Alternative Health Ezine: Truth About Artificial Sweeteners
Holistic Health Newsletter – Herbal Remedies to Address Your Health Challenges – Are Artificial Sweeteners
Better than Natural?
What are artificial sweeteners? This special herbal newsletter defines various types of artificial sweeteners
and whether the artificial sweeteners often used in weight loss plans and diabetic diets are any better than
natural types of sugars.
Artificial Sweeteners and Sugar
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota reports that the average American consumes around 20 teaspoons of sugar each day in their diet. This high consumption of sugar is just as any food, too much is not good for you. Sugar adds extra calories and is one of the major contributors that leads to gaining weight.
When sugar is eaten in large amounts it can negatively impact blood sugar and it is proven that a diet rich in sweet foods such as cookies, candy, and sodas supplies the body with empty calories which contain very little of the type of nutrients that the body needs to function.
A good idea to help you fully understand the implications of daily sugar intake is the fun and yet very educational Nutrition DVD Sweet Fire. Mary Toscano is a health educator and nutritional expert whom we interviewed on the topic of sugar and fats in our diet. She even alterted us to the problems the body has with more natural alternatives, like crystalized fructose and agave. We found her teaching style light and fun, while also getting the truth about sugar and fats across. We recommend Mary’s DVD’s to everyone interested in learning how to eat better.
Read an > Interview with Mary Toscano
The American Heart Association also has something to say about carbohydrate intake. They recommend eating mainly complex carbohydrates just as Mary Toscano teaches in the Sweet Fire DVD. Complex carbs that contain sugar also have fiber which effects how the body processes the sugar.
The book, Sugar Blues brought to light the Dangers of Sugar and many people began turning to sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners in the search for alternatives so they could continue to eat their favorite foods and eliminate many of the calories. The problem with artificial sweeteners are the chemicals that can have side effects. They do provide sweetness
without the use of refined sugar and without the associated calorie count found in sugar. The alternative substitutes are often are sweeter than the same amount of sugar, so it takes smaller amounts to get the same amount of sweetness. This is a plus along with having a lower calorie count.
Most weight-loss plans incorporate artificial sweeteners to help with weight control. And alternative sweeteners are recommended for diabetics. However, when you read the labels on many of the products that are free of sugar you will find they still contain a lot of empty carbs and are still loaded with calories. Products like this will still cause weight gain and do not provide much nutritional benefit.
For decades, doctors and nutritionists have told people who have Diabetes to steer clear of sugar all together because of its effects on blood sugar levels. They assumed the simple carbs in sugary foods, like candy, honey, and other sweets would cause a raise in blood sugar levels faster than fruits, vegetables, and also foods containing starches. But recently studies have found that this is not always the case. When carb rich foods which impact blood glucose are eaten with daily meals which include fiber and protein they do not affect the blood sugar in the same way.
A diabetic can learn through testing their blood sugar just how their body reacts to various natural sugars and can adjust their diets accordingly. It is also important to note that when using artificial sweeteners it doesn’t mean they won’t raise blood sugar levels. Some do, such as yogurts which are sugar-free because of the other ingredients.
Another factor to understand is some foods which are labeled “sugar-free” contain mannitol or sorbitol which are sweeteners containing
calories that can raise blood sugar levels. So sugar free cookies and candy, and other food products that are sugar free may also have carbs from refined white flour which also acts to increase blood sugar.
Their are some experts who advise their patients and clients to stay away from all types of sweets. But this is almost impossible because the human body has cravings for sweets. When denying
the body something it desires it can lead to bingeing. For most it is better to learn how to make better decisions by learning what sugars are good versus which ones are genuinely bad sugars for your body type. One ideal type of sweetener that is natural and actually healthy is the plant Stevia which is an ideal sugar alternative.
Consider Stevia, Nature’s Sweet Gift
What is Stevia? Stevia rebaudiana is a plant that is native to South America and it belongs to the chrysanthemum family. Indigenous people have used the leaves for centuries to sweeten their food, make teas, and medicines.
Many countries throughout the world are commercially cultivating Stevia. South America, along with Malaysia, Korea and China are major growers. Stevia has a long history. The US actually stopped Stevia cultivation in Lieu of the financial gains that were to be made producing artificial sweeteners instead. Luckily, Stevia is slowly finding its way into the marketplace.
What is Stevioside? When the Stevia plant is harvested, the extract of the Stevia leaf is known as Stevioside. What is exceptional about the Stevia leaf is its lack of calories combined with its sweet taste which comes from glycoside which is two to three hundred times sweeter than sugar.
Just as there are many ways to process sugar, there are also different way to process the Stevia leaf. The more natural the process the better. Also some manufacturers add fillers and lactose (which is a sugar) in attempt to create equal serving portions to sugar’s sweetness.
We recommend Stevia from Emperors Herbologist. If you compare it to other manufacturers you will soon learn why we like their products.
To locate the best Stevioside, click > Superior Stevia Products
The native Guarani Indians used Stevia Leaf for over 1,500 years and knew of the abundance of positive effects
such as phytonutrients and trace minerals. Stevia is actually is sweeter than sugar, tastes good, and has none of the negative effects of sugar..
You can use Stevia sweetener in your drinks to defer extra calories and carbohydrates. It is safe for diabetics even though it is thirty times sweeter than sugar. It is known to help minimize sensations of hunger along with cravings for foods that are sweet or fatty when used in a regular diet.
While Stevia is perhaps one of the best sugar substitutes, there are other good options (but remember to pay attention to calories), including:
- Manuka Honey or Royal Jelly (in moderation)
- Pure grade maple syrup (in moderation)
- Natural fruit sugar
- Splenda or sucratose (in moderation)
Sugars that you may want to avoid are:
- Cane sugar or any type of refined white sugar
- Brown sugar
- Crystalized Fructose (even though marketing tatics say it is a healthier alternative, the liver has trouble processing this alternative)
Nutrasweet has had more reverse reactions as reported to the FDA than additives and foods combined.
- Saccharin -Not considered safe
by some professionals, even though it is no longer on the “carcinogen” list .
- Aspartame – This artificial sweetener carries its consumption a risk for individuals with phenylketonuria ( which is an inborn metabolic disorder).
Also, be sure and check labels when shopping. There are many ways manufactures hide sugar on product labels. They often will use small amounts of several different types of sugars in attempt to disguise just how much of the total product really is sugar foods. A food that is sweet tasting may not simply state “sugar” on
the label. One thing to look for: Regular white sugar may be labeled as sucrose.
List of basic table sugars include:
- Raw sugar
- Cane sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Powdered sugar
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Beet sugar
- Maple syrup
Other kinds of sugars include:
- Glucose (dextrose)
Sugar alcohols include:
- Erythritol (does not have the laxative effect that the above three may have)
While avoiding white sugar, and other sugars which spike the glycemic index one of the easiest ways to lower intake is to add Stevia to your diet in place of sugar. This way you still enjoy satisfying your sweet cravings and receive all the benefits of eating this natural herb.
Did you know diabetes is the fastest growing health problem in the United States and did you know more of
you are at risk than ever before?
That’s right! Over 18 million people in the United States have diabetes with 13 million already diagnosed
and 5 million unaware that they have the disease. Lets examine two of the long-term complications, which
are all too common in diabetes. These include Neuropathy (nerve diseases) and Retinopathy (eye diseases).
Approximately 60% of people with diabetes will eventually develop neuropathy. Neuropathy first involves loss
of sensation in hands and feet. This nerve disease is characterized by tingling sensations, numbness, loss
of function and burning pain. Now look at this. Retinopathy of diabetes is a serious eye disease involving
the retina. the collection of light-sensitive cells lining the back half of each eye. Diabetic retinopathy
is the leading cause of blindness in the U.S. for people between ages 20 and 64.
Click here to read the entire HealthyNewAge Article
on Diabetic Neuropathy.