I haven't always been into natural health and alternative stuff. In fact I am an RN, so I have been trained in the ways and thinking of the Medical World.
But when I was faced with gallbladder surgery, I was willing to try anything. That's when I started getting interested in these other options.
In the beginning of that change I found a book called The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr. Sandra Cabot, and what I read really made sense to me.
I used to roll my eyes at people who said they didn't eat white sugar – only honey, etc. After all, I had taken science classes and I knew that all sugar metabolizes in the liver and becomes glucose for the brain and other bodily functions to use. All sugars do that.
But in Cabot's book, she says that because table sugar is so highly processed, it confuses the liver. Like what I mentioned with the transfat. The liver does its best, but it can't metabolize the white sugar completely. My nutritionist said that sugar is more to blame for high cholesterol than fat. Could be true. The liver makes cholesterol, remember.
And artificial sweeteners were not even created by God for food, so the liver really doesn't know what to do with them. I won't eat them. I will eat white sugar before I eat artificial sweeteners. Besides, I get side effects from all of them. Aspartame gives me headaches and dizziness and Splenda hurts my stomach.
What I do use is Stevia. Robin mentioned it in her comment. It does seem expensive, but it is so much sweeter than sugar that it lasts a long time. It does have a bit of an aftertaste that you have to get accustomed to. Some people just don't like it. I do. More for some things than others. I do have a cookbook for it, but it isn't great for baking, etc. This has no calories and does not affect insulin levels at all.
I also like to use Succanat. It is cane sugar, but it hasn't been processed as much. Follow the link and see for yourself what you think. It is delicious, like brown sugar and has most of the mineral content still in it.
I love to use honey and Agave Nectar.
All of these are still sugars and do turn into glucose in your body. Agave has a lower glycemic index than the others, though. And these all have calories. Moderation is the key.
When I eat white sugar, I feel terrible. I get irritable and tired. But these others don't cause me to feel that way, even the other cane sugar products like Succanat and Molassas.
I think it's the processing that causes the trouble, maybe.
I'm not saying that I never eat sugar, but for the past 3 or 4 years, I eat very little of it. Because I know how it makes me feel, I take everything into account before I decide to eat it. Is it something I really enjoy? I'm not going to feel lousy for something I don't even like. And will the thing I'm eating be worth it? Sometimes I say yes. Now and then I really want some good old fashioned ice cream. Or on a Holiday I might choose to have something. They all have sweets attached, don't they? This Christmas I made Mexican Wedding Cookies and I tell you they are nothing but sugar and fat. But oh, they were good. And they were worth it. I won't have them again for who knows how long.
Now I will have to deal with my cravings again. When you don't eat sugar, you don't crave it. But you have to go through the detox first. That's tough, but it can be done and the cravings really do go away.
Oh, I said I would talk about what the book says about weight. Basically, it says if we don't treat our liver right, we get fat. Or stay fat. And she gives some practical ways we can care for our liver and she has a diet plan – a twelve week thing, I think. I didn't do the actual diet, but I incorporate a lot of her principles.