Everybody likes something sweet, even if it’s just occasionally. Unfortunately, I think most people know and agree that sugar isn’t good for you, especially if you’re concerned about your blood sugar levels.
Artificial Sweeteners – BAD
Luckily, modern science has brought us lots of “artificial sweeteners” to satisfy our sweet-tooth. Unfortunately, as with most “man-made” foods, they’re all loaded with lots of long-term and permanent side-effects. This includes aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and similar artificial sweeteners.
Not to mention, these chemicals will still negatively affect your glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. So not only are they bad for your overall health, but they aren’t good for your diabetes.
So, avoid all the artificial sweeteners!
Sugar Alcohols – OKAY
Then we have sugar alcohols, which end in “ol”, such as glycerol, glucitol, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
Now, the problem with these compounds is that they still have calories, but they all tend to cause stomach discomfort such as abdominal gas and diarrhea. Also, some of them still spike up your blood sugar levels, such as maltitol.
Probably the safest out of the sugar alcohols is xylitol, which can actually help fight tooth decay and that’s why it’s found in chewing gum. But I wouldn’t use it too much, simply because of the stomach problems. Plus, xylitol is toxic to dogs and some other animals – so keep that in mind.
Natural Sweeteners – GOOD
My two favorite sugar substitutes are all-natural sweeteners, Stevia and Lo Han Guo.
Stevia is my favorite and the one I use daily. It’s a herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant and it’s sold as a supplement. The active compounds of Stevia are is up to 150 times the sweetness of sugar1 are heat-stable (good for cooking), pH-stable, and not fermentable2
Stevia has been used for centuries and it’s extremely popular in Japan. It has virtually no calories and there are over 90 studies about Stevia’s safety, so the FDA already approved it as a natural sweetener.
Lo Han Kuo is another natural sweetener similar to Stevia, but it’s a bit more expensive and harder to find. In China, the Lo Han fruit has been used as a sweetener for centuries, and it’s about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It received FDA GRAS status in 2009.
- You need to stay away from sugars, this includes fruit juice. So make sure you read labels.
- Don’t use any of the artificial sweeteners because they all have long-term side-effects.
- If you want to sweeten your food or beverage, use Stevia – it has no calories, doesn’t raise your blood sugar and it’s safe.
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