Friday, April 12, 2013

Sugar, Toxic Poison or Not

       Sugar is the big controversy of our generation. And sugar substitutes are even a bigger controversy. We are bombarded with ads telling us that this one or that one is better than sugar, no fat, zero calories, great taste, and guilt free. No wonder we are confused. No wonder most America's are lost and misdirected in taking care of the sugar addiction.

     The amount of sugar we eat is horrifying, and even scarier is the rapidly rising amount of sugar subsitutes. Americans are choosing what they think is a better choice. And cancer and obesity is on the rise as never before.

     Wake up America. The sugars substitutes you are using just might be killing you!

     Splenda, equal, and sweet n low are poison to our bodies.
They actually do just the opposite of what we are wanting to happen. They can cause weight gain and there are countless other side effects from using sugar substitutes.

     I am convinced that sugar with all it's problems is still a better choice compared to what the substitutes do to us.

 From beverages to foods, sugar substitutes are in almost all the processed foods we consume. They have hidden names in the ingredients list to deceive us into thinking it is a healthy option.

      Beverages are one of the biggest culprits of the sugar substitute problem. So many of them are labeled fat free, sugar free, and good for you. There is tons of research regarding how they are actually worse for you than drinking the ones loaded in sugar. I personally try to avoid commercial beverages, and at all cost the sugar free or diet ones. If you are going to drink a soda, drink the real thing. The sugar might be bad for you, but not as bad as the ones filled with sugar substitutes.                                

  High Fructose Corn Syrup comes from corn and most of the corn is GMO and it is highly concentrated sugar. Not a good choice for the body.

      We celebrate life with sweet things, from cakes to cookies, from chocolates to beverages, we have made sugar an important part of our lives. We love the flavor and how it makes us feel. We adore the foods prepared with sugar and love to eat the foods prepared with sugar. I am not opposed to sugar,  I have to admit I love it. But as in all things we need to use wisdom and moderation.

     The good news is there are some great choices out there. There are some wonderful natural sugar replacements. Notice I use the word replacement instead of substitute. A sugar replacement is something that is natural that can replace the refined sugar we use in our diets.

     Maple Syrup,  pure maple syrup  that is, can be a great replacement.  Good quality is important. A good quality maple syrup is great..

  • Maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese, which plays an important role in energy production and antioxidant defenses, and is necessary for normal brain and nerve function. A portion of ¼ cup of maple syrup contains 100% of the Daily Value of manganese.
  • The sweetener provides 37% of the Daily Value of riboflavin, which aids in the metabolic process.
  • Pure maple syrup also contains 18% of the recommended Daily Value of zinc, which is essential for a healthy immune system.
  • Other minerals found in maple syrup are magnesium, calcium and potassium, decreasing the risk of hypertension or stroke.

     Honey is a great replacement also. You have to be careful in buying honey,  the FDA allows honey distributors to add up to 25% high fructose corn syrup to honey with out putting that on the label. Buy from a good source and buy local. Local honey has nutrients that are good for you if you live in the area.

Composed primarily of fructose, glucose and water, honey also contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. 

      I love stevia,  it is a great replacement for sugar,  It has come along way. I remember the first few years of stevia. Horrible after taste and it was hard to use. I love the Sweet Leaf Stevia Company and The Stevia in the Raw Company.  I have used them and love the results. Stevia in the Raw has a bulk sugar replacement that is really great. It works for a lot of baked goods, but not all. I love stevia in beverages and syrups. It is great for smoothies and lots of things were we want sweet, but not the sugar.  

     I love the drops of Sweet Leaf,  they come in a variety of flavors.  It is my beverage of choice.  When I need something to drink that is sweet, I use the drops. They are amazing. If I want a soda I use S.Pellegrino and the drops.  Stevia is calorie free and fat free and actually has health benefits for the body.

     Molasses is a great replacement also.  It has great flavor and lots of nutritional value.

A specific variety of molasses called blackstrap offers more nutrition than other types. In 2 tsp., you get about 12 percent of your recommended daily allowance of calcium and 13 percent of the daily recommended allowance of iron, according to the website The World's Healthiest Foods. Two tsp. of blackstrap molasses also provide 7 percent of the trace mineral magnesium and 18 percent of your manganese needs daily. Blackstrap provides about 10 percent of your potassium requirements. Blackstrap is darker than other versions and imparts a distinct flavor into foods.

My all time favorite Sugar  replacement is Xagave.  Related to agave, but don't be fooled, this one is the best one yet.  It is all natural and oh so wonderful.  You have to be careful with agave. Again the FDA allows producers of agave to add large amounts of high fructose corn syrup to the product with out having it on the label.  This company  Xagave is an amazing product, they don't add high fructose corn syrup. I love using it in baked goods and beverages.  It works in almost all things I have tired it in. It is low on the glycemic index and is a great choice for diabetics. I have used it in my weight lose healthy diet and fitness program with great success.  I love it when we find a product that really works and taste great.  This is my all time favorite product to use for a sugar replacement.

   Sugar is an important part of our lives. It is in everything almost impossible to get it our of our diets.  And I don't want it to go.  I love sweet. I love foods that are sweet,  I love how a little bit of sweetness can enhance the flavor is foods and bring out all the natural sweetness.

     But I have to say we need to be smarter about the sugars we use. We need to wake up and start using moderation with sugar and find the things that really work for our bodies. Each of us handle sugar different and the most important thing is to find out what works for you and be wise about that choice.  Do your research and remember what we take into our bodies is so important to being healthy and active all our lives.   Have a sweet day.  Chef Brad~America's Grain Guy


  1. Wonderful post! A lot of good information too. Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Bobbi Jo-AZ

  2. Great Post! And since I have an allergic reaction to Splenda/aka sucralose, I have to be very vigilant about food labels! They sneak that stuff in so many different foods! And if I don't know beforehand, I'll have a killer migraine headache within 20-30 minutes.

  3. Thank you so much for this information. I have wanted to know where to go to get away from the "bad" sugars and you have shown me the way! Thanks so much. Pat ~ AZ

  4. Awesome information Chef and thanks for putting it all in one place for us. I'm a Stevia fan myself and use Maple Syrup in my baking.
    Have a great weekend!

  5. Thank you so much for all the great information! I love your blog and your show!

  6. You can learn boo-coodles of great info on all forms of sugars and alternative sweeteners and how they effect our bodies at this link.