Healthy Sugars

By Oscar Puig CN

All sugar is similar to us in taste, but is there such a thing as a healthy sugar?
Glucose, or sugar, is a vital component of our daily diet. It contributes one of the largest sources of energy to our body, including our brain. There are many natural sugars that also provide essential nutrients such as B complex vitamins and iron, but this doesn’t mean that we are going to eat them abundantly. The same nutrients can be found in other foods. For example, vegetables are an excellent source of sugars/carbohydrates but will not stress our system by giving a quick blood sugar response and they provide more nutrients. Like many other food categories all sweeteners are not created equal. It is important to know the healthier choices for sugar and sweeteners, and to understand their benefits.

The average American consumes a total of 130 pound of sugar per year, which is equal to 140 grams per day that equals  to 3 cans of soda per day. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 9 teaspoons per day, but the reality is that an average adult consumes 22 teaspoons per day while the average child consumes up to 32 teaspoons per day.  It is not hard to understand why the US leads the world in childhood obesity according to the OECD. Other neighboring countries are imitating the US and following closely behind. Mexico is second in the world and Canada is eleventh with respect to childhood obesity rates. Children with a high consumption of sugary soft drinks are more likely to be overweight. Currently, more than one-third of US adults are obese; and obesity related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer are among the leading causes of preventable death.
According to Dr. Lustig, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist at the University of California in San Francisco, an obesity expert and author of – Fat Chance, sugar, processed food, obesity and disease-, “Food was just as abundant before obesity’s ascendance. The problem is the increase in sugar consumption. Sugar drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry, setting up a “vicious cycle.”

Sugars are found in whole foods in the form of simple glucose, fructose and galactose such as those found in dietary carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits and grains. These are classified has monosaccharides. They are easy to digest and fast to get to our blood stream. They are packed with nutrients and beneficial fiber because they come from whole foods. However, our food industry has created non-nourishing natural and artificial sweeteners that can be damaging to the body. The best examples of this would be processed sucrose and high fructose corn syrup (“natural” sweeteners) and sucralose and aspartame (artificial sweeteners). Although naturally-derived, sucrose and high fructose corn syrup present in most processed foods can increase the probability of impaired liver function and fat deposits (fatty liver). Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver disease is quickly becoming epidemic in our society, especially among young adults. Artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose (Splenda™) and aspartame (Equal™) are neurotoxic (toxic to brain cells) and can also create problems in the body, such as migraine headaches, seizures, memory loss and weight gain, just to name a few. A comprehensive review on the dangers of artificial sweeteners is provided in the book Sweet Deception, by Joseph Mercola D.O.
In any chronic, degenerative disease condition, such as diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, heart disease or cancer, the best advice is to avoid all processed sugars and artificial sweeteners. It is sometimes difficult to remove all of these from your diet so you may wonder what sugars are acceptable in small amounts?

, a plant extract, is considered one the best natural sugar substitutes on the market.  It is much sweeter than table sugar and you can cook with this plant extract. Since it does not have an impact on blood sugar, it is one of the best options for those with diabetes, insulin resistance, and problems with Candida yeast.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol derived from many sources such as fiber from fruits and vegetables, corn husks sugar cane and birch. It has a sweetness that is comparable to table sugar. It has a negligible impact on blood sugar, contains very few calories and it has many health benefits. Xylitol helps to fight cavities, re-mineralize teeth and is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal. You can also cook with it but be aware that some people are sensitive to Xylitol and it can produce bloating, gas or diarrhea if ingested in higher amounts.
Raw Honey is considered to be a super-food because of its high content of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. It has been used for centuries for healing different ailments and is widely known for its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Raw honey is also rich in prebiotics (friendly bacteria) that can help to maintain a healthy intestinal environment. Since it may impact blood sugar, it should be consumed in moderation and may not be appropriate for diabetics.
Coconut palm sugar is made from the sap of coconut palms trees. It is rich in minerals compared to brown sugar and is a natural source of B-complex vitamins.  Preliminary research shows this sugar has a low to moderate effect on blood sugar, but overall is quite healthy in moderate amounts.
 Amasake is most common in Asian countries. This sugar alternative is made from fermented whole brown rice and brown rice Koji. It is ideal for people with digestive issues; since it is found in a predigested form, containing a rich amount of active enzymes. It is a good source of B-complex vitamins and minerals, has a pudding-like consistency and is ideal for children. Since it may have an impact on blood sugar, it may not be appropriate for everyone. It is also not widely accessible in the US.
 Organic Sugar is grown without the use of any pesticide or chemical and comes from organic sugar cane. It is naturally darker than refined sugar, meaning beneficial nutrients have not been stripped away. The darker color shows that it still contains small amounts of molasses. Organic sugar should be used only in moderation.
Blackstrap molasses is the unprocessed part of white sugar. This is the part that contains all the beneficial nutrients, including minerals like Iron and Calcium. It is alkalizing for the body and adds wonderful flavor to foods such as soups. It has a higher sugar rating than the other natural sugars and should only be consumed as organic.

You will find a wide variety of sweeteners in the marketplace. They can be found in processed foods as an ingredient, or promoted as “the next best thing.” Be sure to do your homework when you come upon a sweetener with which you are unfamiliar.  Keep in mind, even the “healthier” sugars may cause problems if consumed in excess.  For best results, keep a variety of healthy sugars on hand, rotate them within your diet and consume all sugars in moderation.

Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gormakaer SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet, 2001, 357:505–508.
Colditz G. Economic costs of obesity and inactivity. Medicine and Science in
Sport and Exercise, 1999, 31(Suppl. 11):S663–S667.

The Importance of Cholesterol by Alberto Isaac Meza MD

Cholesterol is a vital molecule, without which all of us would die.  It has been demonized by the makers of statin drugs and as a result, most people have become conditioned to avoid foods containing cholesterol. This is a big mistake that can place a bigger burden on the body since cholesterol supports the body’s needs. It helps us to make Vitamin D, sex hormones, and steroid hormones.  It is also essential to all of our cell membranes and important to the brain for nerve signal function. It also plays a role in the metabolism of fats and our immune defenses. Therefore suppressing or avoiding cholesterol can deprive us of several important nutrients and impair many body functions.

Here at Sanoviv we recognize the importance of cholesterol as a remarkable and necessary substance.
The cholesterol-heart disease theory is a myth, and there are many studies that actually support this fact. We also improve the body’s utilization of this important nutrient that is mainly made in the liver, although some is obtained from food. Cholesterol is not the big elephant in the room; it is not the underlying cause of the #1 killer in the world (heart disease).  What really contributes to the world epidemic of cardiovascular disease is oxidized cholesterol or small density cholesterol molecules in addition to sugar, inflammation from gastrointestinal tract, dental inflammation (gums) as well as toxicity and heavy metals.

It is important to reduce cardiovascular risk, but focusing on cholesterol is not the answer. At Sanoviv we reduce risk by using nutrients and educating about diet and lifestyle.  Our focus includes the following tips:

  • Improve blood vessel health by using a combination of magnesium, activated folic acid, B-complex vitamins, balanced essential fatty acids, L-arginine and other key nutrients.
  • The best way to improve your body’s utilization of cholesterol is by using balanced essential fatty acids, fermented garlic, Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, chromium, curcumin, quercetin, niacin, vitamin E, and resveratrol.
  • Support the liver which is where most blood cholesterol is produced.  A good liver formula includes nutrients such as milk thistle, N-acetyl-cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and turmeric.
  • Reduce stress and practice regular physical activity and breathing exercises. Spend time outdoors.
  • Eat healthy cholesterol-enriched foods like eggs, liver and oysters along with fermented foods such as yogurt and fermented vegetables. Eat sulfur rich foods like garlic and onions. Avoid sugar and hydrogenated oils (most processed foods) and drink plenty of pure water.


Sanoviv recommends the following books to help you better understand the importance of cholesterol and the myths surrounding the use of drug therapy for the prevention of heart disease:

The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease

The Statin Free Plan by Jonny Bowden PhD, CNS and Stephen Sinatra MD

Ignore the awkward! How the Cholesterol Myths are Kept Alive by Uffe Ravnskov

What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease by Mark Houston MD


Sanoviv – Hospitality, Friendship & Guidance

This is where your healing begins

Here at Sanoviv Medical Institute high quality hospitality is one of our guiding principles. Our dedication to this philosophy is what sets us apart from other medical institutions around the world.  You will feel the warmth and kindness as soon as you are picked up by one of our courteous drivers and then settled on the Sanoviv shuttle.  After a brief drive down the coast you will arrive at Sanoviv and pass through our secured, high walled gates. It is here that you will be greeted with a smile by our Guest Services staff.
This is where your healing begins.

Our Guest Services department consists of three Coordinators and a Guest Concierge. Prior to your arrival, you are assigned a personal Coordinator that will guide you from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave Sanoviv. Our coordinators are high energy individuals that are stationed at the front desk in the lobby.  They are outgoing, organized, warm & friendly, and ready to provide emotional support. They are also the communication filter between our guests and the treating physician and/or therapist.
They will be sure that your needs are met in a prompt and orderly fashion.

Your personal Coordinator will greet you with open arms as soon as you step off the shuttle. Next, they will provide you with a complete orientation of your suite and a guided tour of our installations; along with some historical background of this carefully selected location.  But most importantly they will make you feel at home. In the event that you decide to visit Sanoviv without a companion as many of our guests do, you will not be alone. Our Guest Services department will approach you every morning and throughout the day to ensure that your day is going well and that your daily schedule has all the activities your medical team has indicated for you.

Our goal is to make your health a priority, and to give you the love and support that will make this experience a most memorable one.

The atmosphere breathes rest and comfort, and the many chambers seem full of welcomes.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), American poet & educator

Franken-grains (genetically modified grains)

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discusses the potential to genetically modify different varieties of wheat to contain less immune stimulating glutens (prolamins) for patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease.

Is this dangerous?  If we look at other examples of genetic manipulation to grains and damage now being linked to them, the answer is yes.  The problem with genetically modified foods is that they have never been adequately studied to be safe.  There are too many unforeseeable consequences, and there is no way to adequately determine safety in humans without performing long term comprehensive research with humans.  Most likely, introducing a new species of grain into an already sick population will create many more problems than solutions.  Some research links the cross breading of wheat to the increased gluten toxicity that we currently face.

Wheat supplies about 20% of the total food calories consumed worldwide; and is a national staple in many countries. Besides being a key source of plant proteins, it is also a major cause of many diet-induced health issues, especially Celiac disease. The only effective treatment for this disease is a total gluten-free diet.

Looking Beyond Gluten – Genetically Modified Foods

In recent years, the popularity of the gluten free diet is definitely on the rise.  One of the reasons why it works well is because so many people are gluten sensitive; but are there other reasons why going on a TRUE gluten free diet can be so helpful?  The following is a list of additional reasons why a gluten free diet can be beneficial:

  1. A TRUE gluten free diet eliminates all grains and therefore eliminates a bulk of genetically hybridized and modified forms of food from the diet.
  2. Eliminating gluten/grain reduces the dietary exposure to toxic fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides.  Many of these chemicals are known to contribute to autoimmune disease and hormone disruption.
  3. Eliminating gluten/grain improves the omega 3 to omega 6 balance in the body – this balance regulates the process of inflammation and has a profound effect on joint and muscle pain.
  4. Eliminating gluten/grain reduces the quantity of digestive resistant lectins.  Many of these food compounds hinder digestion and contribute to inflammatory reactions in the body.
  5. Eliminates multiple chemical additives.  Most grain products contain a laundry list of ingredients that are not suitable for human health.
  6. Eliminates excessive carbohydrate consumption.  The human body is not designed to run on a high carbohydrate diet.  One of the major reasons we see obesity and diabetes increasing in epic fashion is the hyper consumption of grain based carbohydrate foods.  Despite popular belief, excessive grain consumption will not reduce your risk of heart disease.

Why do we assume that grain is such a healthy food?

The Food Guide Pyramid recommends large quantities of grain as a staple food in the diet. Why? Did you know that the U.S. Government mandated that processed grain products be fortified with vitamins and minerals in 1943? The reason? Processed grains caused nutritional diseases like Beri Beri and Pellagra (vitamin B1 and B3 deficiency respectively).

Detrimental Qualities of Grain (Including Whole Grain)

  • The seeds are doused with chemical hormones and pesticides like atrazine to aid in growth. These chemicals mimic estrogen and cause hormone disruption in both men and women.
  • Low in the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA (omega 3)
  • Poor source of complete protein
  • Contain enzyme inhibitors
  • Contains addictive proteins that can alter behavior, mood, and contribute to mental dysfunction
  • Contain anti nutrients that cause malabsorption of minerals
  • Contain autoimmune inducing peptides and lectins
  • Cause sodium and water retention
  • Cause excessive insulin response leading to weight gain and diabetes.

But Our Children Eat Grain -

  • Breakfast = Cereal, donuts, bagels, cereal bars, tortillas, toast, pancakes, etc.
  • Lunch = Sandwich breads and other types of “buns”, and whole grain crackers
  • Dinner = Pasta, pizza, breaded chicken fingers, hamburgers, etc
  • Snacks = Goldfish, whole grain crackers, drinks and fruit snacks loaded with corn syrup (yes, corn is a grain – not a vegetable).

Our children are fatter and sicker than they have ever been. According to statistics and recent published studies, half of kids today are overweight.

What Can You Do?

  • Become educated and make healthy diet changes for you and your family today.
    Here are some additional resources we recommend.

Non-GMO Shopping Guide to help you identify and avoid foods with GMOs.