By Arrianne Nellaine Hernandez*
Ironically, despite warnings from many health experts about sugar and its unspeakable health implications, Americans are still hooked on sugar – specifically high fructose corn syrup – today more than ever.
Here’s how the usual sugar consumption trend in the U.S. has exponentially doubled in the last 300 years:
Excessive sugar intake is already alarming due to its negative effects on health and its substantial role in the widespread obesity epidemic in the country. However, there are still other toxic tastebud-satisfying sweeteners that you should watch out for, including:
High fructose corn syrup or HFCS is 20 times sweeter and three times cheaper than sucrose (table sugar), which is why it’s extensively used in almost every processed or pre-packaged food and beverage available in the market.
Stay away from the artificial sweetener aspartame, which is also referred to as NutraSweet® and Equal®. Today, it’s found in over 6,000 products, including soft drinks, gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, tabletop sweeteners, and some pharmaceuticals such as vitamins and sugar-free cough drops.
Best known for its marketing ploy “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar,” more studies and even consumer reports continue to expose the bitter truth about this sucralose-based artificial sweetening brand that has spelled major health disasters for diabetics.
It’s not advisable to consider agave syrup as a natural sugar substitute, because it’s just as bad as high fructose corn syrup due to its high fructose content. If you spot labels listing agave powder or agave nectar, it’s better to avoid it than to take risks.
Ideally, the best way save your health from the dangers of fructose is to simply cut back on sweets as much as you can. But of course, this is definitely no mean feat.
Nevertheless, you can also try these equally sweet but safe sugar-free alternatives:
This nutritious natural sweetener is sucrose derived from sugarcane. While there may be many versions of cane sugar available in supermarkets, opting for 100 percent certified organic is the best way to go.
Purchase only pure, unheated, unpasteurized, and unprocessed honey to guarantee that all the beneficial enzymes and nutritional elements are still intact. Ideally, they should look thicker, milkier, and still contain tiny particles of bee pollen, honeycomb, propolis, and other usual stuff. Check out pure honey sold in a local farmers’ market near your area.
Also known as sugar leaf or sweet leaf, stevia is a wholesome and natural alternative that's ideal if you’re watching your weight, or if you’re maintaining your health by avoiding sugar
However, the health benefits and safety of stevia is only proven in its natural form, since commercially available and pre-packaged stevia sweeteners are most likely highly processed and exposed to various chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Also, processed stevia sweeteners may have a bitter metallic aftertaste, which is related to the way it’s been processed.
To make your own natural stevia powdered sweetener, here’s what you should do:
As with all natural sweeteners, consume stevia in moderation. Note that one or two teaspoons of powdered stevia is already as sweet as one cup of granulated sugar.
*Arrianne Nellaine Hernandez works as a transcriptionist and web copywriter for one of the top natural health websites in the United States, Mercola.com, which has led her to appreciate the value of health even more. Growing up in a family prone to diabetes and learning the inconceivable side effects that come with, she now avoids anything that may contain high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners. Aside