Sweeteners . . . The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

 

Nature has offered us wonderful sweeteners to increase enjoyment in foods and when she does it is always healthy and nourishing.  However, once man manipulates them by bleaching, refining and stripping, they become dangerous and lose most of their value.

During the 21-Day Purification Program we strongly suggest you avoid certain sweeteners and only use from a very limited source.  In fact, we recommend raw honey as the only choice (1-2tablespoons maximum).  This is done for three reasons:  (1) to ensure the best chance of maximizing weight control if desired, (2) to stabilize blood sugar levels and (3) to avoid unhealthy choices that can be hurtful over time.

RAW HONEY
Natures best! A little goes a long way and is very healthy as well.  Look to purchase from a local farmer, if possible, or make sure it is at least raw honey.

Raw honey has good research behind it with a number of healthful impacts including helping regulate blood glucose levels in Type II Diabetics (1).  An important reminder is that honey is sweeter than sugar so you need less of it.  We suggest using a maximum of 2 tablespoons/day during the Purification Program. (There are roughly 64 calories per tablespoon of raw honey.) After Purification you can go up a bit.

An excellent website to learn more about raw honey and other powerful foods is www.whfoods.com.

 

STEVIA

There is a lot of controversy on Stevia as to whether it is a good alternative to sugar as a sweetener.  Since it originally seemed to have minimal impact on blood glucose levels and has no calories, it held much promise.  Its aftertaste left a little to be desired and many people turned away.  The true  concern is the long-term impact it may have on health. There are concerns in a number of areas, including, but not limited to, blood sugar control, kidneys, cardiovascular and the reproductive system.
The answer may lie in using the whole leaf,  as was the custom for hundreds of years, verses the current common use of isolates/concentrates of sweet compounds.  At any rate, better to be safe than sorry, plus honey is safe and healthy so why not use it?

 

RAW SUGAR CANE

Raw sugar cane is rich in minerals and is healthy!  Did you know that crude, or raw sugar, was studied many years ago for its effects on cavities and found to be minimal(2)?  There are many different types of raw sugar and the least processed is Rapadura.  Again, check out this great website loaded with interesting facts and data about the health benefits of raw sugar.  Now remember, it still has calories and may not be a good choice for diabetics or those dealing with blood sugar issues.  We do not recommend using this sugar during the 21 Day Purification due to our desire to maximize weight loss potential and to control blood sugar levels.  However, after the 21-Day Purification making wise choices about health sweeteners is smart and choosing unrefined sugar cane is a fine option.

 

ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

Sucralose is an isolated sugar that has been chlorinated. Aspartame is made with two isolated amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine.  Saccharin is chemically made.  If you understand the whole food philosophy there is nothing more that needs to be said.

 

ISOLATED SUGAR COMPOUNDS

Fructose, high fructose corn syrup, Sorbitol, Xylitol, etc.  The key word is isolated and/or manufactured.  Some of the isolated sugars, like fructose, are showing up in studies with possible concerns related to  increasing cancer risk(3).  Since nature has provided proven, safer and better tasting sweeteners why take the risk?

 

There is help for “Sugar-Addicts!”

 

Gymnema to the rescue!  Gymnema sylvestre is a climbing plant that grows in India, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and South Africa.  Both the leaf and root are used in Ayurvedic medicine.

 

On account of its property of abolishing the taste of sugar it was given a Hindi name meaning “Sugar Destroyer.”  The herb is traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes and has been used in India for diabetes mellitus for over 2000 years (4).  In Japan, Gymnema extract is used for the control of obesity.

 

Therapeutic indications include, among others, reduction of sweet cravings and appetite and weight loss and dieting since Gymnema (in liquid form) anesthetizes the sweet taste buds.

Gymnema’s ‘anti-sweet activity’ is due to gymnemic acids, gymnemasaponins and gurmarin.  Gymnemasaponins completely inhibited the perception of sweetness induced by a sucrose solution, and might result from the competition at the receptor sites between glycosides and the sweet substance.

References:

  1. Al-waili ns. Natural honey lowers plasma glucose, c-reactive protein, homocysteine, and blood lipids in healthy, diabetic, and hyperlipidemic subjects: comparison with dextrose and sucrose. J med food. 2004 spring;7(1):100-7. 2004. Pmid:15117561.
  2. A comparison of crude and refined sugar and cereals in their ability to produce in vitro decalcification of teeth t.w.b. osborn, j.n. noriskin and j. Staz j dent res 1937 16: 165
  3. Fructose induces transketolase flux to promote pancreatic cancer growth haibo liu1, danshan huang1, david l. Mcarthur2, laszlo g. Boros3, nicholas nissen4, and anthony p. Heaney1,2 (http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2010/07/16/0008-5472.can-09-4615.abstract
  4. Shanmugasundaram kr et al. Pharmacol res commun 1981; 13: 475

 

 

 

Note:  This is not a treatment for any condition and it is always important

to check with your physician before embarking on any therapy

Call our office today for more information on how we can help you with healthy blood sugar management!

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