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There have been so many comments and questions that have hit my inbox regarding sweeteners I thought I would deal with it now rather than later, as I was planning to do. Modern manmade processed and refined or artificial sweeteners include white granulated sugar, powdered sugar, raw sugar, unbleached sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, agave, sucralose, cyclamate, asperrtame, and saccharin. Not one of these is actually good for you. They are each a result of a manufacturing process that strips natural vitamins and minerals from the sugar and renders end products absent of true nutritional value. Each is addictive and is better left alone.

A small subgroup of sweeteners that maintains vitamins and minerals during minimal processing include rapadura, turrbinado, piloncillo, sucanat, and molasses. These should be used sparingly or not at all.

More traditional sweeteners that have been upon the earth for thousands of years and that are simple, whole, and far more natural than our first list of sweeteners include honey, date sugar, sorghum syrup, maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut and palm sugar, and stevia. Even these best of best sweeteners should be used sparingly or not at all.

In this post let's look a bit more closely at artificial or manmade sweeteners, which ought to be banned from use, except possibly in times of famine. Even then, much better options exist:

All white sugar derivatives such as granulated sugar, powdered sugar, unbleached sugar, cane sugar, and beet sugar are crystalline substances that are 50% fructose and 50% glucose. They are produced by extracting the sweet juices from sugarcane or sugar beets and then by treating the cane or beets with lime, boiling it, crystalizing it and then processing it further with Some other chemicals. The sugar is then filtered and cleaned through activated carbon or bone char to scrub it completely clean. Unfortunately, this process removes the molasses and all trace minerals, such as manganese, selenium, iron, copper, and so forth rendering the final product devoid of nutritional value and even harmful.

Brown sugar is no better than white sugar; it is created using the same process just discussed, only a little molasses is added back to the refined sugar to darken it to provide the illusion of it being a more healthful sugar.

High Fructose Corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn by striping away everything from the corn except the starch; then enzymes are added to the corn starch which transforms the glucose present in the corn starch into High Fructose corn syrup. It is made using a very similar process that is used to create agave nectar. It has existed since the 1960s and volumes of research has been done that has linked it strongly to many detrimental effects. It is currently manufacturers sweetener of choice.

Agave Nectar: A Johnny come lately on the sweetener scene that is touted as raw, natural, and organic is agave. It has been produced since about 1990. We have not had the advantage of 50 years worth of research to truly understand this sweetener, but some significant research has been done and we should learn from past mistakes (High Fructose Corn Syrup - HFCS) and the similarities this product shares, some of which are far worse than HFCS. Some now believe HFCS is actually more healthful than agave, due to the exceptionally high fructose content of agave nectar. The Glycemic Index Institute has issued a strong warning against agave nectar. No matter how you look at it, it is a problematic manmade, cooked (unraw), unnatural, and non-organic sweetener. Not a single agave product on the market is truly natural or "raw" or even "organic." The original legislation that created the organic label has been seriously compromised by the USDA. The intent of the legislation was that no manmade chemicals would be used in organic food preparation processes, and that the food would be whole. The senator who originally proposed the organic legislation has issued a statement saying that by the current standards used to create the organic label, the label has become utterly meaningless and is outright deceptive to the American public. Agave nectar is not a whole food, it is not natural, it is manmade and is therefore not truly organic, according to what you and I ought to be able to believe that label represents--in spite of any organic certifications which may exist for a particular brand of agave. How is all agave made? It is manufactured by first extracting the natural juices of the agave plant, and then by subjecting those juices to a series of centrifuges and filters to remove substances and color from the juice. After which it is sent through heated centrifuges which warms the liquid to 140 degrees (no longer raw). Enzymes are then added to the juice and the more healthful natural sugars of the plant, known as aguamiel are then transformed into fractionated fructose and dextrose. It then goes through more centrifuge filtering and finally is sent through an evaporator to reduce water content and to double sugar content. This utterly manmade refining process only began in the 1990s and is a new and completely unproven addition to man's diet. By comparison, Aguamiel, the unrefined sweetener of the agave plant, has been used to sweeten beverages for thousands of years. It is whole and natural but has been transformed into a non-wholesome substance that contains as much as 90% fractionated fructose. By comparison, corn syrup, with all its documented ill effects, contains only 55% fructose. The FDA has labeled agave as a natural food, but they also labeled High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as a natural food. It's time that we overcome meaningless labels and slick marketing. This is a new manmade sweetener, not one that has nourished humans for thousands of years such as honey--which is wholly made by bees. By comparison, agave is made through a multi-step manmade process that alters the sugar to an unnatural state. Many researchers now believe the fructose index of a sweetener is the greater determinant regarding the healthfulness of sweeteners. Concentrated amounts of fructose, such as those found in agave, is linked to fatty liver disease, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and to hyperlipidemia.

Artificial Sweeteners Summary: all artificial sweeteners should be banned from your kitchen; many are banned in other countries. These chemical-based substitutes are a result of complicated manufacturing processes that strip potentially healthful nutrients and render the final product dangerous, regardless of what irresponsible manufacturers claim about these products. They are linked to demineralization of the body, poor eyesight, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, accelerated aging, osteoporosis, and obesity--among many other diseases. Because of their addictive quality, recommendations of manufacturers to use them in moderation are utterly meaningless, which thing pencil-pushing and number-crunching manufacturers and resellers of such products count on. They are pure Babylonian product that will have no place in future Zion.

I am not seeking political correctness in this article, nor do I apologize for my frankness. There is no basis to the potential oppositional fallout from this article. If it comes, it will come from those who are somehow vested in these manmade products. Moreover, I recommend that you go to your cupboards and eliminate all artificial manmade sweeteners without exception, and remove them to longterm storage, where "at most" they will be used in times of emergency for energy production and sustaining life during critical times that will not last forever. In my next blog, Sweeteners, Part 2 I will discuss truly natural sweeteners in more detail. Until then...

All My Best,
James Daniel Simmons






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Comment by Dianne Grande Hughes on November 27, 2010 at 5:46pm
Thanks so much, Sharla. I will check again near the canning area, then go online for it.
Comment by Sharla Moyes on November 26, 2010 at 3:49pm
Dianne,
When I've found it in a grocery store it is near the canning supplies. You can also order it online and it isn't too expensive online.
Comment by James Simmons on November 1, 2010 at 11:19pm
I have been in communication with manufacturers of various sweeteners to learn of information that may shed more light upon the subject of sweeteners. Unfortunately, thus far manufacturer responses sometimes amount to the manipulation of scientific data--for special marketing effects. But this is not always the case. In the few instances where information will add to the discussion, I will update the blog. Jim
Comment by James Simmons on October 25, 2010 at 11:04pm
High Dianne, you can go to the following website of the manufacturer to order it or to look up distribution outlets: http://www.carnetfoods.com/
Comment by Dianne Grande Hughes on October 25, 2010 at 4:56pm
I have a question that does not have to do with sweeteners. I've been trying several recipes in your book and they call for ultra gel. I cannot find this in any of our stores, including our health food stores. I shop in Fort Wayne, IN. Can you tell me if this is something to be found in stores or do I order it online?
Thank you!
Comment by James Simmons on October 23, 2010 at 12:41am
Kristen, Below are a just a few Internet links from googling Artificial Sweeteners and Poor Vision. I believe I also read a report yesterday from the Glycemic Research Institute that stated poor vision is one of the symptoms of artificial sweetener usage they have run into in their research. I've read hundreds of articles on sweeteners this week and do not remember precisely where I read this on the Glycemic Research Institute site, but I think it may have been in a 17 page protocols report.

Here are a few links on vision and artificial sweeteners to consider:
http://www.mac-archive.com/ns/side.html
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-to-improve-vision-naturally.html
http://www.ivanfraser.com/articles/health/aspartame.html
http://www.americanacupuncture.com/artificial%20sweeteners.html
http://www.newfrontier.com/asheville/aspartame.htm

Jim
Comment by Kristen Wilkinson on October 22, 2010 at 7:49am
You mention a link between artificial sweetener and poor eyesight. Could you tell me where to find information on this link?
Comment by James Simmons on October 21, 2010 at 11:45am
Michelle, recognition and good direction is half the battle; it sounds as if you have encompassed both. I don't believe all sweeteners should be eliminated, although it certainly wouldn't hurt a person to go without them for a time until their body readjusts to a more natural appetite. The 24 hours water fast, although it doesn't provide many of the healthful fasting benefits associated with longer fasts, it does effectively help reset our tastes toward a more natural balance sugar, salt, and fat in the diet. For some reason, over time, we all seem to move toward an unhealthful increase in these three. Keep up the great work:) Best, Jim
Comment by Michelle Curtiss on October 21, 2010 at 10:26am
We have moved along a path in our family where we try to use only honey and 100% pure maple syrup instead of white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar and the dreaded HFCS. I have found that even though we haven't reduce our use of sweeteners as much as I hope we will in the future. I am still losing weight and feeling healthier with the honey and syrup in place of the other.

With a husband and small children it is hard to remove all worldly influences on our diet immediately, but we have followed a path I like to define as "from store junk food to store "health food", from homemade junk food to homemade health food. It has been a process these last few years (mostly because I have had to learn what actually is healthy and what is not) but we are in the final phase from homemade junk food (all homemade food including plenty of cookies and treats) to where we are finally beginning to enjoy homemade health food: grains, fruits, veggies. I'm not sure how to get the kids off of eating as much honey and syrup as they do, but I feel better knowing that HFCS and the rest are quickly becoming obsolete in our house. (I do have white sugar in our long term food storage. Its been there awhile and probably won't leave until I am able to replace it with a sufficient amount of healthey sweeteners.)
Comment by James Simmons on October 20, 2010 at 4:48pm
I actually wrote an article speaking to this very issue and why I've changed my stance. Moreover, I have not offered any group orders on agave since changing my position. Agave took the the alternative sweetener market by storm, before any sound research was done. There are undoubtedly credible companies out there seeking to bring a descent sweetener to market, but by in large this is not true. Even among the more reputable companies there are many issues with this sweetener that have caused me to take a serious pause.

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