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Natural Sugar Substitutes

Updated on June 11, 2014

Healthy Sugar Alternatives

Many people know that if you are diabetic, sugar is bad for you, and they are looking for natural sugar substitutes that replace the refined white sugar with something natural, something healthier that doesn't cause them problems.

However did you know that the pure white refined sugar is bad for everyone, not only for diabetics? It is just as bad as table salt and both should be avoided (as much as possible) from the diet, and to be replaced with healthy substitutes that are not stripped from their nutrients in the factory where these products are made.

Ever since I've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I've been looking at eating healthier overall. Sure, we can't always do that, but if we just eliminate a few things from our diet and replace them with something healthier, it's already a battle won in the war against sickness and illnesses of all kinds.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Why Sugar Is Bad For Us

The Negative Effects Of Sugar For Our Health

For years natural health doctors knew that unnatural sugar is poison to our body. And yet we are consuming several pounds of sugar every single week, especially the highly refined white sugar, which goes through a lot of processes that strip it from all the vitamins, minerals, fibers and nutrients, leaving instead nothing more than refined carbohydrates.

The problem with refined sugar is that it is in an unnatural state. It is refined with chemicals, while all the "good things" that the natural sugar had are stripped away from it in the process.

Already back in 1957 Dr. William Coda Martin knew the dangers of ingesting too much refined sugar. He said:

"The body cannot utilize this refined starch and carbohydrate unless the depleted proteins, vitamins and minerals are present."

This is why we should instead consume natural sugar in one form or another, and we should especially avoid giving refined sugar to small children who are literally getting toxins in their body from an early age.

What doctors found over the years is that we are consuming more and more sugar every single year and with this we are exposing ourselves to more and more health problems. Here are just a few of the negative effects of refined sugar for our health:

* Sugar weakens our immune system

I've only recently learned about this problem since I started to research about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's (Hashimoto's disease is an immune system disorder). When we are taking in too much sugar in our system, we basically upset the gentle balance between the blood and sugar, which causes a major release of insulin in the body.

High insulin levels inhibit the release of grow hormones, and that weakens the immune system, which could in turn trigger all sorts of illnesses, from the common cold and flu, to cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

Sadly too much insulin also pushes the fat to be stored in the body, which leads of weight gain and obesity. Have you noticed already kids grossly overweight who are munching on sweets all day long? This is the main reason for it, and they are getting even sicker over time.

* Processed sugar gives us empty calories

When the sugar is emptied from all the vitamins and minerals that our body requires to survive, all we get are empty calories which create something called toxic metabolite, including the formation of pyruvic acid. Now pyruvic acid interfers with the proper cell respiration, which need the right amount of oxygen and thus sugar literally kills off some of our cells.

And we know that when cells die (without being replaced by new cells) it is the start of various degenerative diseases in the body, which right now have no real cure.

The main problem with empty calories is that for the body to be able to process them, they need natural minerals and vitamins. Since they are literally stripped away from these healthy minerals, our body has to use its own supplies for processing, adding an unnecessary stress on the cells. The most important minerals and vitamins that our body borrows from its own cells are calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. It is not surprising that many people who are literally addicted to sweets are vitamin and mineral deficient.

* Sugar depletes the body from useful calcium

By now we know that calcium is needed in the body especially by kids to grow strong and healthy bones and teeth. Sugar depletes the body from the useful calcium, this including the bones, teeth and hair as well. Hence the bones become osteoporotic, the teeth become decayed and full of caries (have you seen how many kids have already caries in their teeth these days?) and the hair becomes brittle, frizzy and with split ends.

It is no wonder that so many people develop diabetes, hypoglycemia, gallstones, and so many other illnesses that are seemingly totally unrelated to their real cause: eating too much white refined sugar.

Image credits: Creative Commons

Books That Discuss The Harm That Processed Sugar Brings To Us

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Nutrition

In this book Dr. David Reuben says about the white sugar:

"White refined sugar-is not a food. It is a pure chemical extracted from plant sources, purer in fact than cocaine, which it resembles in many ways."

 
Suicide by Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction
Suicide by Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction

I've enjoyed reading this book that exposes the dangers that white sugar brings to our health. From obesity to hypoglycemia, from dementia, epilepsy and cancer, sugar can cause so many illnesses that could be avoided if we only replaced it with natural sugar substitutes

 
Sugar Blues
Sugar Blues

Written back in 1975 this book is just as timely as it was when it was initially published.

So what is sugar blues? In the author's words:

"Multiple physical and mental miseries caused by human consumption of refined sucrose - commonly called sugar.

 
Diet, Crime & Delinquency
Diet, Crime & Delinquency

Diet, Crime & Delinquency

by Alexander Schauss

Diet, Crime and Deliquency is another great book that I came across while researching the possible side effects of eating too much sugar. It has been recommended to me in a Curezone health group and I bought the Kindle edition right away. It was a very interesting read and especially that the book was written by a well known criminologist (and not a doctor or health nutritionist that we are so used to already).

The author promotes the idea that crimes can be prevented by changing the diet especially in kids and teens and a healthy nutrition devoid of process sugars, processed table salt and so many other harmful products would seriously cut down on all sorts of crimes and on the rate of deliquency in the world.

It is a book that I can highly recommend for anyone: health practitioners, parents and everyone who is concerned about all the poisons that are introduced in our diets and want to turn the tide around to a healthier and fuller diet.

The White Poison Called Sugar

What Does Refining Mean Anyway?

When we talk about refined sugar or refined salt, it is basically about making something "pure" by extracting the natural elements from it through chemical processing and heating at awfully high degrees until only the pure sugar or salt remains, nothing else. Scary right?

Natural Sugar Substitutes That Keep Us Healthy

Stevia
Stevia

Having seen what refined sugar can do to our health, let's see what are some of the natural sugar substitutes that we can consume without fear of getting sick and accumulating toxins in our body over time.

Image credits: Creative Commons

  1. Stevia - In its natural form, Stevia is a great natural sugar substitute. It is a natural sweetener that is in fact 300 times sweeter than the regular white sugar. However as it is a natural substitute, it doesn't cause any spikes in the levels of blood sugar. If you have diabetes, this is the perfect natural sweetener that is recommended all around.

    Using stevia is quite easy - if you are adding it to your coffee or tea, simply add a leaf or two to sweeten it up. You can also let it dry, grind it to a powder afterwards and add a teaspoon to your favorite food or beverage.

  2. Xylitol - Xylitol is another natural sweetener that is usually found in many fruits and many vegetables. In fact even our liver produces a tiny amount of xylitol. While it was first discovered in the 19th Century, it is still not overly well known, although it should be. Xylitol is great for preventing caries (this is maybe it's biggest benefit overall).

    You might know xylitol from chewing gum with it included. Some of the popular chewing gums including xylitol are Trident, B-Fresh, Spry and Xponent.

    Xylitol is really great at protecting the teeth of children against tooth decay.

    Except for the teeth, Xylitol also seems to increase the absorbtion of the B vitamins and calcium in the body.

  3. Raw honey - Here I'm not talking about the regular honey you find in the supermarket. That is also made mostly of processed sugar. Sure, it is a natural sweetener, but it is not a healthy one. In fact honey contains the most calories in any sugar. For example in one tablespoon of regular white sugar you have calories, while honey offers you the ridiculous high amount per tablespoon of 65 calories.

    This is why raw, unprocessed honey is the way to go to sweeten your coffee or tea. It has lots of antioxidants (which protect the body from various illnesses including cancers), amino acids, vitamins and minerals, along with carbohydrates and phytonutrients - all these things which are stripped off from processed honey that you buy in the stores. In addition it doesn't contain any pesticides.

  4. Agave nectar and maple syrup - Both are healthy, natural and sweet. For example agave nectar is about 25% sweeter than the sugar, so you can save on calories by using less. Both agave nectar and maple syrup have a high percent of minerals within, so they are both equally good. Some people say that agave nectar has a higher concentration of them.

    The agave nectar is made from the agave plant and it is used to sweeten all your beverages. It is very safe to use as it doesn't have any harmful chemicals, and it's the sweetener of choice especially when you want to consume a low calorie diet.

  5. Raw cane sugar - Cane sure is healthy, but it has to be in raw, unprocessed form, just as the raw honey. Raw cane sure is nothing but the boiled down, evaporated cane juice.

Great Natural Sugar Substitutes

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners At All Costs

Did you know that in fact artificial sweeteners are worse than consuming white table sugar? Saccharine and aspartame products can cause brain tumors, memory loss, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, birth defects, fribromyalgia, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and several others.

Some of the popular aspartame brands to avoid are: NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure.

The Dangers Of Artificial Sweeteners

Tips To Reduce White Sugar From Our Diet

Here are a few things we can do to slowly slowly remove the toxic white sugar from our diet.

* Avoid adding sugar to drinks such as coffee and tea, and from cereals and fruits.

* Eat as much natural food as possible. The more food is processed, the more the blood sugar in the body is raised.

* If you are craving something sweet, instead of chocolates and candies why not chew on a cinammon stick?

* Do not buy any commercial sweets and desserts, even when you are offered them for free after dinner in your favorite restaurant.

* Eat fresh fruits when you want something sweet.

* When you're shopping, become a label detective. You've got to learn to read and understand labels where it tells you what the product contains when it comes to packaged foods. Processed foods are bad, bad, bad for us anyway.

Do You Love Sugar?

Do You Love Sugar?

See results

What Natural Sugar Substitutes Are You Consuming?

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    • kislanyk profile image
      Author

      Marika 4 years ago from Cyprus

      @jennysue19: Jenny, what I suggest you do (that's how I started also my journey to health) is checking out the site Stop the Thyroid Madness (just google it and it'll be the first up). Did you know that NDT was originally prescribed years and years ago by doctors and i was working just well? RIght until the 'big pharma' decided to create a synthetic product that they could patent and make millions of it (they couldn't patent NDT as it's a natural product). Every since people are suffering from the side effects of levothyroxine and it's only with since the wide reach of the internet that people started to go back to the natural cures that always helped, which really put people first and money second.

      I also buy my NDT online from a trusted source - but if you check out the site I told you about, you'll learn more than you'd ever want to know about why levo it's simply a bad, bad, bad idea - recently it has even been linked to lung cancer based on a study done in Italy this year. I kid you not.

      There are also some great Facebook groups on helping people with hypothyroidism that you could check out - if you want, just send me a direct message and I'll give you details.

      Btw, another thing I"ve started recently is taking Lugol's iodine internally -it's another treatment that worked very well from the 1800s and it's one of those things that it's getting banned slowly slowly especially in the US. It just boggles the mind really...

    • jennysue19 profile image

      jennysue19 4 years ago

      @kislanyk: It's quite bizarre and there are debates going on, both sides of the Atlantic on NDT. In the UK, it's banned. Doctors won't prescribe it under threat from GMC. Some are now doing so undercover if you pay an astronomic price for a private prescription AND pay for the NDT online. I was diagnosed hypothyroid aged 18 months and took NDT till age 27 when the ban came in, I was fine. Then the ban came in and over the next few years I put on colossal amounts of weight and felt tired and ill all the time. It took a major kicking for an endo and then my doc to let me have T4+T3 but I agree, it is not as good as NDT and I fear I will never get it back.

    • kislanyk profile image
      Author

      Marika 4 years ago from Cyprus

      @jennysue19: Jenny I no longer take Levothyroxine, but switched first to T3 (the same as you are taking) and then later to NDT (natural desiccated thyroid). Never felt good on Levo, felt better on T3 alone, but now with NDT I'm literally back to normal. If you feel that T3 is ok for you but still not quite right, give NDT a go, you'll not regret it.

    • jennysue19 profile image

      jennysue19 4 years ago

      I eat very little sugar anyway, and what I do use is unprocessed and organic. Interested to hear about hypothyroidism diagnosis. You should be aware that levothyroxine on its own does not work for everyone, I also take liothyronine (equivalent to T3).

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Thank you for this very helpful information about Natural Sugar Substitutes. I need to find a sugar substitute.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      I mostly use raw sugar.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      I'm glad you mentioned artificial sweeteners as they are a worse culprit than sugar!

      Thanks for a thought provoking article.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      I use Truvia and maltitol. Having two parents with diabetes, I am doing everything I can to be as healthy as possible. I eat mostly greens and fruits. Thanks for spreading awareness. Very important.

    • Susan Zutautas profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I use Stevia. Very informative lens!

    • kislanyk profile image
      Author

      Marika 4 years ago from Cyprus

      @David Stone1: Oh definitely, the bad things do take their time to develop, you won't get Alzheimer's or cancer or whatnot within 5 years of consuming it - but honestly for me it's like the blue pill vs the red pill - once I've learned the dangers (as opposed to being in the matrix all my life), I can't ignore it anymore, especially when I already have some health issues I need to address, where going natural simply helps.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 4 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I always use honey and try to avoid sugary products. Good information!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 4 years ago

      I have problems with low blood sugar, which actually puts me at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, so I stick with honey. I have two bottles of raw cane syrup from a friend who manufactures it, but the taste is a little strange to me. I just feel so much better when I avoid sugar and other simple carbs, but it's a challenge.

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      I have such a big sweet tooth, I really need to find a better substitute. Thanks for the information!

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I am quite lucky in that I have never really liked sweet drinks which are where many people pick up the extra sugar they consume. Fabulous article and your opening image is very eye catching (It drew me in).

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I absolutely avoid artificial sweeteners (they give me bad headaches) but I'll be honest, I use sugar or honey, though we try not to go overboard with sweets of any kind (sometimes we fail). Great article, very well researched and much appreciated!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I'm not using any of these sugar substitutes...but I'm now rethinking the whole thing due to your lens. Good research on this and well written.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      My daughter has grown stevia in the past and used it. I use sugar but sparingly.

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 4 years ago from New York City

      None. I put white sugar in my coffee every day and have for 50 years. Never had a problem.

    • Lenskeeper profile image

      Lenskeeper 4 years ago

      I like agave nectar, especially on apple slices.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      It's hard to avoid but with effort you can certainly cut down on the amount of sugar you consume!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      Great lens! Love natural! Sundae ;-)

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