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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2041

Pesticide as Sweetener – 'Say no to Sugar'

By Daya Dissanayake

Say no to Sugar. That is a new slogan among those worried about life style diseases and obesity and all other problems. Avoid sugar like it is poison. Instead use a pesticide in your tea, in your fruit drink, in your cake. Die of cancer. In May 2005, The Idaho Observer asked the question, if DDT were sweet, would you put it in your tea?

Even though sugar has been in use for the past 8000 years, till about the 15th century it was a luxury, and was used only for medicinal purposes, and as a preservative.From the 15th century as sugar became a major industry, consumption began to increase.

Slavery and exploitation continues today in sugar plantations around the world. Though sugar is sweet, the story of its manufacture has been very bitter. In the 17th century England sugar consumption had increased twenty fold (globalissues.org), reasons were that prices had come down; it was used in tea and other beverages as a sweetener.

Because it had been considered a luxury till that time, the middle classes used it to emulate the wealthy.

From thereafter sugar consumption beagan to be linked to the economic growth and today world sugar consumption has reached 130 million tonnes and growing at the rate of 3.5% annually.

The indirect consumption of sugar in other food products increases much faster. The soft drinks became big business and a bigger threat to health, especially of teenagers.

The very high sugar consumption could be one of the reasons why Americans are less healthy than the people in theless developed countries. Realizing this basic truth they are now pulling out all sweet soft drinks from schools, and only allowing the sale of water and non-fat milk for their school kids.

It is the consumer, usually exploited, misinformed, misled and at times scared to death.

The sugar dealers extol the benefits of sugar. Over the past centuries gullible humans kept on consuming more and more sugar.

Then came the fears about the harmful effects of sugar, which were exploited by manufacturers who introduced substitutes.

It is like the fears created in our minds about coconut oil, because the 'Ugly Americans' wanted to sell their soya oil.

Replace sugar with a sweetener that does not add any calories to your diet. On paper it is very good advice. But according to the Sugar Association of the U.S. there is only 15 calories in one teaspoon of sugar. Sugar is also considered as the fuel for the brain.

The American Diabetic Association states that "research has shown that sugar has the same effect on blood glucose levels as other carbohydrates such as bread
or potatoes." Thus like everything else in life, sugar is used in moderation, that would be the best solution.

If sugar is not good for our health, if it is harmful, then those who are really worried about it could avoid it completely. Finding a substitute for sugar is not necessary, except for the businessman, who is looking for making money out of it.

Aspartame has been used for a long time by those who did not want to use natural sugar. It was considered to be safe, but the manufacturers and distributors were aware that it could cause cancer. This information was suppressed from the public till a new sugar substitute entered the market.

And so it goes on, like in the case of drugs. All drugs have harmful side effects, but doctors continue to use them on their patients, till a new and more powerful drug comes out. It is only then that the patient learns how harmful the previous drug had been.

A new sweetener has come in to themarket in our country. It is called sucralose, claimed to be a calorie-free sweetener, which was first developed 30 years ago by the University of London in collaboration with Tate & Lyle.

We would have been consuming sucralose in our food for several years now, unknowingly, in our low-calorie,diabetic or low-sugar diet foods. We are not aware of what harmful additives are in our food, because most food items do not give details of the additives used.

When it comes to artificial sweeteners, there are no detailed studies carried out, probably because the concerned authorities do not see the necessity. The claims that these products are safe are mostly based on studies done on animals. Even if detailed long term studies are carried out on the sweeteners it would prove nothing.

Still doctors and scientists are arguing about the harmful effects of tobacco, even though everyone is convinced that tobacco causes cancer. So the same way no one will ever be able to prove that the new product is harmful.

Only time would tell, but by then how many people would be dead, or dying or be suffering from incurable, unidentifiable illnesses?

The claim by the manufacturers is that sucralose is made from Sugar, so is a natural product. Just because the manufacture starts with sugar, does not make it natural and does not make it safe. If it is so natural then why is it not metabolized or absorbed by the body?

They boast that sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. For this very reason they have to add dextrose (glucose) and maltodextrin to the marketed product, because 100% pure sucralose cannot be used to sweeten your tea or be added to your cake. If carbohydrates like glucose and maltodextrin has been added to this sweetener then it is no longer a zero-calorie product.

The claim that pure sucralose is a zero-calorie product is because it is not digested, that the body rejects it and it passes out. But there are no real studies done on how much is rejected and how much is absorbed by the body, even if it is not metabolized.

US FDA has admitted that 11 - 27% of sucralose could be absorbed by the body. If the body absorbs this product and it is not metabolized, then it is deposited in some parts of the body, in some vital organs like the liver and the brain. What this accumulation would cause after several years, no one is able to tell us.

It has been reported that sucralose could breakdown into 1,6 dichlorofructose, and no studies have been carried out about the effect of this product on the human body.

Almost all the claims of studies done by the manufacturers had been done on animals and very few trials on humans, and even that on too few cases and for too short periods. Based on trials on animals it is reported that sucralose had caused enlarged liver, kidney, thymus and spleen, and reduced growth rates.

There is also suspicion that it could cause gene mutations.

What kind of horrors would be faced with if any gene mutations happen on humans, because of Sucralose? No studies have been conducted to find out if there is any danger of reduced sperm production in men. If it affects sperm production, would the manufacturers promote it as an anti-fertility drug! We could have involuntary population control!

Sucralose is made by replacing three hydroxyl groups by Chlorine, and the manufacturer claims that the addition of Chlorine does not do any harm, and compare this with common salt, because it also contains a chloride ion.

But they fail to mention that in salt Chlorine is combined with Sodium while in sucralose, it is with Carbon making it a Chlorocarbon. Sucralose is related to killer chemicals like DTT or Chloroform and the most dangerous poison today, Dioxin. Today DDT is not used even to kill mosquitoes, because of the harmful effect of the chemical on all living things, plants animals and humans, and yet we do not hesitate to make, approve and consume something so similar to DTT.

Manufacturer could claim that US FDA has approved it, but FDA also approved vioxx, (Rofecoxib) and waited till 55,000 people died in the US, and unknown numbers in other countries, before they realized their mistake.

Most FDA officials are known to be in the payroll of multinational drug barons who try to show the world that they are manufacturing "ethical' medicinal formulations! Most other countries follow US FDA guidelines and follow them for approvals, but if US FDA.

The time has come to decide if we should continue using sugar as the sweetener for all our food products, which is probably the least harmful of all sweeteners or we should take the risk of using synthetic chemicals, which could harm us today or in a few years, or could harm our children someday.

- Asian Tribune -

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