Children are born with a much stronger preference for sweet flavors. This is nature’s way of protecting them; as most poisonous herbs and plants taste bitter so that a child would naturally reject or avoid them. By adolescence, as they matured, they would lose some of this sweet preference but by then they would have learned which plants were safe to eat. Today so many children are fed sweets that they never lose the taste for them. My own mother would have a desert waiting for me when I got home from school and so every day at 4 PM I crave a sweet.
According to the USDA the average person eats 50% more sugar than people did 50 years ago ~ this is about 150 lbs of sugar per person per year. We understand the dangers of sugar but we have not lost our taste for all things sweet ~ enter artificial sweeteners and they are not created equal – excuse me ~ they are not the same.
Equal and NutraSweet contain synthetic amino acids that comprise aspartame
~ phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. It does not get absorbed in the body so it doesn’t raise blood sugar but still the body must get rid of it.
Splenda is made with sugar combined with chlorine. Splenda
does not get absorbed in the body so it doesn’t raise blood sugar but
it can cause an upset stomach – and chlorine has its own dangers.
Saccharine /Sweet ‘n Low; Saccharine first debuted in 1879. The basic ingredient is benzoic sulfinide. It had a slightly bitter taste but for the first time diabetics could enjoy a desert. In 1958 Saccharin was shown to cause cancer in animals. In 1977 the FDA tried to ban it but
the public outcry was so great ~ people wanted their sweet taste no
matter what. Saccharine is very sweet and it does get absorbed by the
body but supposedly it is excreted unchanged.
High fructose corn syrup is in so many foods. It is not sugar but it was artificially created in the 1960’s. It is a blend of fructose and glucose but it is metabolized differently than sugar. It is the Number 1 sweetener in America and is in everything from crackers to tomato sauce.
Warning: High Fructose Corn Syrup is processed in the liver and many researchers fear that it could cause liver damage – even more fear that it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
There are sugar alcohols like Xylitol that are not artificially created. They occur in such foods as berries, oats, and mushrooms. They
do not get absorbed or digested so they do not raise blood glucose like
sugar does. However because they do not get digested, they can create
gas and bloating.
Stevia belongs to a genus of plants
native to South and Central America. The extract from its leaves has
300 times the sweetness of sugar yet has a negligible effect on blood
glucose. It is part of the sunflower family which I am highly allergic to so I found out the hard way that it wasn’t right for me. When considering herbs or plants always look up their Latin names so that you don’t make this same mistake.