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|Herbal Health Articles & Information
|Sugar and Stevia
||Published: 23rd May, 2012
When it comes to receiving reliable information on health, itís practically impossible to sift through new and frequently contradictory scientific research released by universities and government-regulated nutrition organizations. The most popular health dogma is calorie counting. Many people believe that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Or conversely, the less fat in the food you eat, the less fat on your body. Yet for all the calorie counting kings and queens out there, obesity continues to be on the rise, cases of diabetes are increasing significantly, and heart related issues costs the healthcare system billions of dollars per annum.
The bittersweet truth is that refined sugars have gone relatively unnoticed as a catalyst for obesity and body stress. Though most people understand that sugar is unhealthy, the government and major corporations have a huge stake in ensuring that people remain hooked on sugar (and of course the product it comes in). Many products proudly proclaim to be healthy, and are stamped by a health organization or governmentís seal of approval. But while they may be low in calories and fat, they are all too often loaded with sugar.
So what exactly is going on each time you pop a coke or munch a cookie? Refined sugars immediately create an unnatural high, followed by a depressive low. Of course, the high feeds the addiction, and itís easier to simply go for another snackum in an attempt to maintain that illusion of energy. This vicious cycle has transformed billions of bodies into sugar-dependent, fat-making machines.
As refined sugar works its way through your system, it causes insulin levels spike, and sends a trigger to your body to begin to produce fat. This is a self-defense mechanism, an attempt to mitigate the stress of excessive amounts of sugar coursing through your bloodstream into your brain, heart, and major organs.
Fat production is also a means of survival, a primal method of storing energy for future use. However, the chemistry of refined sugar tricks your body into believing a huge meal filled with nutrients is on its way, so the body readies itself by preparing fat to store the nutrients that itís anticipating. When that energy fails to arriveÖyouíre left with a depressed digestive system thatís hungry, undernourished, lethargic, and prone to additional snacking.
While this is an oversimplified version of how the body interacts with refined sugars, sweetness does not need to be compromised in order to switch off your bodyís fat production factory. Nature was clever enough to create a plant-based alternative which provides a sweet flavour without a sour biological response: stevia.
Stevia, used for centuries in South America as a natural sweetener, has only recently been able to navigate its way through the tight-fisted (and government controlled) food regulations of the West. On average, stevia is approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar, and as it has not been through the refinement process, its chemical structure does not trigger any fat production or blood highs and lows. Instead, it passes through your body quietly and innocuously, satisfying your sweet tooth while leaving barely a trace of its calorie-free presence.
Stevia can be introduced painlessly into your life without compromising your lifestyle, while simultaneously providing relief from sugar related mood swings. Substitute a small pinch of stevia instead of a teaspoon of sugar in your tea or coffee, and instantly eliminate 365 teaspoons of sugar from your diet per year. There are also thousands of stevia recipes available online, so you can still bake cookies for your school fundraiser, or enjoy a slice of guilt-free pie.
A long-cherished paradigm of good health is that you must sacrifice taste in order to achieve your goal. Stevia eliminates that compromise and allows you to have your cake and eat it too. Itís a win-win situation; your sweet tooth is appeased, and your body is able to function more efficiently, leaving you feeling energized and productive. Though most of us have no idea how addicted we are to sugar, making friends with stevia will help you kick your habit while promoting longevity, metabolic stability, and a balanced state of mind.
Other negative impacts of sugar:
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases)
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
Learn more: The Harmful Effects of Sugar and Choosing Healthy Alternatives, Stevia Tea and Stevia Powder
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