Why sugar is not healthy and why it is one of the most hazardous foods there is, is the discussion of this article.
Sugar is processed, which means the sugar is stripped away from other parts of the plant, other parts which are essential in helping to digest and utilise the sugar. For example, sugar needs calcium to digest, which are present in the parts that have been removed for ‘purity’. So this is robbed from your bones and teeth in order to digest the sugar.
Eating whole sugar cane is fine. Eating processed sugar is not.
In the processing procedure catalysts are added which may be detrimental to your health
The process usually alters the chemical structure of the sugar by hydrolysing
The resulting sugar is highly concentrated, way more than found in nature.
Enzymes are lost when heated over 118 degrees F.
Sugar makes your body acidic. Low pH levels (acidic) promote ill health, including tumours and cancers. Processed sugar robs your body of essential calcium (and probably other important minerals), supporting teeth decay and osteoporosis.
Fructose is often the resulting sweeteners in the alternatives to sugar. But high fructose interferes with copper absorption, can create liver problems. and increases mineral loss.
Erythritol is made by breaking down food starch (often sugar) into glucose and then fermenting it with a yeast called Moniliella pollinis. This breaks the glucose down into erythritol which is then purified into 99.5% pure.
In nature, erythritol occurs in items such as grapes, soy sauce, wine, honey and even cheese.
Agave syrup is the crushed whole plant sap and the resulting syrup is heat treated to concentrate it. The heat processing alters the fructose polymers to make it sweet, as it isn’t naturally so. This is known as hydrolysing. So agave syrup is chemically altered, misses many nutrients found in the original plant sap and has high fructose levels.
Inulin is another highly refined naturally occurring plant sugar.
Xylitol is present in most plants and corn syrup is typically used. This is hydrolysed at high temperatures using a nickel-aluminium alloy as a catalyst. The resulting “very hazardous” acetic acid needs to be removed. This is done by further heating. Ethanol is added to crystallise it. This is then separated out by centrifugal action.
Stevia comes in all shapes and forms, so each product will differ wildly from the next. But basically, stevia is a herb. Probably most Stevia you can buy will be processed in some way (powder or liquid), so should be avoided. But you can buy the fresh whole or dried leaves. You can even grow your own in suitable climates.
Maple syrup is heat treated to concentrate it. Some non-organic forms have been found to contain formaldehyde and other toxins.
Sucarat is evaporated sugar cane juice. It’s heated to concentrate it.
Yacon syrup is from the root of the yacon plant in South America. To concentrate the syrup it is heated.
Honey is natural and you can buy it raw, but it’s worth remembering that the bees in cold climes (no food in winter) are fed sugar to replace the honey. This must influence the next season’s honey.
The Best Alternative to Sugar
Whole fruits generally contain a much smaller amount of fructose compared with sucrose and glucose. In addition, fruits contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and other nutrients. Our bodies are designed to digest a complete “package” of nutrition that appears in whole, fresh, ripe fruits. For example, it’s always better to eat fruits whole or blend them rather than juice them. When you juice fruits you remove some of the fiber which helps to slow down the absorption of the sugars. Concentrated sweeteners contain no fiber.
Dried fruits can be used to sweeten foods. Add whole or soak the dried fruits and then blend. Dates, figs, sultanas and prunes are some of the sweetest dried fruits that tend to work well in recipes. Try dates blended with a little water for a maple syrup substitute. Sultanas soaked in tea make an excellent sweetener for cakes.
Black strap molasses is a mineral rich substance, but has a strong treacley taste, making it an unsuitable alternative to sugar for most people.
So what are my conclusions? That virtually all the sugar alternatives are as bad for your health as sugar is, as most of them have been processed and heat treated. Stevia leaves may be the best alternative, as well as raw honey, dates and sultanas.
I feel it’s best to change your eating habits, as least for most of the time. Limit processed sugar for rare ‘treats’. If it isn’t in your larder, you can’t indulge yourself.
If you have a serious craving for sugar and sweet things, homeopathy can help you resolve it.