Of the six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, astringent) sweet is the most nutritive and is generally preferred to the other five. Sweet is our first taste (mother’s milk) and thus has good emotional associations. Growing up we often seek the taste of sweet for comfort as well as for pleasure. Sweet taste is actually therapeutic for Pitta individuals and/or Pitta (inflammatory) conditions due to its cooling effect digestively.
However, by sweet taste I am not referring to sugar, a product refined from plants (sugar cane, beets, cactus). Precisely because sugar IS so refined (processed) it is, for the most part a harmful source of sweet taste. Refined sugar needs no “digestion” and so enters the bloodstream quickly and all at once. This taxes the pancreas which must produce the insulin necessary to deal with this sudden, unnatural invasion into the bloodstream. Habitual use of refined sugar is contributing to the alarming increase in adult diabetes, obesity, and a host of other health problems. For many people, sugar in one form or other can be addictive. This is due to the sudden increase of glucose, which gives us a short term boost of energy. However, this sort of energy is faithless since insulin quickly neutralizes its effect and brings a consequent fall in glucose and thus a feeling of low energy. Regularly eating sweets can eventually exhaust the ability of the pancreas to maintain a steady level of blood sugar resulting in adult diabetes, a disease affecting one in four adults over 65.
It is important to remember that many unprocessed foods have natural sweet taste. Milk is sweet. Corn, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets parsnips, squash have sweet taste. Even wheat is sweet. Honey in moderation can be a beneficial sweet. Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin etc) are not recommended. You cannot fool mother nature without consequences.
If you are not at risk for diabetes, are not overweight, and not addicted to the use of sugar and other refined carbohydrates, the moderate use of sugar when there are no risk factors is not likely to cause serious health problems.
But for those for whom sugar poses a problem, especially when will power needs assistance, many have gotten good results from the formula Sugar Balance, which improves the ability of the pancreas to maintain more stable blood sugar levels. This naturally reduces the craving for sweets, often a sign of hypo (low) blood sugar. I make this formula using Ayurvedic herbs (including Shardunikha) which almost all users report quiets the desire for sugar without effort or control. Anecdotally this formula also seems to reduce the craving for alcohol (the sugar and alcohol molecules are nearly identical).
Click to read about this formula on my website: Sugar Balance