Much like the low-fat fad, it seems that “no sugar” diets are promoted in various weight loss programs and protocols advertised all throughout social media. Though eliminating the majority of sugar ladened processed food is a good idea in general, the danger comes when consumers replace these products with the seemingly healthier, low or “zero sugar” products. Some that may be familiar include diet soda, Jello, sugar-free gum (Orbit, Trident, Extra etc…), Equal, Spoonful, Splenda, Nutrisweet, Smuckers Jelly, Delight Coffee Creamers, and much more. Whether you are looking to lose weight, or simply cut back on the sugar in your diet, choosing these foods might appear to be a good idea. However, truth is, not only will the excess weight stay stubborn, but your cravings will shoot through the roof, along with some other side effects that seem to mysteriously appear. So, what then makes products such as Diet Coke “diet worthy” anyways? Well, in a 12 oz can of Coca-Cola, there are 39 grams of sugar (or 10 sugar cubes), equaling to 140 calories, all of which are from the sweetener. Therefore, when you remove the processed sugar from the drink, you are left with zero calories, making it a healthier choice, right? Wrong. The problem with this reduction of calories is that there must be something to replace the extreme sweetness of the drink. That secret ingredient is called aspartame, which actually tastes 200 times more potent than sugar. The majority of people do not know where this zero calorie “sweetener” came from, which is not surprising since it was created by accident through a chemist seeking, and failing, to created an anti-ulcer drug back in 1965. Due to various lab studies that left rats with numerous seizures and brain tumors, the FDA would not allow this newly discovered chemical to be added to products for another 16 years. Finally, after much political pressure and shady special interest, aspartame was officially allowed onto supermarket shelves in 1981. Now, most assume that because this product has not yet been discontinued or banned from stores after 33 years of production, it is safe to say that it is not harming us humans. However, this is the furthest cry from the truth. What the FDA does not want us to know is that 92% of independently funded studies revealed aspartame to have many significant safety hazards. Not only does it excite and thus kill specific neurons in the brain, it also over-activates neurotransmitters and excessive damaging free radicals in the body. Children’s consumption of aspartame is especially dangerous in that it is able to pass through the blood brain barrier incredibly easy, causing a multitude of disorders.
Unlike animals, such as the ones used for the lab studies of aspartame, our bodies do not contain certain enzymes to deal with the toxic effects present in this product. Therefore, the fact that the experimental rats could not fight against the chemical, proves that human consumption of it is incredibly dangerous. One key result of ingesting aspartame is the over-production of the amino acid phenylalanine, which causes mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Methanol, another major ingredient in this “zero calorie, “zero harm” sweetener, is broken down in the small intestine and turned into a deadly neurotoxin called formaldehyde (aka a carcinogen). Together, these literal poisons have been proven to cause chronic diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, ALS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, brain tumors, and much more. Less “severe” conditions include ear buzzing, chills, gastrointestinal disorders, vision problems, vertigo, retinal damage, suppressed DNA replication, birth defects, insomnia, nausea, rashes, weight gain, asthma, numbness, hearing loss, joint pain, migraines/headaches, dizziness, and the list goes on! In the end, because aspartame upsets our natural brain chemistry, eating it will do anything but help your body. Though I have only covered the tip of the ice berg on how aspartame, as well as other artificial sweeteners, are harmful to the human body, I hope this post will shed some light on why they should always be avoided (if not banned). If you are someone who eats this ingredient on a daily basis, I highly encourage you to start replacing it with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or even coconut sugar. Though a high consumption of real, unprocessed sugar is not necessarily helpful to the body, I do not believe (nor is there evidence) that it is as detrimental as the effects of artificial sweeteners. Below is a new recipe featuring just the right amount of natural sweetness from coconut sugar. After baking the same cake for my brother who is in college, I decided I wanted to create my own version. The result was a moist, yet fluffy cake, blended with the flavors of three delicious fruits; lime, fig, and blueberry. Though I use lard as the fat (and highly recommend you do too), you can easily substitute coconut oil, palm shortening, grass-fed butter, or any other oil you have on hand. Overall, this “coffee-cake” like dessert has been a hit in my house, and I am sure it will be in yours too! *If you have any questions regarding the sweeteners used in my recipes, please feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or simply by leaving a comment below.
Blueberry Fig Snack Cake
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1 lime-juiced (2 tbsp)
- 2-3 tbsp lime zest
- 1/2 cup lard – melted
- 4 fresh figs – cut into 6th
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Position racks- 1 high and 1 low.
- With a mixer, beat together coconut sugar, maple syrup, and eggs for 2-3 minutes.
- In the meantime, zest your limes and melt your lard.
- Once the eggs & sugar are done mixing, add your lard and zest.
- In a separate bowl, mix together your almond and tapioca flour.
- Next, beat in lime juice and flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour batter into a greased 9 inch pan (I used a pie plate but any shape works)
- Cut figs into 6 wedges.
- Press fig slices and blueberries in to the top of the cake.
- Place in oven and bake on the lower rack for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes have passed, cover pan with tin foil and transfer to the high rack, letting bake for 35 more minutes.
- Take out of oven and let cool for at the least 1 hour.
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”