On an average, each American eats 150 pounds of sugar per year, about 40 teaspoons of sugar daily. Ingredients such as refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup appear in most children’s snacks as well as most packaged goods.
Not only does this excess of sugar ruin the teeth, but is the cause of juvenile diabetes, obesity, and depletion of nutrients and energy. Although refined sugar has calories, it is an empty calorie food. It robs the body of minerals and lowers the immune system. When regularly consumed and added to foods the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, IBS, kidney stones (to name a few) increases.\
Sugar is a natural food extracted from the tropical plant sugar cane. The refining process of cane into table sugar begins with bleaching and washing. Sugar cane is washed then bleached with an animal based charcoal called bone char. After heating the extracted syrup at high temperatures nutrients are lost and sugar becomes an empty calorie food.
Unrefined sugar (demerara or turbinado) is unbleached and heated on lower temperatures. It is not stripped of the nutrients: calcium, iron, maganese, and potassium.
Unless one eats a special diet to avoid sugar, demerara or turbinado are top grade choices when eaten in moderation. Other natural sugar substitutes to use in moderation are:
- Honey, raw and unfiltered, is the least refined and of all the sweeteners the closest to its natural state with B vitamins to support immunity.
- Agave nectar is extracted from the agave cactus which is also used to make tequila. It is available in dark and light colors. Having a low glycemic index causes little fluctuation to blood sugar levels.
- Maple syrup has fewer calories than honey and high amounts of manganese and zinc.
- Stevia is completely natural with no known side effects. It has zero calories; helps to regulate blood sugar; encourage weight loss; and doesn’t encourage growth of candida (yeast). It is intensely sweeter than sugar so very little is needed. In my opinion, Nustevia is the best blend.
- Brown rice syrup is made by adding enzymes to cooked rice which breaks down the starches.
- Xylitol and Erythritol are sugar alcohols that are naturally found in fruits and vegetables. Xylitol has 40 percent less calories than sugar, and erythritol is almost calorie free. They both prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Yacon Syrup contains antioxidants and potassium. It is a low calorie sweetener and suitable for diabetics.