We have been watching sugar substitutes with a very cautious eye for years now. And in most cases, even though sugar is so detrimental to your insulin receptors, and your leptin receptors (thus effecting all hormones in the body), I would say that evil sugar, is better than the other option.
Now to clarify, the other option I am talking about are the artificial sweeteners that you all know about. Saccharin, Aspartame and Sucralose or Splenda. I know many of you might have invested heavily in the Splenda option, simply because of good marketing. “It’s made from sugar, how can it be bad?” Well have you ever stopped to ask where anything else is made? It isn’t like they are making any sugar substitute from crude oil!
Well, Dr. Mercola recently published a new article on Splenda, and it is worth reading if you are questioning whether or not the substitute is safe for consumption. Here is a short excerpt from that article:
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually double your risk of obesity!
How’s that for being misled?
Studies have repeatedly shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight. For example, I have listed the results of six studies on aspartame that found it increases hunger and body weight on my Aspartame Studies page, andresearch on other artificial sweeteners have come to the same conclusion.
(If you are reading this in the office, be sure to check it out online for all of the highlighted links above)
The good news is that there are two sugar substitutes that we recommend for their cleanliness and ability to be processed normally in the body, as well as their lack of calorie. The reason why we are “cool” with these two sweeteners is:
They have no harmful chemicals attached to the molecules that provide the sweetness (unlike the other three mentioned above).
They do not have any insulin responsiveness (do not raise blood sugar) unlike sugar, raw sugar, succanat, honey, agave nectar, maple syrup (even the “healthy” sugars are VERY unhealthy at any significant level).
They appear harmless according to studies and theoretical modeling. One thing we always caution, is that you NEVER know for sure about the potential harm of a molecule, until years of consumption have gone by!
Xylo – Sweet is a form of Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol, with very low carbohydrate, but a bunch of sweetness. It has been shown to be very benign in its effect on blood sugar and insulin responsiveness, yet its sweetness and characteristics are that of sugar. It is a very effective 1-1 replacement for sugar. You can buy this at Harry’s/Whole Foods, as well as Good Nutrition on HWY92 in Woodstock. This is my preferred sweetener for anything that might be fruit based, or if it is baked in the oven.
Stevia Leaf extract is a very sweet molecule, that comes from the leaf of a stevia plant (which will grow very nicely here in GA). Stevia leaves (the whole leaves) are amazingly sweet tasting, and will provide a bit of the sugar feeling when you eat the leaf. The refined powder is very different, harvesting the molecule that imparts taste. This powder has absolutely NO carbohydrate, and thus no sugar increase at all.
I am a HUGE fan of stevia when it is used to sweeten chocolate or vanilla. Pure Cacao with the right amount of stevia gives you a 100% dark chocolate explosion that is fantastic. I am a master of the organic decaf coffee (more on why decaf in another sprout sometime), where I have mastered the taste options of nutmeg, cinnamon, cacao, and vanilla. The one I love, is the cacao, with just the right amount of stevia… it tastes like hot chocolate! Add a pinch too much, and it gets thrown in the sink.
Stevia is that sensitive, one second you are making something just right, a second later, you have added too much and you will have a hard time doing anything with your dish besides throwing it down the drain. Stevia is available just about everywhere now, but I would check the prices carefully as some stores still charge an unnecessary premium for their product.
The reason why all of this is so important? Well, cancer is one. Make the wrong choices for too many years, and you have some very carcinogenic conditions that you have created. I want you healthy :-) !
Be well – Dr. E