Refined sugar is the fine white table sugar that we are all familiar with. It is the most commonly used type of sugar today. Between 1985 and 1999, the U.S. consumption of sugars added to food items increased by 23 percent.
U.S. adults consume more than 22 teaspoons of sugar per day! This is much higher than we should be consuming, which is about six teaspoons per day. Sugars now make up an average of 16 percent of our total calorie intake — and the majority of that is refined sugars. Refined sugar comes in many different forms, including:
- Brown sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Powdered sugar
- Turbinado sugar
- White table sugar
Like many other processed foods, refined sugar has a very high glycemic index and is converted to glucose very quickly after its ingestion. This causes a surge in insulin production. Prolonged use of refined sugar leads to a host of health problems including diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance. Its use also leads to deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. The refining of sugar involves stripping vitamins and minerals from the end product.
I cannot stress enough the dangers of eating refined sugar. Researchers have shown that white blood cells, the first line of defense of our immune system, become dysfunctional for up to five hours after ingestion of refined sugar. Needless to say, inactivating the first step in our immune system is never a good thing to do. Every patient I have treated who removed all sources of refined sugar from their diet has seen a significant improvement in their health. Their immune system improves and metabolism rises. If they have an autoimmune disorder, that condition improves.
Xylitol is a healthy option if you are considering a sweetener alternative. It is a naturally occurring sugar substitute that can be found in berries, fruit, vegetables, and mushrooms. Pure xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and tastes like sugar, but with about 1/3 of the calories. On food labels, xylitol is classified broadly as a carbohydrate and more narrowly as a polyol or sugar alcohol; however, xylitol is considered a ‘sugar-free’ sweetener. As a low-glycemic sweetener, Xylitol is safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics. Xylitol has also been shown to decrease the incidence of tooth decay.
To Your Good Health!
-Dr. David Brownstein
To learn more about sweetener alternatives click on the link Xylo-Sweet by Xlear (pronounces as ‘Clear’)