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Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners

The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of that intake. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks constantly tempt us and our taste for rich desserts escalates as we consume more and more. Americans eat an average of 15 quarts of ice cream per person per year. In excess amounts, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When we overload our bodies with sugar, we can inhibit the assimilation of nutrients from other foods. In other words, our bodies are not designed to cope with the high quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition which, according to a number of experts, can affect the way we behave and feel. In addition, too much sugar can predispose us to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may elevate the level of blood lipids.

Why Do We Crave Sugar?
Considering how potentially damaging sugar can be, why do we eat so much of it? Our extraordinary craving for sugar stems from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our health. A sweet tooth can contribute to PMS, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity and depression. Ironically, most of our children don't think of sugary foods as special treats anymore. For some, they are a dietary staple. Twenty years ago, candy was only available to most American children at Christmas or Halloween. A fresh orange in the Christmas stocking was considered a wonderful and sweet delicacy. Today, however, our homes, schools and workplaces are loaded with candy, cookies, cakes, sugar cereals, and soda. The fact that sweets often serve as a reward for good behavior compounds the problem further. Some experts believe that sugar is physically addictive. In his book Sugar Blues, William Dufty writes, The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addiction is largely one of degree. Perhaps it would be more accurate to refer to sugar as a substance that has drug-like properties. In and of itself, a moderate amount of sugar consumed now and then may be perfectly harmless to most people. But because of sugar's easy access, over-indulging occurs all to often.

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