First, let’s start by talking about glucose. Glucose, also commonly called “sugar,” is a very important energy source that our bodies need for healthy cells and organs. It provides power to our brains, muscles and other organs. Carbohydrates, such as fruit, bread, pasta and cereals, are common sources of glucose. These foods are broken down into sugar in our tummies, absorbed into the bloodstream and our pancreas releases insulin. Too much sugar can be very taxing on our pancreas, as it works overtime to eliminate the excess.
Insulin is the master hormone of our metabolism and has many jobs, with the most important being to regulate the glucose levels in our body. Too much glucose and insulin is to blame for many diseases and has also been linked with the growth of cancer cells. Cancer cells need energy to grow and spread. Sugar can provide this energy, especially when there is a lot of excess.
Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet book includes an entire chapter dedicated just to the discussion of sugar. In her section about artificial sweeteners she says, “Dr. Ginger Southall of Hippocrates Health Institute emphatically states that the use of chemical sweeteners of any kind – aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet’NLow, saccharin, Canderel and even Splenda – is not advised. Artificial sweeteners are potent nerve toxins and never should have been approved as safe for human consumption. They have the potential to freak out and damage your nervous systems – your brain and nerves – leading to a variety of symptoms from migraine headaches to unexplained seizures, dizziness, depression, and vision problems. They are linked to cancer, obesity, and diabetes. I bet you didn’t realize how many of these human-made tasty toxins you boggle up in a daily basis. They hide out in thousands of your favorite foods, including diet meals, flavored waters, popular drink mixes such as Crystal Light, many commercial salad dressings, and - ready for this? – even over-the-counter medicines like Alka-Selzer, tooth-pastes, gum, vitamins, and those Listerine breath strips! Even the stuff that ‘tastes like sugar because it’s made from sugar’ is highly processed and has been laced with chlorine. Yum!” There is controversy on the safety of these artificial man made sugars because they are in fact deemed safe by the FDA. Many individuals justify these choices because they only use a small portion on a daily basis, therefore they can’t possibly be dangerous. One packet of an artificial sugar every day for your entire adult life adds up over a lifetime. Add in diet drinks, weight loss shakes, some alcohol, other low fat or sugar free foods you might actually be consuming a lot of artificial sugars.”
Names to look out for in ingredients for artificial sweeteners and try to avoid whenever possible (see below)
Sugar is often hidden in our foods incognito, but even with a fancy name it’s still sugar. When reviewing ingredient lists on packaged foods, look for these aliases (see below)