Like it sweet, but don't want the weight gain? Think you're doing it right by drinking diet sodas and chewing sugar free gum? Think again.
Ever since the aspertame (Equal, NutraSweet), was first introduced 35 years ago, it was touted as a solution for those who wanted to have their cake and eat it too. We were told we could have sweets and not gain weight. Who could resist? Recent studies of aspertame have concluded, however, that it has a carcinogenic effect. Perhaps it might have something to do with the fact that it turns into formaldehyde in the body?
So then what about Splenda? It's made from sugar, but it doesn't have any calories. Wouldn't that be better? Well, yes, if it wasn't a chlorinated version of sugar. Chlorine? Really? When't the last time you wanted to ingest it? I didn't think so.
So then there's Xylitol. It's the latest and the greatest - especially if you like to chew gum. But wait! Anything that ends in "itol" is a sugar alcohol, and sugar alcohols aren't well absorbed by the body. In fact, many laxatives have the same chemical makeup as xylitol, maltitol, sorbitol, and all the other "itols". From a Chinese medical perspective, these substances cause a downward movement of qi, or energy, and for this reason should be avoided by pregnant women.
I could go on, but you get the idea. So what should you do if you want something sweet?
My #1 recommendation is honey. But it must be raw, organic honey, because anything else is mostly corn syrup with honey in it. Yes, I know that it says "organic" and maybe even "pure honey", or "100% pure honey", but those labels are misleading. What they point to is the fact that the honey that's in there may be organic or pure (whatever that means), but they don't mean that everything in that jar is honey. It's a sneaky little labeling trick that the FDA has been allowing for years, under the heading of "proprietary information". In other words, not everything that's in our food is labeled, because to do so would mean that companies would have to give out their "secret sauce", so to speak.
There's also coconut sugar and brown rice syrup as alternatives, as well as agave syrup. And for those who like the taste of stevia, that's good too.
To live a healthy lifestyle doesn't mean that you have to become a monk. You can have something sweet. Just consider using natural sweeteners rather than something made in a laboratory. I like to tell my patients to read the labels on their food. If they can't pronounce or know what an ingredient is, how do they know it's food?