. More commonly known as sweet n low, saccharin has been around since the 1970’s. This sweet substance is said to be zero calorie, but also has no nutritive value. Studies have been done to show that saccharin causes bladder cancer in rats. After that, a warning label was required on its packaging. However, that label was removed after more than 20 years of its placement. Its removal was due to another study showing the cancer in rats was not relevant to humans.

Aspartame is one of the most controversial artificial sweeteners due the many side effects that it creates. It has now been banned in many countries, such as Indonesia, South Africa, India, Philippines, and so many more. Europe even banned it in children’s products. Aspartame is marketed as NutraSweet, Equal, Benevia, and NutraTaste. It is a synthetic chemical compound of three different ingredients – two amino acids (Phenylalanine and aspartic acid) and one methyl ester bond. These amino acids actually go in and attack your cells, and even pass the brain barrier to attack brain cells. There are over 50 symptoms that can be caused by aspartame, all the way up to coma or death. Please remember the names of the amino acids and check the ingredient lists of the products you purchase to make sure it is not in there under any other name. It is found in many popular foods, drinks, and even gums.

Sources:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/08/the-4-best-and-3-worst-sweeteners-to-have-in-your-kitchen.aspx

http://www.squidoo.com/natural-artificial-sweeteners

http://www.newliving.com/issues/jan_07/articles/sweeteners.html

http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/aspartame.html

http://www.sott.net/article/125706-Nations-starting-to-Ban-Aspartame

http://www.livestrong.com/article/470503-side-effects-of-saccharin-sodium/

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