Monday, February 1, 2010

The dangerous chemical we call sugar

We have all heard it growing up: "sugar makes your teeth rot", but does it really? More curiously, is why sugar has come under attack in the recent years and why it has also become a messiah to others.

We all know what sugar is, right? Sugar is a plant's food that is stored in the plant. For those of you who remember your grade-school studies, photosynthesis is when a plant takes sunlight and carbon dioxide and makes energy, or glucose, sugar. This sugar is what the plant uses to do work and get energy from. Much of the same is true of humans, as we eat the plants and absorb that glucose as our bodies use it to get energy from as well. Sugar is natural and it is a natural way of storing energy. Sugar has always been under attack from psychologists as they sometimes think it is responsible for making kids over-active and making them act out. Dentists complain because the sugar gives energy to the bacteria, which then decay our teeth. Doctors complain because sugar is empty calories and causes aches and pains in our bodies when we have too much. Lastly, sometimes our pancreas doesn't release enough insulin and then that can be a problem with too much sugar remaining in our bodies.

So a group of wizards met in the desert and decided that sugar should be removed from all things and replaced. But what do you replace it with? Options flew all over the place. One such suggestion was Sweet n' low, which contained Saccharin. Saccharin has repeatedly been shown and tested to cause cancer in lab animals and a warning label is required on all packages noting this. They say that safe amounts are less than 6 packets and less than two 8 ounce drinks made from it.

What about Aspartame? It is a chemical that instantly absorbs into anything, be it watery liquids or tissues and organs. It has been linked to be the cause of up to 92 different reactions from simple anxiety to death.

Okay, here is Splenda, there can't be anything wrong with it right? Well, Splenda is made from real sugar, that is correct, but it also has a man-made chlorine molecule in it as well as as many pieces removed, to make the sucralose indigestible. This causes issues as because so much has been removed or changed we have no idea what the man-made chlorine can do to your body. These leaves some people in the dark, as it may be a potential danger but without correct information, we have no idea.

Well, what about those HFCS ads? High fructose corn syrup is when sugar is mixed with regular corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is bad because it is not natural; your body doesn't recognize it as a sugar, so your body doesn't release insulin to fight it. The sugar goes straight into your blood where it either travels around causing havoc and/or is stored for immediate use: turned into fat. Currently according to the government, Americans consume more HFCS than white sugar each day. As a result, Americans are getting fatter, getting diabetes, having more body and head aches and have worsening teeth. When there are too many coincidences, I tend to thing there is a connection and in this case, I believe as well as many other doctors and experts, that there is a connection.

So, why not use the natural sugar? Well now things made with natural sugars cost more than those with the HFCS and the substitutes. You could also use harmless substitutes like Stevia or Xylitol.

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