Why sugar is not a food

Sugar has been around for thousands of years in one form or another. People love sweet tastes and indulging in sugary treats. But there is a huge difference between using raw sugar cane stalks and using the white refined sugar that we are so familiar with. Refined sugar is so processed and concentrated that it doesn’t seem to be a food at all.

Sugar cane contains high concentrations of sucrose and is usually used to make refined sugar. Sugar cane looks like a thick stalk of bamboo, and the sap is stored in the stalk. A harvested stalk of sugar cane will yield 10-15% of its weight in sugar. Sugar cane is burned, harvested, chopped, cleaned, washed, and the juice extracted, filtered, and purified into a juice. The juice is boiled and evaporated into thick syrup, then crystallized, centrifuged, dried, and packaged. This all sounds fine until you take a closer look.

Sugar juice is purified using calcium hydroxide to coagulate particles. Then the clear juice is separated through a carbon sedimentation process before evaporating and boiling to reduce it to about 1/3 of its original volume. Sugar is crystallized by seeding it with sugar grains and mixing it with methylated spirit and glycerine to grow crystals. The crystals are separated by centrifugal force. You would think that the sugar is done now, but it is not. This raw sugar is then melted before refining into syrup, washing, and clarifying it with phosphoric acid and more calcium hydroxide. Then it is concentrated further by boiling again, and making white crystals. This all sounds like a science experiment to me, not a food preparation!

Ten pounds of sugar cane goes into one pound of white sugar. After processing and refining the sugar cane, there are no vitamins, minerals, or nutrients left in it. The extreme concentration of sugar causes huge spikes in your blood sugar – first by making it rise abnormally high and then by causing a large drop. This is why you might experience all kinds of health symptoms from eating sugar from hyperactivity, headaches, mood swings, depression, and fatigue. Concentrated sugar triggers the same part of the brain that is stimulated by addictive drugs. Sugar also causes diabetes, obesity, binge-eating, and fuels chronic inflammation and disease. Why do this to yourself?

Just for today, try to replace sugar with a natural non-chemical sweetener. I recommend honey, agave nectar, stevia, date sugar or coconut sugar! Once you switch to natural sweeteners, your taste buds will readjust and you will enjoy the natural flavors instead of the intense concentrated sugary taste.

(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of “The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.” Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at beth@holistichealthhotspot.com)

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