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 Nutrition: Keeping Sugar in Balance  
One of the challenges to health in modern cultures throughout the world is our access to refined sugar as processed and junk foods--candy, sodas, ice cream, cookies, and other baked goods. Industry is the pusher and many humans, especially children, are the addicted victims. I make it sound like a huge drug deal, because it is. Sugar is the number one drug on the planet Earth. (And the current sugar replacement, aspartame, has its own risks and damage.) Now, as the light wanes and the major holiday season is ahead, this brings out many sweet treats. These sweets will sit in us, stored as added body fat (in an already overweight population) unless we utilize the energy, which is usually short-lived, and sweat out the excess to keep current.

Some will experience another dark time addiction, trying to create more light with more appliances turned on. We overstimulate our brains with more television, computer time and higher electric bills. This brings on even more stress during the holiday season, which is the natural time of simplicity and shared joy with family and friends.

Fall is also the preparation time for Earth to receive the food that the elements have provided. Observe the many colors of the harvest and choose a variety to feed your inner rainbow. What is not used, returns to be remade once again in the promise of another flower, fruit or seed.

Here are some building tools for your healthy harvest; these encompass the awareness that you will be offered every sweet thing and every holiday distraction and temptation to overspend your personal energy and your resources. You may feel an imbalance in your ingestion and digestion allowance. Often, the sweet and processed foods look more enticing than the healthier foods, especially to the child in you. Learning what you are all about is the gift of tuning in, discovering your own vital life and light. However, much wisdom may be gained from extreme experience.

Ideas and Tips for Wise Sugar Use
1. Sugar is found in so many foods that are now available in the modern grocery stores and even natural food stores. It goes into food primarily as refined cane sugar (including brown sugars) and high-fructose corn syrup (the new leader of sugar consumption). More natural sugars include honey, maple syrup, malt sugar, date sugar, molasses, and others. Foods that are high in sugars should be used only as occasional Œtreats¹ in the diet, not as a main component of our food consumption. The best natural sugar may be the herb, stevia, also called sweetleaf. Some natural desserts include almonds, apples, and dates.

2. Traditional Chinese Medicine views the desire for sugar, or the sweet flavor, as a craving for the mother (yin) energy, a craving that represents a need for comfort or security. In Western cultures, we have turned sugar into a reward system (a tangible symbol of material nurturing) to the degree that many of us have been conditioned to need some sweet treat to feel complete or satisfied. We continue the pattern with our children, unconsciously showing our affection for them by giving them sugary foods. We do not want to unconsciously reinforce the Œtreat¹ pattern.

3. For most of us, sugar is a symbol of love and nurturance. As infants, our first food is lactose, or milk sugar. Over-consumption and daily use of sugar is the first compulsive habit for most everyone with addictions later in life. Simple sugar, or glucose, is what our body, our cells and brain, use for fuel for energy. Some glucose is stored in our liver and muscle tissues as glycogen for future use; excess sugar is stored as fat for use during periods of low-calorie intake or starvation. If we don¹t exercise or take periods of low calorie intake, the fat never disappears.

(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
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 About The Author
Elson Haas MDElson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more
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