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OUCH!!!... My Sweet Tooth Hurts

by Casey Krebs, November 8th, 2004

Would you rather come into contact with poison oak, or ingest a spoonful of refined sugar? It would be safe to assume that most people would choose the latter. But did you know that the anecdote for poison oak exists right in nature? It’s called jewelweed or mugwort and grows in close proximity to where the poison oak resides. On the other hand, the cure for sugar is…….well…. there is no natural cure for refined sugar because sugar is not a natural occurring substance. But do we need a cure for sugar? It sweetens up your
food, it tastes good, it gives you a boost of energy, it…um… makes you
crash down hard, it…er…makes you lethargic...it contributes to diabetes. Maybe we should take a closer look at this delicious chemical we call sugar.

Eating today is much different than it was 40 or 50 odd years ago when Ma was in the kitchen making wholesome foods from scratch. Most of the food we eat today comes in boxes, cans, jars, or is found in the frozen food section of your local grocer. They are filled with
preservatives and - you guessed it -sugar.

The amount of sugar that the American population is consuming today has been rapidly increasing to match our fast paced lifestyles. Let us slow down a minute and take a look at what we are really putting into our bodies.

Sugar is not a natural occurring
substance. Through refining, it has been stripped of all of its natural food nutrition that was originally in its plant source. First the sugar is pressed as a juice from the cane, or beet, refined into molasses, refined into brown sugar, then into white crystals (otherwise known as C12H22O), and finally ingested into our human system.

The average American consumes 115 pounds of sugar per year. Prior to the turn of this century (1887-1890), the average consumption was only 5 lbs. per person per year! Diet researchers at Rockefeller University (NY) have discovered that high doses of fat and sugar in fast and processed foods can be as addictive as nicotine. With the
amount of sugar American’s consume, it is no surprise that ninety-five percent of North Americans are addicted to sugar.

And for those of you who are looking to stay fit, sugar makes it difficult to lose weight. The constant high insulin levels cause the body to store excess carbohydrates and fat.

If it is not only your weight that you are concerned about it, sugar can cause many other physiological distresses. Sugar is the leading cause of dental deterioration, the main cause of diabetes, hyperglycemia & hypoglycemia, it contributes to heart disease,
depression, hypertension, cancer, overgrowth of Candida yeast organisms, chronic fatigue, hyperactivity, and increases anxiety and irritability. At least cigarettes have a warning label on the package. Where is the warning label on sugar?

The good news is that there is a solution. There are alternatives to using refined sugar. Use a natural fruit sweetener such as natural fruit juice. Use pure maple syrup, which is high in manganese –important in antioxidant defenses, and high in zinc – an important ally for the immune system and low in calories. You can also use Stevia, a natural sugar available in a powder form. Stevia is 300 times as sweet as refined sugar, so make sure to take that into account when using it.

The next time you are asked whether you would like a spoonful of refined sugar or the poison oak, I would not be surprised if most of you choose the poison oak – or better yet, a sweet and natural alternative to refined sugar