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What Is The Best And Safest Sugar Substitute

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Consider Your Sources Of Sugar

Whats The Best Sugar Substitute for Diabetics? – by Dr Sam Robbins

Theres a big difference between added sugar and naturally occurring sugar. Much sugar is added to processed foods such as donuts, bread, candy, soda, fruit punch, sweet tea, and even condiments like ketchup and barbeque sauce. The result is that many people consume a large amount of added sugar that has no nutritional benefits. And too much added sugar can lead to health problems including high blood sugar, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, dental issues such as cavities, increased triglycerides, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Sweeteners like fruit juice, honey, molasses and maple syrup contain natural sugar and have some nutritional benefits. Fruit has fiber, vitamins and antioxidants, says Ziesel. Even raw honey and maple syrup can contain antioxidants and minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and potassium.

Allulose A New Artificial Sweetener Thats No Longer Considered An Added Sugar

Allulose is an extremely low-calorie sweetener that occurs naturally in small amounts in wheat, raisins, dried figs, brown sugar, and molasses, according to the FDA. Marketed under the brand name Dolcia Prima , it has 90 percent fewer calories than sucrose, while being 70 percent as sweet.

You can find Dolcia Prima in Magic Spoon Cereal, which is sold online and expect to see it soon in beverages, desserts, candy, yogurt, and other treats. Thats because allulose got a big boost from the FDA in April 2019, when the agency declared it can be excluded from the total and added sugars listed on nutrition labels going forward.

The latest data suggests that allulose is different from other sugars in that it is not metabolized by the human body in the same way as table sugar, says Susan Mayne, PhD, director of FDAs Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. It has fewer calories, produces only negligible increases in blood glucose or insulin levels, and does not promote dental decay.

Under the revised guidance, manufacturers can use a caloric value of 0.4 calories per gram to calculate the total number of calories per serving of allulose, instead of the previous 4 calories per gram. The sweetener still must be included in the total carbohydrates listed, though. While allulose isnt on the list of FDA-approved sweeteners, the agency hasnt questioned notices submitted by manufacturers that the sweetener is generally recognized as safe.

The Best And Worst Sweeteners According To An Rd

Here to give you the definitive guide to the best and worst sweeteners is HUM Nutritionist Jessica Bippen, MS, RD.

The USDA estimates that the average American consumes over seven tablespoons of added sugars per day. This excessive sugar intake links to higher calorie consumption and lower diet quality. In turn, this leads to an increased risk of weight gain and other more serious medical conditions.

But even with these facts, most of us arent going to cut it out of our lives completely. As a result, people are now at least looking for healthier alternatives. So its no surprise that companies are jumping on the opportunity by providing plenty of options. But are any of these sugar substitutes actually healthy?

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Sugar Addiction Is The Real Deal Quitting This Sweet Drug Of Choice Isn’t So Simple But Knowing Which Types Of Sweeteners To Choose Can Make All The Difference In How You Look Think And Feel

Sugar has long been integrated into our culture as a reward mechanism. But, what once was a natural and healthy indulgence has become quite problematic for our health. Sugar has been blamed for everything from obesity to mental health disorders.And, it’s no wonder why.One of the great marvels of modern living in western industrialized societies is the quick and convenient access to “food”.But this desire for convenience and fuel on-demand has come with some ugly and undesirable side-effects.The main culprit is ultra-processed foods that are more freakish science experiments than they are nutritive fuel for our bodies.And the most common ingredient among them? You guessed it SUGAR!Today, sugar is literally in EVERYTHING we consume. Now, you may be wondering, whats so bad about this sweet white powder that weve come to desperately crave? The answer? Well, it depends.After all, not all sugar is created equally and the type you choose can affect your mind and body in different ways.Read on to find out how sugar affects us and how to choose the best natural sugar alternative for your health. Or, to skip to a section that interests you most, simply click on one of the topics below.

What makes sugar so addicting?
FAQs

What Makes Sugar So Addicting

The Healthiest Sugar Substitutes

Sugar, and its many derivatives, actually trigger the release of opioids and dopamine in the body – the neurotransmitters that trigger the reward circuit, andaddiction. Regardless of the trigger, the chemical reward we experience is the high that feeling of euphoria that were so naturally inclined to want more of. The addictive quality of sugar compared to prescription drugs has been the cause of much debate, however, the easily accessible sugar fix impacts our biochemistry in much the same ways. Like amphetamines and alcohol, too much added sugar can actually change the wiring in the brain and lead to withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and binging.

So why does sugar cause so much harm? To start, refined sugars , sugar alcohols, and sugar substitutes were absent from the human diet for much of human history meaning we have not evolved to tolerate sugar in the amounts that many Americans are consuming today. While there are many biological commonalities between sweetened diets and drugs of abuse, the addictive nature of sugar was largely unknown, which is why one study aimed to find out just how troublesome this substance may be

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The Health Costs Of Sugar

Sugar sweetens, preserves, and enhances the flavor of food. This makes it hard to avoid and resist, but the health benefits of reducing your sugar intake are clear.

A diet high in sugar has been associated with a wide range of health conditions, either directly through its effect on the body or indirectly due to complications from obesity. Excessive sugar consumption may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Poor nutrition absorption, high triglyceride levels, and tooth decay are all related to high sugar intake. It has also been linked to poor cognitive function, affecting memory and increasing the risk of dementia.

Acesulfame Potassium A Popular Sugar Substitute In Diet Soda

Also known as Ace-K, this nonnutritive sweetener is FDA-approved and about 200 times sweeter than sugar. Often manufacturers combine it with other sweeteners, though it is also sold for tabletop use under the brand name Sweet One. You will also find it in some of your favorite diet soft drinks, such as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Mountain Dew. The FDA recommends an ADI of 15 mg or less of Ace-K per kilogram of body weight per day.

A 132-pound individual would need to consume 23 tabletop packets of the artificial sweetener per day to reach that limit.

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Healthier Sugar Alternatives To Try

Is sugar your dietary weakness? Many people crave it. But even if you dont necessarily have a sweet tooth, it can be tough to avoid sugar altogether. Nearly everything contains added sugar from soda and other sweetened drinks to almost all processed foods.

Fortunately, a wide range of sugar substitutes and sweeteners both natural and artificial are available to help reduce the amount of table sugar in your diet. Limiting sugar intake is especially important for older adults. Excessive added sugar consumption may lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It has also been linked to poor cognitive function, affecting memory and increasing the risk of dementia.

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Can Sugar Substitutes Help You Lose Weight

Is Monk Fruit Sweetener the BEST Healthy Sugar Substitute?

Yes-but only a little.

A small but strong handful of clinical trials suggest that using sugar substitutes-usually in the form of diet beverages-can help people lose weight, especially those “who are getting a fairly prudent diet already,” according to obesity expert Barry Popkin, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One major review involving more than 1,900 participants concluded that when sugar substitutes and low-calorie foods were swapped in for their full-calorie counterparts, people lost an average of 1 to 2 pounds.

Another study found that when 31 men and women snacked on crackers with sweetened cream cheese before lunch and dinner, they felt just as satisfied when the cream cheese was sweetened with stevia or aspartame as they did with sugar, despite taking in around 300 fewer calories.

That said, large, long-term studies show that people who regularly consume sugar substitutes aren’t leaner-and are sometimes heavier-than those who don’t. Why the discrepancy? One factor is what Popkin calls, “the Big Mac with a Diet Coke” effect-the all-too-human self-foolery that happens when we eat something labeled “diet,” then feel entitled to pig out because we were “good.” Overweight people also tend to choose more diet foods in general to prevent further gain.

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Breaking It Down: Types Of Sugar

For the chemistry buffs, heres a quick bit of context: Sugars are also known as simple carbohydrates. They digest quickly, releasing sugars into your bloodstream.

Each type of sugar has its own set of problems:

  • Glucose is the most rapidly metabolized by the body and can send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing. It has a glycemic index score of 100 .
  • Fructose has no impact on insulin production or blood glucose levels. It also has a relatively low glycemic index score. But it must be metabolized by the liver and is associated with elevated levels of triglycerides, metabolic syndrome, and weight gain.
  • Sucrose is crystalized white sugar, from the cane sugar plant, and it consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

Natural Sweeteners That Are Good For Your Health

Reducing your intake of refined sugar can be tough, but given how incredibly harmful sugar can be, its definitely worth the effort (

Fortunately, quite a few sweeteners found in nature are actually healthy.

Theyre low in calories, low in fructose, and taste very sweet.

Here are 5 natural sweeteners that could be healthier alternatives to refined sugar.

Stevia is a very popular low calorie sweetener.

Its extracted from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana.

This plant has been grown for its sweetness and medicinal purposes for centuries in South America.

Several sweet compounds are found in stevia leaves. The main ones are stevioside and rebaudioside A. Both are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, gram for gram.

Therefore, stevia is very sweet but has virtually no calories.

Additionally, a few human-based studies suggest stevia may have health benefits, including for the following health parameters:

  • Blood pressure. Stevia may help lower high blood pressure in people with hypertension. However, it doesnt affect normal or only mildly elevated blood pressure levels (
  • 4 ).

Many people greatly dislike the taste of stevia. The flavor depends on the brand, though, so you may need to experiment to find a type of stevia you like.

Summary

Stevia is a natural, zero-calorie sweetener that may help lower both your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

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What About Refined Cane Sugar

We often refer to refined sugar as empty calories. Its 100-percent carbohydrates and contains no vitamins, minerals, or other nutrients. Refined sugar includes cane sugar, confectioners sugar, and brown sugar.

That being said, there are worse sweeteners than refined sugar. When you have the option, choosing one of the less refined options like honey, maple syrup, and dates is a better choice. However, it can be more challenging to use some of the healthier options without changing the taste and texture of the food youre trying to make.

If youre going for a classic taste and texture, try reducing the amount of sugar in the recipe. Often, you can get away with cutting the sugar by a third without noticing much of a difference. Then, if reducing the amount of sugar in the total recipe isnt possible, you can always reduce the portion size per serving. Make cookies smaller or perhaps just make half a batch. This way, youre consuming less sugar in general.

The Worst Sugar Substitutes

All the Different Types of Sweeteners and Sugar Substitutes You Need to ...

#1 High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup comes from corn. You can find it in processed foods, like baked goods, desserts, soda, juices, snacks, and commercial bread. Despite its name, the most common form consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose the same as table sugar.

Pros: Its cheap in the U.S. and sweet.

Cons: Most of the corn used to make HFCS is genetically modified. HFCS has been linked to numerous health concerns, such as an increased risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, liver disease, and insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes and cancers. Its also void of nutrients.

#2 Brown Rice Syrup

Made by breaking down the starches in brown rice, this sugar substitute is a thick sweetener made of three sugars: maltotriose, maltose, and glucose. But maltose and maltotriose are just two and three glucose molecules, respectively. They function just like glucose in the body. Processed foods, including toddler snacks and bars, often contain brown rice syrup.

Pros: Brown rice syrup contains glucose, not fructose. The advantage of this is that glucose appears to have a less damaging effect on your liver than fructose.

Cons: Because its essentially glucose, rice syrup has a very high glycemic index of 98 higher than any other type of sugar . Brown rice syrup is also prone to arsenic contamination.

#3 Agave Nectar

#4 No-Calorie or Artificial Sweeteners

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Why Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For People With Diabetes

Some artificial sweeteners say sugar-free or diabetic-friendly, but research suggests these sugars actually have the opposite of effect.

Your body responds to artificial sweeteners differently than it does regular sugar. Artificial sugar can interfere with your bodys learned taste. This can confuse your brain, which will send signals telling you to eat more, especially more sweet foods.

How To Choose The Best Sugar Substitute For You

Here are the top factors to consider when selecting the best sugar substitute for you and your family.

Form

Best sweeteners for diabetics come in a variety of forms, such as liquid and powder. In addition to this, they are also available in different volumes and packaging. For instance, if you are a passionate baker, you will want to choose an enormous container, whereas people on the go will prefer single packets.

Calories

You might be interested in swapping processed white sugar withsweeteners that are good for you because they are typically zero-calorie alternatives. Although sweeteners such as stevia or erythritol are calorie-free, some natural options, including coconut sugar, honey, and molasses, are not.

With this in mind, choose a sugar alternative that you can fit into your daily calorie intake for weight loss.

Carbohydrate and Sugar Content

Besides counting calories, people on a strict diet will also need to consider the carbohydrates and the sugars in their favorite natural or best artificial sweetener. For instance, natural sweeteners such as honey and agave syrup are high in carbs and sugar, making them unfit for people with diabetes.

Sweetness and Flavor

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Sugar Alternatives To Try

Is sugar your dietary weakness? Many people crave it. But even if you dont necessarily have a sweet tooth, it can be tough to avoid sugar altogether. Nearly everything contains added sugar from soda and other sweetened drinks to almost all processed foods.

Fortunately, a wide range of sugar substitutes and sweeteners both natural and artificial are available to help reduce the amount of table sugar in your diet. Limiting sugar intake is especially important for older adults.

What Sugar Substitutes/artificial Sweeteners Are Approved By The Fda

Healthiest Sugar Substitute! Rankings & #1 Recommended Sugar Alternative

The following sugar substitutes are FDA approved as food additives in the United States:

  • Acesulfame K
  • Advantame
  • Saccharin (brand names: Sweet N Low® and Sugar Twin®
  • Sucralose

According to the FDA, some sugar substitutes are generally recognized as safe . This means they dont require FDA approval because qualified experts agree the scientific evidence shows these products are safe for use in foods and drinks. Sugar substitutes in this category include highly purified stevia extracts called steviol glycosides and monk fruit extracts .

Sugar alcohols are another class of sweeteners that can be used as sugar substitutes. Examples include mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. The FDA has determined that sugar alcohols are generally recognized as safe for use in foods and drinks.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a common low-calorie sugar substitute. Its a combination of 2 amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Its about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It can be found in thousands of processed foods and drinks. Products that contain aspartame include yogurt, frozen desserts, pudding, dry dessert mixes, chewing gum, and soft drinks.

Its used as a tabletop sweetener. It also can be found in some medicines and vitamins. Aspartame shouldnt be used as a substitute for sugar when youre baking. It loses its sweet taste when its heated.

Is aspartame safe?

Acesulfame K

Is acesulfame K safe?

Saccharin

Is saccharin safe?

Recommended Reading: Sugar Tablet Before Or After Food

Guide To Alternative Sweeteners

Alternative sweeteners made their way into my life at a time when I needed to find a way to enjoy sweets without eating sugar.

Hey, theres no guilt in eating sweets, Momma! We should enjoy our food with zero guilt AND in ways that make us feel like the best versions of ourselves. We absolutely CAN have our cake and eat it, too!

There are many alternative sweeteners on the market, such as xylitol, erythritol, allulose, monk fruit, stevia, and more.

Before incorporating any of them into my diet, I did a ton of research to determine which would be the best and safest. You can download my research in my FREE Guide to Alternative Sweeteners.

I believe erythritol and stevia are the healthiest choice for me and my family. Then, I formulated this homemade keto/low-carb sweetener blend to save money over buying pre-made blends.

Now, we have been using it regularly for 18 months 4 years and have experienced no side effects. Even my natural practitioners are aware of my use of this keto sweetener blend and are fully supportive.

If you want to learn more about using keto/low-carb sweeteners, check out my Free Guide to Alternative Sweeteners!

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