With the many forms of sugar available, from table sugar, to high-fructose corn syrup to agave and honey, understanding the differences between sugars and their effects on the body is not all sweet. Any form of sugar, in excess, weakens the immune system, causes inflammation in the body, and increases the risk for serious health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. When American individuals consumed only 5 lbs of sugar per year, prior to the 1900s, incidences of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease were rare. Today it is estimated that the average American consumes more than 135 lbs of sugar per year! So what is the most healthful sweetener to use in moderation, and which ones should you avoid?
According to Dr. Isaac Eliaz, "forms of sugar that are not processed are better choices than highly processed and refined sugars, for several reasons. Highly refined sugars tend to produce a much higher spike in blood glucose levels than do unprocessed or unrefined sugars. They are also lacking in the trace nutrients that can still be found in unrefined, more natural sugars." Highly refined sugars are very difficult for the body to process, and therefore deplete your nutrient reserves as your body struggles to re-balance itself after ingesting these chemicals.
For natural sweeteners, turn to alternative such as raw honey, real maple syrup (grade B contains more trace minerals) and unprocessed stevia. Again, even these sweeteners should be minimized and if you are diabetic or fighting cancer, all sweeteners should be avoided. After you rid your body of these addictive substances, the cravings will subside and you can better appreciate foods that are naturally sweet on their own.