About 10 days ago I started the “Health and Wellness” section of the blog, telling you Why Sugar Is Bad For You. However, I couldn’t leave you hanging without an alternative. But, it might not be what you think. Read further, please. The information below is provided by Dr. Rodger Murphree from Birmingham, AL.
A study done at Duke University and published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health has some interesting news about the sugar substitute known as Splenda (sucralose). Splenda is an artificial sweetener that creates the sugar sucralose from raffinose- a starch derived from sugar beets. The chemical sucralose, which contains chlorine, is marketed as a natural sugar. However, Splenda it isn’t natural at all. According to the study, the use of Splenda:
1.Reduces the amount of good bacteria in the intestines by fifty percent.
The bacteria in your bowels, some 100 trillion bacteria or about three pounds worth, outnumber the cells in your body by a factor of 10 to one. These bacteria, or gut flora, which line your intestinal tract are your first line of defense against potential pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and yeast). They play a crucial role in establishing an overall healthy immune system. When bad bacteria and or yeast become overgrown in your intestinal tract, you have a condition called dysbiosis. Dysbiosis has been linked with disorders like yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome and autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis.
2.Increases the pH level in the intestines.
The stomach needs an acidic environment in order to digest food and destroy potentially harmful pathogens including unwanted bacteria and yeast. Low stomach acid triggers a chain reaction of digestive disorders, including malabsorption. Foods may be incompletely digested and subsequently absorbed into the bloodstream, where they can lead to food allergies, triggering pain and inflammation throughout the body.
3.Contributes to increases in body weight.
Aspartame, on the other hand, is not a better alternative. It has been associated with a multitude of health risks and has largely lost favor around the world.
Aspartame, commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, is an artificial sweetener. The body breaks it down into methanol and formaldehyde to metabolize it. Formaldehyde is grouped into the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic. When the temperature of aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in Aspartame is turned into formaldehyde and then into formic acid. Formic acid is the poison contained in the sting of a fire ant. It has been shown that methanol toxicity causes depression, brain fog, mood changes, insomnia, seizures and similar symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. There are over 92 symptoms documented from using aspartame.
How about brown sugar? It is often said that it is a healthier option than white sugar. But you can chalk that up to clever marketing. In reality, brown sugar is most often ordinary table sugar that is turned brown by the reintroduction of molasses. Normally, molasses is separated and removed when sugar is created from sugarcane plants. Because of its molasses content, brown sugar does contain certain minerals, most notably calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium (white sugar contains none of these). But since these minerals are present in only minuscule amounts, there is no real health benefit to using brown sugar.
The answer? The natural sweetener Stevia. Stevia is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. The leaves of the small, green Stevia rebaudiana plant have a delicious and refreshing taste that can be 30 times sweeter than sugar (a little goes a long way). You can find Stevia at any health food store. And while it may take time to get used to its taste, it won’t deplete your good bacteria (Splenda), increase your risk of cancer (Sweet’N Low), or cause neurotoxicity (NutraSweet).
Last, but not least, there is always honey and maple syrup. How about some Maple Nut Orbs? The recipe comes from my very good friend, Jenny Conner, a mother of two beautiful girls and a health food advocate. Here is what you need:
1 cup nut butter (we typically use peanut my kids favorite but you
could use almond, sunflower, cashew or whatever you like). If you use
peanut butter, I would highly recommend using organic. Peanuts are
highly sprayed with pesticides. Target has the organic Smucker’s brand
for a fairly reasonable price.
1 cup sesame seeds
In a food processor, blend together the nut butter and maple syrup.
Add the oat bran, wheat germ and sesame seeds and blend until it has a
stiff, dough-like consistency. You can either roll the dough into 14
individual orbs and then roll them in coconut (or leave the coconut
out) and chill, or spread the dough onto a square pan and sprinkle
with coconut, chill, and cut into squares. Makes 14 orbs.
I would like to thank Brandy Foss for providing us with the information above, and my friend Jenny Conner for sharing this healthy recipe with us. Brandy is a RN and a Juice Plus Representative. You can reach her at 1-800-942-1151 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Jenny is a mom of two adorable girls, a vegetarian, and a health food advocate. You can stumble upon her on the Riverfront Trail, or at yoga class at the Washington Healing Arts Center. Want to contribute to “Health and Wellness”? Get in touch with me and share your ideas: email@example.com