Perhaps you’ve already decided to try and cut some sugar from your diet, there are certainly lots of reasons to. But you know that artificial sweeteners are not the way to go either. Many have been linked with health problems. Aspartame for instance, has been linked to arthritis and sucralose (Splenda) has been associated with other health troubles including decreasing healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract. And artificial sweeteners may actually increase your cravings for sugar.
Stevia, a natural sweetener, is a leaf that is around 300 times as sweet as sugar. It comes in a liquid form and you only need a few drops to replace the sweetness of sugar in tea or coffee. It has no calories and no carbohydrates. No adverse effects have been reported with the use of this natural sweetener and Stevia also comes in solid forms you can bake with. Best of all (I think) it comes in flavored drops such as root beer and chocolate raspberry that can replace sodas. Yum!
Many Americans eat far too much sugar. I know this is not a shocking new bit of information. However, sugar is being added to processed foods in alarming quantities these days and even though you may know that, what you may not know is that it is called by so many names that even if you are trying hard to avoid sugar you may be eating more than you think. You simply may not recognize the many names that food manufacturers are using. Here is a short list of names to look for:
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Dehydrated Cane Juice
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Cane Juice Crystals, Extract
Corn Syrup Solids
This starter list of 24 different manufacturer’s names for sugar proves that you really have to be an informed consumer. Many processed foods will have several or many of these sugars on the label at the same time.
The best and easiest way to cut down on sugar is to stop eating processed foods. When you prepare fresh foods you know what you are getting.
Eating too much sugar causes weight gain and inflammation and is associated with some skin rashes and eczema. It causes your blood sugar levels to get wildly out of control. Too much sugar increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke and contributes to seizures in children. Excess sugar can also be responsible for mood swings, headaches, anxiety, depression and fatigue.