sharing knowledge; enhancing wellbeing.
With Halloween just around the corner, and genetically modified organism (GMO) talk everywhere you turn (and, as a side note, may I just commend all of you who are out there bringing this issue to light?!? THANK YOU!), I think it is only appropriate to discuss the dreaded issue of sugar. Yes, yes… I know. (Almost) everyone loves it. In fact, most people can’t get enough! And, while I am not a current sugar addict, I have a lot of empathy for those who are – in past I would eat Snickers for breakfast and Skittles for lunch. But, now I know the dangers associated with mindlessly munching sugar and how to get my fix in a safe and healthy way. So, without further ado, let’s tackle this issue once and for all! I know that most of you are aware of the negative consequences of too much sugar in your diet (weight gain, diabetes, et cetera), so I don’t want to go there, but I do want to talk about the quality of various sugars on the market, and how you can learn to detect which are best for you and yours.
Something that everyone must understand is that biotech companies (like the dreaded Monsanto) have major stakes in the sugar market. They’ve used their mad scientist skills to create a GM sugar beet, and this means that anytime you see the plain and simple word “sugar” on the list of ingredients to your favorite product, you pretty much have to drop it and run as far as you are able. Yes, the plain and simple “sugar” is now something that you need to avoid for reasons other than weight gain (think allergies, cancerous tumors, infertility, and who knows what else because the biotech companies don’t release their products for independent research).
Another sweetener to avoid is “brown rice syrup.” While this was once thought of as a good alternative, recent reports are informing the public of the arsenic issue with rice. There are new standards for cooking rice (eg cook and drain like pasta), and it is unlikely that those using “brown rice syrup” are preparing this sweetener in a way that is mindful of the excess arsenic. (Side note: thankfully our FDA is actually doing something about this issue and creating new standards for acceptable levels of arsenic in rice. In the meantime buy organic. The arsenic issue stems from the use of pesticides. So while organic rice still has arsenic in it because of soil and water issues, there is likely less AND you are promoting sustainable farming practices so that in the future the issue of arsenic in the soil from pesticide use might be a non-issue).
Lastly, avoid high fructose corn syrup. The GMO issue applies again here because the vast majority of the corn grown and used in this country is in fact GM. On top of the fact that anytime you are eating high fructose corn syrup you are consuming a gene that was created to make the GI tract of living creatures explode so that they instantly die, there is also a great deal of mercury in this deadly sweetener. Mercury is associated with brain damage, birth defects, autism, and a host of other not-so-great disease, so I advise anyone I encounter to avoid high fructose corn syrup.
That being said, there is a safe way to get your sugar fix – know your alternatives! While simple “sugar” on the ingredient list is a big no-no, “cane sugar” is a safer bet. Better yet, look for “organic cane sugar” that is fair-trade. If you are baking yourself, try coconut sugar, local organic honey, or stevia and sweeten to your heart’s delight! Lastly, if you are buying candy, buy organic or at least candy that lists “cane sugar” on the label.
There are plenty of safe alternatives out there to help you through this Halloween season and beyond. While making the safe switch might seem overwhelming, believe me when I say it can be done (my sweet tooth is never unsatisfied!). And, if you ever need any good recommendations, please don’t hesitate to ask questions!
In sweet wellness,