On average, we eat over 2 1/2 pounds of sugar weekly, adding up to over 150 pounds of sugar annually in the form of sugary soft drinks, sweetened juices, cookies, cakes, and pastries, and hidden in processed and prepared foods . Compare that to our ancestors just over 100 years ago: They ate only 5 pounds of sugar annually.
Linked to high blood pressure , high cholesterol, heart disease , weight gain, diabetes , and premature aging, to name only a few, sugar in the amounts we consume is one of the worst substances we put into our bodies. Even a fairly small amount suppresses your immune system for between four and six hours, giving any viruses or bacteria you’ve been exposed to a heady advantage to take hold of your body. From ketchup and burgers to seasoning salts and juice, sugar may be lurking in the most unlikely places.
Here’s the good news: Sugar consumption is easy to reduce because we are starting from such a high quantity. This week and throughout the life force diet, eliminate soft drinks. If you are thirsty, drink water, herbal tea, or vegetable juice (be careful of the bottled brands—they can be full of sugar and salt too). If you have a sweet tooth, reach for a piece of fruit. I find a delicious blend of green tea lemonade made with freshly squeezed lemon, brewed green tea, ice, and sweetened only with stevia to be a great thirst quencher.
If you haven’t already thrown out anything in your cupboards or fridge that contains sweetener, now is the time to do so. Look for any ingredient that contains “-ose” such as glucose, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, etc. Instead, use small amounts (maximum 1 teaspoon three times a day) of pure, unpasteurized honey, pure maple syrup, barley malt, agave nectar, or the herb stevia. Replacing sugar with most artificial sugar substitutes is like replacing one poison with another. If you’re eating sugar substitutes, even ones supposedly “made from real sugar,” now is the time to kick the aspartame, lose the sucralose, and shun every food containing artificial sweeteners. No exceptions.
Stevia is the best choice and the only one that doesn’t affect blood sugar levels. It is naturally between 300 and 1000 times sweeter than sugar, depending on whether you’re using the whole herb or the liquid extract. I find liquid stevia has the best taste and the least aftertaste. You can use it in fresh juices like lemon or lime juice with water to make a delicious lemonade or limeade, or to sweeten herbal teas—either hot or iced ones instead of soft drinks—and even in baking (although most recipes will need ingredient adjustments when using stevia).
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Michelle Schoffro Cook, DNM, DAc, CNC, is a six-time and best-selling book author whose works include: The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, and The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan. She is a doctor of natural medicine, holistic nutritionist, and holistic life coach. Visit www.TheLifeForceDiet.com to learn more.
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