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Feel Good Friday: Stay sweet without sugars

Some turn to sugar alternatives when trying to give up sugar

A few Feel Good Fridays ago, I asked you to try to quit sugar and see how good you would feel (not to mention boost your immune system which we ALL NEED at this time).

How’s that been working out for you? Some of you may have turned to sugar alternatives when trying to give up sugar. Is this a good idea? I may have a (not so sweet) surprise for you.

There are 3 categories of sugar alternatives:

  1. Artificial sweeteners are no-calorie sugar substitutes and non-nutritive sweeteners. There are six approved artificial sweeteners, and these are found in anything from yogurt to sodas. Some of these have been linked to insulin resistance, high blood sugar, bladder cancer in animals and allergic reactions. Not really what I would recommend.

  • Acesulfame potassium, Acesulfame-K (Ace-K)

  • Aspartame.

  • Sucralose

  • Saccharin

  • Neotame (Newtame)

  • Advantame

  1. Sugar alcohols can be either human-made or naturally found in some fruits. They provide 40-60 percent less sweetness and fewer calories per gram than table sugar. These are often found in sugar-free jellies, candy, chewing gums, and toothpaste. The FDA says: “Sugar alcohols are slightly lower in calories than sugar and do not promote tooth decay or cause a sudden increase in blood glucose.” But they do have some effect on blood sugar levels, so diabetics will still want to pay attention to these. Not so good is they can have a laxative effect in large amounts.

  • Xylitol (Birch sugar)

  • Sorbitol

  • Erythritol

  1. Novel sweeteners are a loosely-defined grouping that includes sweeteners which, while providing differences in sweetness and calorie content, are derived from natural sources. These would be the ones I would recommend if you HAVE to use a sweetener.

  • Trehalose - occurs naturally in small amounts in mushrooms, honey, lobsters, shrimps, certain seaweeds (algae), wine, beer, bread and other foods produced by using baker’s or brewer’s yeast. As a food additive, it is artificially produced from corn starch

  • Tagatose - can be naturally found in fruit (although it’s usually produced from lactose, a dairy sugar), it provides only 1.5 calories per gram, and it’s almost as sweet as sucrose

  • Stevia (Pure Via, Truvia, Rebiana) - Non-caloric extract from the leaves of the stevia bush, sometimes mixed with erythritol. Comes in powder or liquid.

  • Monk fruit extract (Lakanto, NuNaturals) - zero-calorie sweetener extracted from a small, green, melon-like fruit (Luo Han Guo). 50-200 times sweeter than sugar.

So again my top 3 tips for success in quitting sugar:

  • Start your day with a high protein, high fiber meal including some good fats. Try two scrambled eggs loaded with veggies like onion, garlic, broccoli, tomato, sweet pepper.

  • Stay well hydrated all day long.

  • Read lables…sugar is sneaky and hides in everything from peanut butter to salad dressings.

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