Sugar tastes good. Unfortunately, it tastes SO good that it is often addictive, thus, difficult to know how much is too much. In very minute amounts an occasional treat with sugar does not pose a major threat to our health. However, when consumed on a regular basis in products such as candy, soda pop, and pastries, sugar becomes an addiction, creating the desire for the body to consume an ever increasing amount. According to the American Heart Association, people should have no more then an average of seven teaspoons of sugar in any given 24 hour period.
Even worse for the human body than sugar, is high-fructose corn syrup. Not only is most corn in North America and parts of Europe, now genetically modified, it is the leading contributing factor in Diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity. This super-processed substance should never be consumed under any circumstances. (It is wise to check labels to be certain there is no high-fructose corn syrup in any products you might consume before consuming it).
Chemically compounded sweeteners such as aspartame, Saccharin, and sucralose, each present proven health hazards of their own, such as brain injury, heart injury, and cancer, thus, it is wise to avoid these completely.
Safe alternatives include the following:
Xylitol is made from the husks of birch bark, while tasting very much, even indistinguishable from sugar. It has a glycemic index of only seven as opposed to white table sugar with a glycemic index of 100. Additionally, it has 90% fewer calories than sugar as well. Not only is Xylitol harmless, it is healthful as well. It is known by the American Dental Society to prevent and even reverse tooth decay, and is now being used as a sweetener in many dentist recommended chewing gums. Similarly, it helps prevent and clear up sinus infections. Xylitol is a natural insulin stabilizer, thus making it not only harmless but healthful to persons with diabetes.
Stevia is a plant that is native to South America. It consists of multiple compounds of glucose, giving it its sweet taste. Stevia is about 400 times sweeter than sugar while not carrying the health hazards that sugar does. it is extremely low on the glycemic index and does not affect the levels of the blood sugar. It is easily available in most supermarkets in the United States and Europe. The only possible issue with Stevia is that some people do not like it because it has a slight licorice after-taste.
Honey has been used as a sweetener for hundreds of years. Collected by bees from flowers and other plants, this nectar features many health benefits. It is low compared to sugar on the glycemic index, has about half the calories and is known to prevent several detrimental health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.