Why replace sugar? How?
Are you addicted to sugar? Refined sugar depletes the body of minerals and vitamins. Sugar makes you excrete water-soluble nutrients, such as magnesium, zinc, and vitamins C and B. Sugar also makes your blood and tissues slightly acidic. They can measure this all in the urine.
Many doctors point out that refined sugar can cause chronic illness. We all have small tumors in us. They all have a “sweet tooth“. If you feed them enough sugar, then they ferment and grow. This has been known since the 1930s as the “Warburg effect”. Nowadays, Dr. Patrick Quillan, PhD, asks the question, does sugar feed cancer?
If you believe in the calorie theory of health, nutrition, and weight, then there is an easy, natural alternative sweetener. If procured in pure form, pure extract or powdered leaf of good quality, and if used in small quantities, it is a natural product that tastes just like sugar, but has zero calories.
It is sugar, not calories, that causes weight gain. There is no need to count calories, but if you cut sugar, you can gain health & lose weight. I can guarantee it, conditionally. The calorie theory is a myth. This is why no amount of refined sugar is moderate. Sugar is a risk factor of modern eating habits. Pure stevia can be a healthy alternative. Dr. Berg DC describes what happens if you stop eating sugar for fourteen days.
Do you go from one “sugar high” to another all day long? This often involves consuming either refined sugar, foods sweetened with sugar, or foods that rapidly increase blood sugar (glucose), every few hours, all day long. Note that refined grains, such as wheat, and alcohol can increase blood sugar as rapidly as refined sugar, depending on the individual. This “sugar high” provokes the pancreas to increase insulin, which then prompts the cells of the body to absorb the sugar. This aborption reduces sugar in the blood. This cycle varies with the person, but can last about two to three hours on average. At the end of the cycle, at the “sugar low”, there is fatigue. After more sugar, the cycle restarts.
Digestion breaks down all food to glucose. All the cells in the body require glucose for energy. However, to obtain this energy, you do not require an endless series of peaks and valleys of blood glucose from refined sugar all day long. Fructose is sugar found in fruits and refined in high fructose corn syrup. Dr. Mark Hyman MD compares glucose and fructose in this three-minute video.
This is not to judge you nor to blame anybody, but simply to describe a physiological reality in a modern world.
Refined sugar, also known as table sugar, saccharose, or sucrose, is the result of processing sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) or sugar beets (Beta vulgaris). Nutrients are removed in the processing. Refined sugar has no nutritional value.
Sugar is added to soda, milk, yogurt, cereals, and many packaged foods to sweeten them. Fructose is a type of sugar found in fruit. High fructose corn syrup is refined from corn and used to sweeten many processed and packaged foods.
To reduce sugar cravings and to control blood sugar, many people use gymnemna in the form of tea or tinctures. Gymnemna is an herb cultivated in India and elsewhere. Beware. The fact that a little can be good for you does not mean that more is better. Its botanical name is Gymnemna silvestre.
Another way many people reduce sugar cravings is to consume more potassium from foods, such as bananas, carrots, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, mangoes, dates, and others.
Do not be fooled.
Sugar is an anti-nutrient. Again, it depletes the body of water-soluble vitamins and minerals, which are bound and excreted with sugar in the urine. These minerals and vitamins are necessary for the bones, for the nerves, for digestion, and for health in general.
All food is reduced to glucose, but refined sugar rapidly increases glucose in the blood, provoking an insulin response. It forms acids, making the blood and tissues slightly acidic. An acidic environment can harbor pathogens, toxins, and lead to weight gain. In the 1930s, Dr. Otto Warburg demonstrated that all tumors have a “sweet tooth”. Of course, it is possible to study this endlessly, but is it not more practical for you to stop eating sugar and to substitute?
The problem is that, without knowing it, you may be addicted to refined sugar. Like cocaine and heroin, refined sugar is a white powder. It can also be physically addictive. Almost all packaged foods have it in one form or another. Some doctors report that in brain scans sugar lights up the same parts of the brain as other addictive white powders, such as cocaine or heroin. The fact that it is cheap enough to maintain the sugar habit does not mean that it does not undermine your chronic health any less.
- Do you ever use sugar for quick energy? For example, a sweet snack, chocolate, or cookie with your mid-morning coffee? A dessert after a meal? A sweet protein or dried fruit bar after your exercise?
- Do you struggle to walk past a sweet treat without taking just one?
- Are all your favorite foods sweet instead of savory?
- If you go a whole day without sugar, do you suffer mood swings, headaches, or low energy?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may be addicted to sugar.
Sugar withdrawal can be difficult. It is to be taken with a plan. Conscious, gradual sugar withdrawal is usually desirable. Good-quality supplements of vitamin B, vitamin C, zinc, and the trace mineral chromium may be useful to reduce cravings for sugar, according to Dr. Elson Haas in his book, “The Detox Diet“. Beware that some supplements are synthesized or contaminated with additives. You can also find these nutrients in real foods.
If you value your health and longevity, but are still not sure about sugar, then listen to this ninety-minute video by Professor Dr. Robert Lustig, MD, The Bitter Truth About Sugar. A thirty-seven-minute condensed version of Dr. Lustig’s lecture is here. Dr. Joe Mercola interviews JJ Virgin for fifty-six minutes on how to cut sugar cravings. Beware of agave syrup.
What happens when you stop eating sugar?
For many people, pure stevia is a safe, cheap, natural substitute for sugar. You can even grow your own in warm climates. The fresh or dried leaves are truly natural products. In some countries, only the stevia extracts are permitted to be traded, not the dried leaves. Of course, taste is individual, but for many people, one or two drops of a pure, liquid stevia extract is equal in sweetness to one cube of white, refined sugar. To sweeten tea, you can mix dried stevia leaf with the loose leaf tea. You can also mix powdered stevia leaf with smoothies and baked foods and use like sugar.
The stevia plant (Stevia rebaudiana) is endemic to Paraguay, where the Guarani tribe have used the leaf to sweeten their maté drink, similar to coffee, for thousands of years. In Japan, the food processing industry has used stevia for more than forty years to sweeten their packaged products. Physiologically, compared with sugar, the difference is that stevia does not increase glucose in the blood. As a result, it does not provoke an insulin response. On the other hand, if you have blood type B, stevia may not be healthy for you, according to Dr. Peter D’Adamo and blood type eating.
Again, pure stevia (stevioside) is found in pure liquid stevia extracts, which usually contain at least eighty to ninety-eight percent steviosides, often diluted with small amounts of alcohol or another preservative. If you are sensitive to artificial preservatives, read the label and find one slightly diluted with alcohol as a preservative. If you do not accept even small quantities of alcohol, then you can make your own stevia extract with water as a solvent. You can also bake with stevia, either the pure liquid extract or the dried, ground leaf. Stevia resists heat and retains its taste.
For some people in some conditions, no amount of sugar is healthy. If stevia leaf is not available, you can find pure liquid stevia extract in health food shops, usually in small bottles of one hundred milliliters (four fluid ounces) or less. Read the label. Look for a stevioside content of more than ninety percent with no additives, except alcohol as a preservative. (The commercial extraction requires alcohol, which they boil off to produce the liquid extract.)
I use dried stevia leaf with tea and powdered dried stevia leaf in smoothies. If you use pure stevia, either the pure liquid extract or the dried leaves, you will probably find that it tastes exactly like sugar to you. A fringe of people report a taste of stevia similar to licorice, which can also be used as a substitute for sugar. Regarding taste, to each his own.
Beware false stevia
Beware of packaged products labeled “stevia”. These products, often found in supermarkets, are usually made of white tablets or white powder. They contain very little stevioside, the essence of stevia, as little as one percent or less. They are usually adulterated with maltitol, xylitol, or erythritol. To verify this, read the label. If the print is too small to read, then bring a magnifying glass to read the label.
These fermented “sugar alcohols” alter the taste of genuine stevia. They can leave a bitter after-taste to some people, though tastes are individual. There is no need to adulterate stevia with these processed, fermented substitutes. If you are not sure, then do your own comparison. Pure stevia is available in the form of dried leaves or a pure extract with more than ninety percent steviosides. Pure stevia has no after-taste for anybody I have asked.
Do your own research
As of this writing, in some countries, only the stevia extract is permitted to be bought and sold. Trading the dried leaves is forbidden in these countries. The legislation is country-specific, and it can change.
Growing stevia requires a subtropical climate. Stevia is cultivated in Spain, Italy, and Greece. It also grows in Brazil, Argentina, Thailand, and elsewhere. Again, the origin is Paraguay, where the Guarani tribe has used it for thousands of years to sweeten their maté drink. The Japanese food processing industry has used stevia for more than forty years.
Genuine stevia may have other advantages for your health, even against infections. Dr. Jan Geuns, now retired from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, researched stevia in detail. There is more and more research into stevia. Again, do your own research, or at least verify the published research, before you become too excited about it. Beware that genuine, pure stevia has very strong commercial rivals.
Why not cut sugar for a week, substitute pure stevia in your coffee, tea, beverages, and baked products, and then see how you feel? If you crave sugar, drink more water, use more stevia, and eat sweet fruit, such as apples, pears, or bananas. Carrots and red beets are also naturally sweet. These fruits and vegetables contain sugar, but also minerals and vitamins.
Sometimes, when you think you are hungry, you are really thirsty.
Is stevia too good to be true? Indeed, it is possible for some people to take too much stevia. For example, if you use two or more teaspoons of dried, powdered stevia a day, if you have accumulated a lifetime of toxins in your skin, you may cause your skin to itch. It is better to start to use it in small amounts and then possibly to increase the amount that you use. The fact that a little is good does not mean that more is better.
Some people claim that stevia has a bitter after-taste. They may be referring to false stevia adulterated with maltitol, xylitol, or erythritol. If you are not sure of the supplier nor of the quality of the stevia, again, read the label, and beware of false stevia.
Regarding health via food, stevia certainly compares favorably with artificial sweeteners.
The concern about artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin and aspartame, is not new. They can be toxic for some people, even in small quantities. If you are in doubt, do your own research, and think for yourself. The fact that you do not notice an immediate effect does not mean that there is no chronic effect.
If stevia does not work for you, you can use the amino acid L-glutamine to reduce sugar cravings, It is available in white powder as a food supplement. According to Professor Roger J. Williams , a world-known nutritionist, glutamine is useful as part of a protocol to prompt drinkers to recover from alcoholism and their craving for alcohol. You could also possibly reduce sugar cravings by eating chromium-rich foods, such as broccoli, green beans, garlic, fruit, oats, beef, nutritional yeast, and others.
As Dr. Herbert Shelton MD wrote, “look for the truth, and your health will follow.” The truth does not always conform to the opinion of the majority.
Other healthy substitutes for sugar
In moderation, raw unfiltered honey, blackstrap molasses, or dates are also healthy, natural sweeteners for many people. Why raw honey? Unheated and untreated, it contains more enzymes, nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. These natural sweeteners indeed contain sugar, but it is part of the whole food, including the fiber, the minerals, and the vitamins. On the other hand, some people are more sensitive than others even to the sugar found in honey, molasses, dates, and sweet fruit. It is more healthy to listen to your body and not to your possible sugar addiction. Do your own research. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself.
Most commercial honey is heated and filtered to standardize the finished product and to prevent crystallization. Beware that some cheap honey is adulterated with water, antibiotics, sugar, food coloring, and other additives.
To control your blood sugar naturally, you can find chromium, zinc, selenium, and magnesium in certain foods. If you crave sugar, you may be deficient in one or more of these minerals. It can take three weeks to break a sugar habit. The simplest way to start is to add stevia to green smoothies.
Karen Thomson tells her touching story of how she overcame her sugar addiction in this thirty-six minute podcast by WildHealth. Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, describes foods to control blood sugar – magnesium-rich foods, such as spinach or broccoli, foods rich in omega-three fatty acids, such as flaxseed or walnuts, beans, lentils, and sprouted grains. Dr. Mark Hyman MD mentions how salt and the sodium-potassium balance can be used to offset sugar cravings in his podcast, “How Common Mineral Deficiencies Impact Our Health“.
Certain foods are as unhealthy as sugar, but this is beyond the focus of this article.
Here are 8 tips to resist sugar cravings.
If you crave certain unhealthy foods, this may indicate certain nutrient deficiencies that you can offset by eating other healthy foods, according to this table by Coaching & Weight Management and others:
|chocolate||magnesium||green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits|
|broccoli, grapes, chicken
chicken, beef, fatty fish, eggs, nuts, vegetables, grains
horseradish, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, onions, cranberries
raisins, sweet potatoes, spinach, vitamin B3
|bread, pasta, and wheat||nitrogen||high-protein foods –
meat, fish, eggs, or beans, nuts, or chia seeds
|oily foods||calcium||fenugreek, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, tahini|
|celery, sardines, fatty fish
horsetail, nuts, seeds
Sugar is the original addiction. It is possible to ween yourself from a sugar habit, using B vitamins, found in leafy greens, liver, beef, poultry, bee pollen and nutritional yeast, and chromium, found in broccoli, nutritional yeast, garlic, and beef, among other foods.
Critics of the idea to cut, replace, or eliminate sugar from the diet point out that sugar, honey, fruit, vegetables, and starch is converted to glucose in the blood. They claim that starch (“complex carbohydrates”) controls blood sugar, but is this true?
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