Glucose is your brain’s favourite food (1).
It’s also an important source of fuel for your whole body. Your body produces this by breaking down carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
But did you know? Some sweeteners can interfere with this process.
Unlike fruits, most sweeteners on the market only give you calories without providing any nutrients. They also spike up blood sugar levels due to a lack of dietary fiber, which in turn weakens the immune system and can damage the liver.
Artificial sweeteners are full of chemicals, toxins, preservatives and even endocrine disruptors. They can cause binge-eating and increased food intake (2) and have also been linked to brain tumours and cancer (3).
Here are the top 5 worst sweeteners and how to avoid them.
1. White Sugar
Found in: baked goods, processed foods, yoghurt, soups, salad dressing
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Comes from: Conventional sugar is sourced from genetically modified beets or sugar cane. It goes through a process of chemical washing and crystallization before coming out as a white, refined product (4).
What it does: Sugar is fermented by the microflora of dental plaque. This process leads to dental decay and cavities.
High levels of sugar consumption are also linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and possibly autism (5).
Replace with: Raw organic brown sugar. Raw sugar is the solid part left when the liquid from the juice of the sugar cane evaporates. It’s much less processed than white sugar but still holds no nutritional value.
Found in: Nutrasweet/Equal, soda, gum ect.
Comes from: According to the patent, which is available for the public to read online, genetically modified E. coli are cultivated in tanks and fed so that they can defecate the proteins that contain the aspartic acid-phenylalanine amino acid segment used to make aspartame. via Metro
What it does: Aspartame isn’t easily metabolized (6). It’s broken down by the body into phenylalanine, which prevents the transportation of important amino acids to the brain. Aspartame does not stimulate the reward system in your brain. It actually decreases your levels of happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin (7).
Aspartame is also metabolized into aspartic acid, which causes hyperexcitability of neurons and degeneration of astrocytes and neurons. It can lead to difficult digestion, liver problems and is a known carcinogen.
Replace with: Organic coconut sugar, which is full of vitamins, electrolytes and minerals (8).
Found in: Splenda, low-calorie processed foods, diabetic goods ect
Comes from: Sucralose is actually made from sugar. It goes through a chlorination process that makes it 600 times sweeter than natural sugar. Other synthetic covalently bound chloride compounds include agent orange and pcb.
What it does: This sweetener affects microbial composition in the gastrointestinal tract. It reduces beneficial bacteria, which are needed for a strong immune system (9).
Also, heating sucralose at high temperatures (through baking, for example) releases chloropropanols, a potentially toxic class of compounds.
Replace with: Stevia. This plant-derived sweetener won’t spike blood sugar levels. It’s a super sweet sweetener that doesn’t feed candida, so it’s used by many who want to have something sweet without the bad “side effects” of sugar. via WholeNewMom.
4. High Fructose Corn Syrup
Found in: pancake syrup, processed sweets, fruit juice, processed baked goods
Comes from: As its name implies, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is made from corn, one of the most genetically modified crops in the world.
What it does: Fructose is metabolized in the liver. Excess fructose is turned into liver fat, which can contribute to fatty liver disease. This disease is linked to insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease and diabetes (10).
Replace with: Raw unpasteurized organic honey. Honey if full of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids (11,12). It also boasts antimicrobacterial and antioxidant properties.
Found in: Agave syrup, protein bars, energy bars
Comes from: Agave is a highly processed sugar from the Agave tequiliana, which is the same plant that’s used to produce tequila. Agave nectar is about 1 1/2 times sweeter than regular sugar (13).
What it does: Agave contains high levels of fructose. Overconsumption can lead to liver problems and decreased metabolic function.
Replace with: Maple syrup. This golden syrup has over 54 beneficial compounds. It contains essential nutrients like calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and maganese (14).