Having a sweet tooth isn’t necessarily bad unto itself.
In fact, our palettes evolved so that we would crave the foods we need. Our differentiated taste buds helped us to survive during the eons without consistent and constant food sources. Umami/savory taste buds cause us to crave proteins and fats. Ever had an urge for something salty? This underscores a need for minerals and water. Sour and bitter have become rather neglected in the American diet, but both motivate us to get vitamins from plant sources (and also protect us from poisons). Meanwhile, a yearning for sweetness comes from the body’s need to use carbohydrates for energy. Each flavor category has a distinct function in the human diet, so none of these impulses are unhealthful at their core.
Cause For Concern
The problems arise when we experience imbalances in our cravings. We adapted over millions of years to be extraordinarily adept at surviving famines, which happened with startling frequency over the millennia. In modern, industrialized societies hunger is largely obsolete; however, our metabolisms don’t know that. We crave calorically dense foods, because our bodies are always alert for opportunities to store fat as a buffer against the next extended fast. If you need help controlling these urges, consider a gymnema product like Crave Crush. It interrupts the gratification and pleasure of eating sweets by blocking your ability to taste them. You can find it on Amazon.
When the brain detects sweetness, it tells the pancreas to excrete insulin. Insulin is what causes the body to store fat. When insulin is floating around in the blood, the body must store energy.That is the purpose of insulin (see video above: Feasting vs Fasting). Artificial sweeteners trigger this insulin response much stronger than natural carbohydrates, so even more food is stored than might otherwise be. Additionally, these substances may be toxic to your bioflora, which assist with digestion and proper immune system function.
Artificial Sweeteners No Answer
To make matters worse, researchers can connect artificial sweeteners to dangerous levels of inflammation. This can lead to kidney failure, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, obesity, suicidal bouts of depression, and a host of other health problems. Clearly, these substances should be avoided as much as possible. You can reduce inflammation with ginger.
What to do then? First, gradually retrain your palette away from sweetness. High fructose corn syrup and other processed sugars are practically impossible to avoid, if you eat a diet high in processed ingredients. Reduce your intake of these pre-packaged “foods.”
Begin implementing complex carbohydrates, like fresh fruits and vegetables, into your meals. Whole grain breads, pastas and crackers can work too. What is helpful about these sources of carbohydrates is that they come with fiber and fiber slows down the digestive process. This allows your body time to gradually absorb the starches and sugars, mitigates the insulin response and keeps the bowels functioning properly.
Healthful Sweetener Alternatives
Stevia products are better than chemistry projects gone awry; however, it is highly processed and, therefore, suspect. What’s left?
Raw honey is an excellent alternative to practically any other sweetener. It is not a low calorie food, so use it intelligently. It is sweeter than sugar, so you shouldn’t need much.
Raw honey does not cause insulin spikes; it provides a host of enzymes, minerals and nutrients; if locally produced, it can reduce inflammation and springtime allergies; and it has antimicrobial properties. Be certain that your honey is raw, otherwise you will be consuming what is tantamount to artificial pancake syrup.