On average, Americans consume over 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners each year, in comparison to a whopping 8 pounds of broccoli.
Sugar is expected to be found in the usual culprits, like candy, cakes and cookies. However, sugar has been sneakily added to canned vegetables, baby food, cereals, peanut butter, bread and tomato sauce disguised under alias names.
In most cases those names are corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose. *Hint: Any word that ends in -ose is a sugar.
Naturally occurring sugar can be found in grains, beans, vegetables and fruits and because it has not been processed, still contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When properly cooked, chewed and digested, the natural sugars in foods are broken down and enter the bloodstream to provide energy.
Unprocessed all natural sugars can be found in grains, beans, vegetables and fruits packaged with a variety of minerals, vitamins, proteins and enzymes. When ingested the natural sugars are broken down in digestion entering the bloodstream to provide energy while the other nutrients are absorbed.
The issue with processed sugar is it is stripped of all the nutrients. It is simply empty calories that tastes good. Processed sugar is digested rapidly creating the infamous sugar high followed by the notorious sugar crash.
One of the many issues of processed sugars is that over time the body’s ability to recognize when it is satisfied from eating which results in over eating. In addition consuming sugar on a regular basis will lead to sugar cravings which can become an addiction. The addiction to sugar will leave you feeling unsatisfied with healthier food choices. The result will be a lifetime battle of weight gain and decreased health.
The public became very aware of calories in their food as health awareness began to grow. They were looking to consume as little calories as possible, they noticed that sugar had a significant amount of calories. The manufactures noticing the trend began to look for ways to keep the sweet taste and lessen the calories. In order to continue to manufacture and consume sweet foods, zero-calorie products were created to replace sugar.
Since these artificial sweeteners are not naturally occurring they must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration before the sale to the public according to law passed in 1958.
The FDA has currently approved of five artificial sweeteners:
Aspartame – was first synthesized in 1965 and sold as NutraSweet. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Besides a table sweetener and additive in some foods it is also used in medicines to make more palatable. There is a lot of controversy and subsequent studies on this sweetener.
Saccharin – used for more than 100 years as a sweetener for foods and beverages. It is found in numerous products and also sold as Sweet n Low. The chemical was discovered in 1878 at John Hopkins University.
Acesulfame Potassium (Ace K) – is a calorie free sweetener that has been around since 1983 and used in over 100 countries and 5000 food products. It is a good cooking ingredient as it doesn’t break down like aspartame or other sweeteners. It is also about 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Neotame – has only been around for about 20 years. It is a sweetener and flavor enhancer. It is 13,000 times sweeter than table sugar and 30 times sweeter than aspartame. Neotame was approved by the FDA in 2002 and even with concern for toxicity the FDA relaxed labeling requirements allowing near ubiquitous artificial sweetener to be found in common prepared foods on the table top and even organics. The relaxed labeling makes this one hard to detect.
Advantame – is 20,000 times sweeter than sugar and 100 times sweeter than aspartame and recently approved by the FDA in 2014. It can be used in baked goods, soft drinks and other non-alcohol products. It is the king of the sweetest of all the artificial sweeteners.
Many studies have been conducted but depending on which side the tests were done nothing conclusive can be proved. According to the National Cancer Institute there is no definitive link between artificial sweeteners approved and the risk of disease and other adverse side effects in humans.
However, numerous studies have found direct links between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and cancers, leukemia, brain tumors, etc in laboratory rats.
Due to these studies, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) advises everyone to avoid Aspartame, Saccharin and Acesulfame K because they are “unsafe in amounts consumed or is very poorly tested and not worth any risk.” Please refer to CSPINet.org for the full list of foods to cut back on and avoid completely.
Process sugar is nutritionally stripped of anything good for you while packing a load of useless calories. Artificial sweeteners which can be anywhere from 100 times to 20,000 times sweeter than sugar is an unnatural chemical conocotion with less calories than sugar but could be dangerous to your health although nothing seems to be conclusive.
If you want to learn more about sugar in a lot more detail than get the free Sweet Poison report.