I have a sponsor of the Garage Games that I am in pretty constant contact with, these guys make protein bars, check them out – Quest Nutrition (www.questproteinbar.com)
Their bars are ten times better than the average protein bar when it comes to health. But, even at that level, they don’t have a single bar that I would say, “perfect” too. And they have some that I still wouldn’t touch. Why? Sweeteners.
For many other bars on the market, it is more the ingredient list outside of the sweeteners that first concerns me, but then they always get into the sweeteners as well. So let’s talk sweeteners, including sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and see where that leads us.
Aspartame is probably the most common artificial sweetener at this time. Most of you have heard my position as it relates to aspartame… DO NOT CONSUME. Under any circumstance. If you are drinking diet sodas, you really need to stop. Much like Peter and John as they became before the council of pharisees, they said they wouldn’t stop preaching on what they had seen with their own eyes. I am in the same boat with aspartame. I have had patients with “pseudo-tumors” in their brains, that disappeared when they halted. Patient…s, plural.
Aspartame (nutrasweet) was the primary attack of the movie that we have shown several times in our office, Sweet Misery, a great SCARY movie about aspartame. The problem with aspartame, is that the chemical was found to cause massive tumors in rodent testing. We clear it faster, so it is unlikely to cause tumors that quickly, but over time, the concern exists.
The next one on the list, Sucralose… aka Splenda. This sweetener was introduced to the world with all of the fanfare of a major blockbuster movie, or video game for that matter. But the point, it came out to the world with a lot of money behind it… “made from sugar”. But sadly, even though it comes from sugar, it is worse for you than the sugar alcohols. Sucralose is what is present in about half of the bars sold by Quest. I don’t recommend you buy those, buy the ones with stevia. In Dr. Joseph Mercola’s book, Sweet Deception, he shares that he hired seven full time investigators for TWO YEARS to get to the bottom of the story on these sweeteners.
Common sweeteners that you will find, often added to the use of stevia (they do this because stevia is good, we say YES to stevia, but it doesn’t match the taste of Americans who are addicted to sugar), that you should avoid. acesulfame potassium (Ace K), aspartame, sucralose, or a host of other sugar alcohol sweeteners. Malitol, erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol. These are the regular sweeteners.
In the list of sugar alcohols however, there are some ones that have significant impact on the body. Wiki shows how some of these are used as drugs, because they have such significant impact on the body, Because of that, we generally say that you should stay away from the “-itols”, but I give you a few free passes.
Xylitol is the safest of the group, with minimal negative impact other than mild diarrhea in some people. This happens because the sugar alcohol isn’t fully absorbed, thus the body pushes water into the colon to dilute it, and boom, bathroom time. For that reason, I would say you should always minimize the use of xylitol (but for any of you drinking aspartame diet soda, you should probably feel free to consume as much xylitol as necessary to get you off of the aspartame).
Erythritol is the next safest on the list. Diarrhea and headaches along with some rushing pulse can happen with this one, so we would say that you need to keep the consumption really low. A few grams a day and you will (should) be safe. If you get into the other sugar alcohols, you are definitely getting yourself into trouble again, just like the artificial sweeteners.
So how about sugar? High fructose corn syrup? Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup? Well, they all damage you. Period. But HFCS is by far the most damaging so drinking soda is bad. Period. Sugar is bad. And even the REAL sweeteners of honey, agave and maple syrup are bad at high concentration They will all create significant insulin response, leading you towards diabetes. Keep all of them in check, and in the end, get used to the taste of stevia. This is your best option.
Hope that helps give some direction! Be well and blessed! – Dr. E