What sweetener is safe for diabetics: The request could not be satisfied
Aspartame: Should Individuals with Type II Diabetes be Taking it?
Individuals with Type II Diabetes (T2D) have to manage blood glucose levels to sustain health and longevity. Artificial sweeteners (including aspartame) are suggested sugar alternatives for these individuals. The safety of aspartame in particular, has long been the centre of debate. Although it is such a controversial product, many clinicians recommend its use to T2D patients, during a controlled diet and as part of an intervention strategy. Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels, and it is suggested for use so that T2D can control carbohydrate intake and blood glucose levels. However, research suggests that aspartame intake may lead to an increased risk of weight gain rather than weight loss, and cause impaired blood glucose tolerance in T2D.
This review consolidates knowledge gained from studies that link aspartame consumption to the various mechanisms associated with T2D.
We review literature that provides evidence that raise concerns that aspartame may exacerbate T2D and add to the global burden of disease.
Aspartame may act as a chemical stressor by increasing cortisol levels, and may induce systemic oxidative stress by producing excess free radicals, and it may also alter gut microbial activity and interfere with the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, resulting in insulin deficiency or resistance.
Aspartame and its metabolites are safe for T2D is still debatable due to a lack of consistent data. More research is required that provides evidence and raise concerns that aspartame may exacerbate prevalence of pathological physiology in the already stressed physiology of T2D.
Aspartame; glucose; insulin; type II diabetes; weight gain; weight loss..
Diabetics should avoid artificial sweeteners, experts say
Diabetics have more options nowadays in choosing sugar substitutes than they did years ago, when Splenda, Equal, Sweet’N Low were the go-to brands.
But even with all of the sugar substitutes and naturally derived sugar options, from stevia to monk fruit extract, America’s obesity epidemic has grown significantly, with 40 percent of U.S. adults considered obese as of 2015-2016, up from 31 percent in 1999-2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Michelle Pearlman, M.D., a gastroenterologist with the University of Miami Health System, recently published a paper in Current Diabetes Reports that reviewed data on natural alternative sweeteners and their effects on the body’s blood sugar levels.
“Sugar-laden diets are ubiquitous because humans and animals display preferences for sweet taste that starts early in life,” she says.
Pearlman says the use of artificial sweeteners has grown along with the obesity epidemic.
Michelle Pearlman, M.D., a gastroenterologist with the University of Miami Health System, whose research has shown that artificial sweeteners may contribute to an increased risk of diabetes. BiomeUMiami
“Artificial sweeteners were developed as a sugar substitute to help reduce insulin resistance and obesity and are marketed as a healthy alternative to sugar and as a tool for weight loss,” she says.
But data in both animal models and humans suggest that artificial sweeteners may actually contribute to metabolic syndrome — a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, she noted.
To maintain healthy eating habits and a healthy weight, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends reducing total daily caloric intake, and limiting carbohydrate consumption and artificial sweeteners.
According to Cleveland Clinic of Florida, non-nutritive sweeteners (also called sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners) contain few or no calories or nutrients and may be derived from plants or herbs, or even sugar itself. They have a greater intensity of sweetness compared with sugar and some are not metabolized, so they pass through the digestive tract essentially unchanged.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved eight non-nutritive sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame potassium, luo han guo (monk) fruit extract, neotame, saccharin, stevia, sucralose and advantame.
When looking at ingredients on food or drink labels, table sugar is often listed by its chemical name: sucrose. The ADA says one way to recognize sugars is to look for words that end in “ose. ” Fruit sugar is often referred to as fructose just as the sugar in milk is most often listed as lactose. Glucose is called dextrose; fructose is also called levulose.
According to a Harvard Medical School special health report, “Reducing Sugar in Your Diet,” Americans consume an average of more than 17 teaspoons of sugar (about 290 calories) a day from added sugars, often from sweetened beverages. The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day.
On average, Americans get more than 200 calories a day from sugary drinks, about four times what was consumed in 1965, according to the Harvard report.
Amy Kimberlain, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Baptist Health South Florida, advises her patients to cut back on consuming artificial sweeteners.
“By offering the taste of sweetness without any calories, artificial sweeteners seem like they could be one answer to effective weight loss and blood sugar control,” she says.
Amy Kimberlain, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Baptist Health South Florida, advises her patients to cut back on consuming artificial sweeteners.
“However, my general recommendation to people with diabetes is to see how much or how frequent you are using these products and aim to cut back on your overall total consumption. Artificial sweeteners can be a stepping stone, so that you use them for only a while to help wean yourself off of drinking sugary beverages, but the end goal is to not use them at all,” she says.
She says people who use artificial sweeteners may ramp up other sugary foods.
“This can happen because we like to fool ourselves: ‘I’m drinking diet soda, so it’s okay to have cake,”’ she says.
Kimberlain says sugar substitutes can change the way people taste food.
“Non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup,” she says. “A minuscule amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. By overstimulating our sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners, this may then limit our tolerance for more complex tastes.”
Kimberlain says that people who routinely consume artificial sweeteners may find less intensely sweet foods, such as fruit, less appealing and foods such as vegetables, unpalatable.
Finally, she says that artificial sweeteners may prevent people from associating sweetness with caloric intake.
“As a result, we may crave more sweets, tend to choose sweet food over nutritious food and gain weight,” she says.
A San Antonio Heart Study found that, among 3,682 middle-aged adults, those who drank more than 21 diet drinks a week, were twice as likely to become overweight or obese over the next seven to eight years, compared with participants who didn’t drink diet soft drinks.
For diabetics who still crave sugar and have trouble reducing their sugar intake, Kimberlain offers this advice:
▪ Delay. Wait 10 to 20 minutes (or as long as you can) before giving into the craving. In the best-case scenario, often the craving will subside in that time period. Even when you can’t fully fight the craving, the time delay helps reduce its power.
▪ Distract. By distracting yourself so you’re not thinking about the craved food, the craving weakens.
▪ Avoid. Finding alternatives to your most difficult-to-control foods that are equally satisfying and consuming these in moderation in a planned way (not in response to a craving) allows you to not feel deprived while controlling food consumption.
Kimberlain says making the following four changes to your diet can have a big impact on preventing type 2 diabetes:
▪ Choose whole grains and whole grain products over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates. “The bran and fiber in whole grains makes it more difficult for digestive enzymes to break down the starches into glucose,” she says. “This leads to lower, slower increases in blood sugar and insulin.”
▪ Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee or tea. “Like refined grains, sugary beverages have a high glycemic load, and drinking more of this sugary stuff is associated with increased risk of diabetes,” says Kimberlain.
▪ Choose healthy fats. “The type of fats in your diet can affect the development of diabetes,” she says. “Healthful fat, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid oils, nuts and seeds, can help ward off type 2 diabetes. Trans-fats do just the opposite.”
▪ Limit red meat and avoid processed meat. “Choose nuts, beans, whole grains, poultry or fish instead,” she says. “The evidence is growing stronger that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed red meat (bacon, hot dogs, deli meats) increases the risk of diabetes.”
“Managing diabetes is not always a science but also an art,” says Kimberlain. “There will be days when you’re just unsure why your blood sugar is high. The key is not to judge the number but rather try to understand it — having a team approach (endocrinologist, dietitian, nurse, social worker, and YOU the patient) is critical when it comes to your diabetes care.”
When monitoring blood sugar, diabetics also have to be concerned with hypoglycemia, when blood sugar levels drop below 70 mg/dL.
Dr. Agustin Andrade, the chief of the endocrinology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
“Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in diabetic patients could be lethal,” said Dr. Agustin Andrade, the chief of the endocrinology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. “It’s important that diabetic patients understand the different levels of hypoglycemia and understand that no artificial sweetener will improve hypoglycemia.”
Early signs of hypoglycemia include shakiness, dizziness, sweating, hunger.
Diabetics suffering from hypoglycemia should apply the “Rule of 15” which consists of ingesting 15 grams of glucose, which he says will raise sugar levels in 15 minutes, Andrade said.
“This includes glucose tablets, oral glucose gel, four ounces of juice or non-diet soda or one tablespoon of sugar,” he says.
This story was originally published November 19, 2019 6:00 AM.
Comparing Artificial Sweeteners | Michigan Medicine
What are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners can be used instead of sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. You can add them to drinks like coffee or iced tea. They are also found in many foods sold in grocery stores. These sweeteners, also called sugar substitutes, are made from chemicals and natural substances.
Sugar substitutes have very few calories compared to sugar. Some have no calories. Many people use sugar substitutes as a way to limit how much sugar they eat. They may be limiting sugar to lose weight, control blood sugar, or avoid getting cavities in their teeth.
The most common sugar substitutes are:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet). It’s mostly used to sweeten diet soft drinks.
- Saccharin (Sweet’N Low, Sugar Twin). It’s used in many diet foods and drinks.
- Sucralose (Splenda). It’s in many diet foods and drinks.
- Acesulfame K (Sunett). It’s often combined with saccharin in diet soft drinks.
- Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf). Stevia is made from a herbal plant and is used in foods and drinks.
Sugar alcohols are also used to sweeten diet foods and drinks. These plant-based products include mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. If you eat too much of them, sugar alcohols can cause diarrhea and bloating.
A new sugar substitute called advantame was approved by the FDA in 2014. It’s made from aspartame and vanillin. But it’s about 100 times sweeter than aspartame.
If your goal is to lose weight, keep in mind that a food can be sugar-free but still have carbohydrate, fats, and calories. It’s a good idea to read the nutrition label to check for calories and carbohydrate.
Are sugar substitutes safe?
Yes. The FDA regulates the use of artificial sweeteners. At one time, saccharin was thought to increase the risk of bladder cancer in animals. Studies reviewed by the FDA have found no clear evidence of a link between saccharin and cancer in humans.
People who have phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid foods and drinks that have aspartame, which contains phenylalanine.footnote 1
Advantame also contains phenylalanine, but it is considered safe for people with PKU. That’s because advantame is so sweet that only tiny amounts of it are used.
Are artificial sweeteners safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
A nutrient-rich diet is important for both you and your baby when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. And it’s not a good idea to diet when you are breastfeeding. It’s fine to have a diet drink or artificially sweetened foods now and then. But be sure they don’t take the place of the nutrient-rich foods you need while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
The following artificial sweeteners are considered safe to use in moderation during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
- Acesulfame K (Sunett)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, SweetLeaf)
- Advantame (no brand name)
- Sugar alcohols, which include mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol
Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sugar Twin) is deemed safe by the FDA for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. But you may want to check with your doctor before you use it. Some pregnant women choose to avoid saccharin because it has been shown to cross the placenta to the fetus.
Do artificial sweeteners raise blood sugar?
No. Artificial sweeteners provide no energy, so they won’t affect your blood sugar. If you have diabetes, these substitutes are safe to use. But that’s not true of sugar alcohols. They don’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar, but the carbohydrate in them can affect your blood sugar.
If you have diabetes, read food labels carefully to find out the amount of carbohydrate in each serving of food containing sugar alcohol. It’s also a good idea to test your blood sugar after you eat foods with sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners so you can find out how they affect your blood sugar.
How Sweet It Is: All About Artificial Sweeteners and Diabetes
By Cheryl Alkon
What are artificial sweeteners, can people with diabetes consume them, and why are they controversial? Here we share advice and break down the types of sugar substitutes that are currently available
You may feel like you’re not sure how artificial sweeteners affect health or relate to diabetes – that’s fair, because there’s a lot of uncertainty on the subject. More than a dozen different kinds of artificial sweeteners are available. These products – also known as low calorie sweeteners, nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners, or sugar substitutes – help make food and drinks sweet, without the calories found in sugar or the glucose spikes.
So, what are artificial sweeteners? How do they work? How do they affect people with diabetes? And ultimately, are artificial sweeteners good for you?
In short, artificial sweeteners can be much sweeter than sugar itself, so a little goes a long way. This can help reduce how many calories you consume from an artificial sweetener. Additionally, artificial sweeteners are typically not absorbed by the body the way sugar is, so they pass through you without as much concern for weight gain or blood sugar fluctuations.
In this article we’ll discuss what makes one artificial sweetener different from another, their side effects, whether they are safe or unsafe, and how to decide if an artificial sweetener is right for you.
“In our world of diabetes, [these products] make healthy eating more flexible, and they do not take away from one’s daily carbohydrate allotment,” said Toby Smithson, a registered dietician nutritionist and certified diabetes care and education specialist, and the founder of DiabetesEveryday. com. Smithson presented a seminar, “The Sweet Truth about Low Calorie Sweeteners,” at the virtual 2020 conference of the Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES). Smithson has lived with diabetes for more than four decades and has watched artificial sweetener options grow. She is also a consultant for Splenda, a type of artificial sweetener.
A Bad Reputation
Despite how much they can help with blood glucose management, misperceptions about artificial sweeteners live on. For one thing, while artificial sweeteners themselves have few carbohydrates or calories, the foods they are in likely have some calories and carbs from other ingredients. “Claims like ‘sugar-free,’ ‘reduced sugar’ or ‘no sugar added’ are not necessarily carbohydrate-free or lower in carbohydrate content than the original version of the food. For this reason, we recommend that you read the nutrition facts label to understand how many carbs and calories you are eating,” states the American Diabetes Association’s website. “Using sugar substitutes doesn’t make an unhealthy choice healthy. It just means it’s less unhealthy.”
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have all issued statements indicating that people can use artificial sweeteners cautiously when eaten as part of a healthy diet guided by current federal nutrition recommendations. In her presentation, Smithson said, “The expert consensus on low calorie sweeteners found low calorie sweeteners to be safe, they reduced sugar and energy intake, and had no adverse effects on sweet preference, appetite, or glucose control. Artificial sweeteners may improve diabetes management, but there hasn’t been enough data on gut health and artificial sweeteners to comment on that aspect.”
Still, negative perceptions linger. “Studies on certain sweeteners have revealed questions about their safety which have not been adequately answered,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, author of the upcoming book Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine. “Two examples are aspartame and saccharin, which have been associated with cancer in animals. But these have not been proven in humans. Nonetheless, these doubts persist in the public’s mind.” Lustig argues that we don’t know enough about how sweeteners affect humans to determine whether they are fully healthy for our bodies.
One woman with diabetes came to see Smithson for nutritional guidance and explained that she drank sugary – not artificially sweetened – soda regularly. “She thought it was safer to do,” said Smithson. “To help her understand this, I explained how a regular soda would affect her blood sugar. We suggest drinking regular soda to help spike a blood glucose level within 13 minutes, as a treatment for hypoglycemia. It really got the point across to my patient.”
Today’s Sugar Substitute Options
Why would someone with diabetes think a Coca-Cola would be a better choice than a Diet Coke? With many different products on the market and varying news and studies about nutrition, it can be hard for the public to keep up with changing trends. Similarly, different artificial sweeteners have specific aftertastes, some more obvious than others.
“Some people will use eight teaspoons of sugar in a cup of coffee, and for them it would be hard to transition to an artificial sweetener immediately,” said Sandra J. Arevalo, a dietician, certified diabetes care and education specialist, and National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has counseled people with diabetes over the past 25 years. “I tell them to start reducing the amount of sugar, instead of switching immediately. To reduce the amount of sugar helps change the taste buds, which makes it easier to adapt” to using a smaller amount of an artificial sweetener.
What are the sweeteners available, and what do we know about them? This chart shows common artificial sweeteners that people use at home. All of them are low-calorie, low-carb sweeteners.
Some artificial sweeteners are mainly used in processed foods. If you’re checking for sweeteners on a food’s nutrition label look for the types listed above, as well as neotame and advantame – two more sweeteners that are thousands of times sweeter than sugar.
Overall, experts recommend using the smallest amount of any sweetener possible. “These sweeteners are safe on a single-dose basis; none of them will make you keel over and die,” said Lustig. “But the question is, what about multiple doses? It’s like tobacco smoke. One cigarette won’t kill you, and not even a pack of cigarettes in one day will kill you. But a cigarette a day for 20 years just might.”
“Just keep it to the minimum,” she said. “Enjoy it, but be careful of the amount.”
Are some sweeteners healthier?
Some people may be sensitive to certain artificial sweeteners, and Arevalo said plant-based sweeteners may cause fewer side effects such as stomach discomfort.
Stevia: Stevia sweeteners are plant-based and newer, and they cost more than sweeteners that have been on the market longer, notes Arevalo.
Monk fruit: “Monk fruit is gaining popularity due to consumer demand for ‘natural foods’ because it originates from the pulp of the fruit,” said Smithson.
Sugar alcohol sweeteners occur naturally in foods and are absorbed by the body more slowly than sucrose. They may be not calorie-free or carb-free, said Smithson. Typically used as a food additive for sugar free candies, cookies, mints and gum, sugar alcohols don’t cause cavities or a rapid jump in blood glucose levels, but they can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas and bloating in some people, especially if you eat a lot of them. Swerve is a sugar alcohol sweetener that is popular among people eating very low carb diets – it has no calories and no effect on blood glucose, Smithson said.
So, which artificial sweetener is best?
Lustig noted that 2017 research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that some studies suggest a possible link between using artificial sweeteners and weight gain and higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes (the studies included people with and without diabetes) and heart disease. However, more research is needed for definitive results.
Lustig’s bottom line is the less sweetness, the better. “Everyone needs to de-sweeten their lives, especially people with diabetes,” he said.
But many people love sweets. With any sweetener, both Smithson and Arevalo recommended that people conduct their own taste test to determine which product they like best, as some sweeteners have a bitter aftertaste. “Everyone’s taste buds are different and everyone’s feelings are different,” Smithson said. “Taste goes a long way and taste matters.”
Cheryl Alkon is a seasoned writer and the author of the book Balancing Pregnancy With Pre-Existing Diabetes: Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby. The book has been called “Hands down, the best book on type 1 diabetes and pregnancy, covering all the major issues that women with type 1 face. It provides excellent tips and secrets for achieving the best management” by Gary Scheiner, the author of Think Like A Pancreas. Since 2010, the book has helped countless women around the world conceive, grow and deliver healthy babies while also dealing with diabetes.
Cheryl covers diabetes and other health and medical topics for various print and online clients. She lives in Massachusetts with her family and holds an undergraduate degree from Brandeis University and a graduate degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
She has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than four decades, since being diagnosed in 1977 at age seven.
Sugar and Sweeteners – Diabetes Australia
The idea that people with diabetes need to avoid sugar and use alternatives has been around for a long time and is still one of the most common questions asked by people with diabetes.
Sugar substitutes have been around for many years too and have traditionally taken the form of what we call â€˜non-nutritiveâ€™ or â€˜artificial sweetenersâ€™. Non-nutritive sweeteners (such as Aspartame, Sucralose, Stevia) do not contain carbohydrate and have very few calories.
Non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners are not actually needed to help manage diabetes. People with diabetes can still use regular sugar to sweeten foods, as long as it is used in small amounts and generally eaten as part of a meal. An example of this might be one teaspoon of sugar sprinkled over a hot bowl of plain rolled oats or a thin spread of regular jam on some grainy toast. This is the same advice that would be given to someone who does not have diabetes, as large amounts of added sugar is not good for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have diabetes.
In recent times, there have been a number of other sugar substitutes gaining popularity because they are thought to be â€˜healthierâ€™ than regular old table sugar.
Why is this the case?
Many of these sugar substitutes are claiming to be healthier than regular sugar because they claim to have a lower glycaemic index (GI) or contain more nutrients, such as small amounts of calcium, potassium and magnesium.
However, many of these claims are actually irrelevant. For example, the GI of sugar substitutes becomes irrelevant when they are only used in small amounts. A teaspoon of any sweetener is going to have a similar impact on blood glucose levels, it doesnâ€™t matter if it is high GI or low GI.
When it comes to additional nutrients, we can easily meet all of our vitamin and mineral requirements by eating the recommended number of serves from each of the 5 core food groups. The last thing we should rely on for these nutrients is added sweeteners. Sweeteners should be used occasionally only to add a small amount of flavour, not essential vitamins and minerals.
Key points to remember:
- Most sugar substitutes contain just as many kilojoules and as much carbohydrate as regular sugar. We know that the amount of carbohydrate eaten has the biggest impact on blood glucose levels; therefore, the end result on your blood glucose levels is going to be similar.
- Sugar substitutes tend to be much more expensive. So you end up paying more for a product that is going to have the same impact as sugar.
- Choose any form of sweetener that you like or that suits your recipe or meal the best. Just use them in small amounts to reduce the impact on your blood glucose levels and weight.
The best and worst sugar substitutes for your health — Quartz
Wandering through the grocery store, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the numerous brands and health claims on the dozens of sugar substitutes. It can be particularly confusing for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes who must keep their blood sugar in check and control their weight.
With the growing diabetes and obesity epidemic, there has been increasing awareness around the use of added sugars in foods. The most recent edition of the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that added sugars should be kept to less than 10% of the calories consumed, which turns out to be roughly 270 calories per day.
This is because “added sugars” add sweetness or flavor but add very little nutritional value. Because of this trend, the food industry has embarked on a quest to find or develop the perfect substitute to replace sugar—with the same taste and none of the calories that lead to weight gain.
As a pharmacist who is also board certified in advanced diabetes management, I talk to patients every day about blood sugars and ways to help them take control of their diabetes. They often ask me whether the perfect substitute to sugar has been found. The short answer is no. Here is the long answer.
Sugar substitutes can be categorized into two main groups: sugar alcohols and high intensity sweeteners. The sugar alcohols include sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, erythritol, and maltitol. High-intensity sweeteners include saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), sucralose, neotame, advantame, stevia, and Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle fruit extract (SGFE).
Sugar alcohols are often found in toothpaste, chewing gum, and some “sugar-free” foods. They are carbohydrates with a chemical structure that resembles sugar, but also the components that make them an alcohol. They are about 25-100% sweeter than sugar and have a similar taste. But here is the catch: They are not calorie free. Most have between 1.5 and two calories per gram. Now compare the calorie count to sugar, also known as sucrose, which has four calories per gram—twice as much.
Although sugar alcohols contain fewer calories, they will still increase a patient’s blood sugar, especially when eaten in excess. When compared to sugar, the effect is less dramatic though. This is because of how these molecules are processed in the body. We measure this using the glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a reference to how quickly a food is broken down and absorbed. The higher the number, the more quickly the food breaks down and the faster the sugar goes into the blood. Sucrose has a glycemic index of 65; whereas sugar alcohols, like xylitol, have a glycemic index of around seven. This means that sugar alcohols are harder to digest, and cause a slower and lower increase in post-meal blood sugars—which is typically better for people with diabetes. Because sugar alcohols are harder for the body to break down though, some of them remain in the gut, and if a person consumes too much they may experience digestive complaints like gas, cramping, and diarrhea.
Here is the other downside to foods containing sugar alcohols: They often have higher quantities of fat or salt to make up for the lower sugar content.
High-intensity sweeteners are zero- or low-calorie alternatives to sugar. They are made from a variety of sources, and are 100 to 20,000 times as sweet as sugar. Some leave a bitter or metallic taste behind. Two newer substitutes—stevia and SGFE—come from plants and are at times referred to as “natural” substitutes.
According to the American Diabetes Association 2019 guidelines, the use of high-intensity sweeteners may decrease calorie and carbohydrate intake. However, you cannot replace these “free” calories with calories from other food source, or you will lose the benefits on blood sugar control and weight loss.
Researchers have seen this in some of the studies on high-intensity sweeteners. Some of the trials show no difference or even a possible increase in weight. But in other studies where intake of food is better regulated and patients don’t replace these free calories with other high-caloric foods, the weight loss is maintained.
All sugar substitutes are labeled as food additives and are under the regulation of the US Food and Drug Administration. The latest trend has been labeling some of the sugar substitutes as “derived from plants” or “natural.” That does not necessarily mean that these are safer or more effective in blood sugar control or weight loss. If it is used in excess, side effects such as bloating or diarrhea may still result.
Several concerns by researchers have been raised about high-intensity sweeteners—saccharin and aspartame—and cancer. To date, the National Cancer Institute has concluded that there is no clear evidence that any of the high-intensity sweeteners is associated with an increased risk of cancer.
As a pharmacist specializing in advanced diabetes, I talk to patients every day about how to control their blood sugar level and their diabetes. There are three main ways to do that: medication, increased activity, and diet. The last two are probably more important in the long run.
If diet and activity level never change, it is really hard to help patients bring their blood sugars down. Medication after medication will likely have to be added. With this comes the potential for side effects. So if I can persuade patients to make changes to their diet, like switching to a beverage with a sugar substitute, it makes a huge difference in helping to control blood sugars and the dose of medications.
The overall focus for diabetes management should be on reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and foods. If you can switch one of these sugar-sweetened products to a food that has a high-intensity sugar substitute, that is better. But best of all is consuming food and drinks that are not highly processed and do not have added sugars.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
What Is Stevia Sweetener, and Is It Good for Diabetics?
What is stevia, and does it support good health? This low-calorie sweetener doesn’t raise blood sugar. Because of this, stevia benefits diabetics and those on a keto diet.
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If you’re a diabetic or following a low-carb diet such as keto, you know that traditional sugar products such as cane sugar and refined sugar aren’t a good fit for your circumstances.
Why is that? Well,if you’re a diabetic, regular sugar will cause your blood glucose levels to rise, and this will worsen your ailment. And if you’re following a low-carb diet, traditional sugar products such as refined sugar and table sugar are too high in carbs to be a suitable match.
The solution is to replace regular sugar with a sugar substitute that doesn’t have the same negative effects. Stevia sweetener is one such substitute. It’s low in carbs and won’t spike your blood sugar levels.
What is stevia all about? Let’s take a closer look at how stevia benefits your wellness journey.
In this article, we will:
- Explain what stevia is and where it comes from
- Discuss how stevia extract is made and what it’s made from
- Share insight regarding stevia’s calorie count
- Talk about stevia and diabetes
- Share insight on whether stevia is keto-friendly
- Let you know if stevia is an artificial sweetener or a natural sweetener
- Discuss key stevia benefits
- List common trade names for stevia
What is stevia?
Stevia is a sugar substitute, and it’s classed as a non-nutritive sweetener. It’s extracted from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant; this shrub is part of the sunflower family. There are over 100 different species of stevia plant, and all of them are indigenous to North and South America.
You may know stevia by its other names: candy leaf, sweet leaf and sugar leaf. These names testify to its incredible abilities as a sweetener.
So, what is stevia best known for? As you may have guessed, that would have to be its irresistible sweetness. Stevia benefits anyone who’s looking for a potent and effective sweetener. Pure stevia holds the distinction of being 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar. It gets its sweet taste from components called steviol glycosides.
This product is available as liquid stevia or stevia powder in grocery stores.
What is stevia made from, and how is it made?
Stevia benefits those seeking a sweetener that’s sweeter than sugar. We’ve mentioned that the stevia plant gets its natural sweetness from compounds called steviol glycosides. The list of glycosides includes:
- Dulcoside A
- Rebaudiosides A, C, D, E and F
Among these glycosides, stevioside and rebaudioside A are present in the highest amounts.
To create stevia sweetener, each steviol glycoside is separated from the plant’s leaves and purified.
To facilitate this process, the stevia leaves are first harvested and dried. Then a water extraction process is used to separate the glycosides. This leaves you with a product called crude stevia. Finally, the crude stevia is purified. This creates the purified stevia leaf extract that’s sold on store shelves.
The purification stage is important. Crude, unpurified stevia tastes bitter and has a noxious odor. Bleaching and decoloring are required to get rid of these unpleasant aspects. It can take as many as 40 steps to purify and perfect the final stevia product.
What is stevia good for if you’re counting calories?
If you’re seeking a low-calorie sweetener, stevia fits the bill. Stevia has zero calories. For this reason, stevia benefits those who are trying to monitor calorie intake to maintain or lose weight.
How is stevia able to provide so much sweetness with zero calories? It pulls this off because the steviol glycosides that are used in this sweetener aren’t absorbed in the body’s upper gastrointestinal tract. As a result of this, a stevia sweetener passes through the body without adding any calories.
In this way, stevia is similar to monk fruit sweetener, another low-calorie sugar substitute.
Is stevia good for diabetics?
Diabetics need to constantly monitor their diet to avoid raising their blood sugar levels. For this reason, regular sugar is bad for diabetics. Sugar causes blood glucose levels to rise, and this can create a dangerous situation if you have diabetes.
A stevia sweetener differs from sugar in its effect on blood glucose levels. Does stevia raise blood sugar? The answer to that question is no. Stevia provides sweetness without impacting your blood sugar.
So, is stevia good for diabetics? Because of the fact that it has zero impact on your blood sugar, stevia benefits those wrestling with diabetes. It’s a safe sweetener for diabetics to include in their eating plan.
Is stevia keto?
If you’re on a keto diet, you know that it’s essential to minimize your intake of carbohydrates.
So, what is stevia good for if you’re following a keto diet?
A stevia sweetener contains zero carbs. For this reason, stevia benefits a keto eating plan. It’s a great sweetener to use if you’re on a ketogenic diet.
Is stevia an artificial sweetener or a natural sweetener?
Some sugar substitutes are made entirely in a lab. Both aspartame and sucralose fall within this category. These sugar substitutes are typically called artificial sweeteners.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find natural sweeteners. These sweeteners are often made from ingredients found in nature.
So, what is stevia best described as: artificial or natural?
Stevia sweeteners come from a plant. Because it’s plant-derived and not engineered in a lab, some people consider stevia a natural sweetener.
Keep in mind, though, that even though stevia sweeteners are derived from natural sources, the end result is heavily processed. As we’ve mentioned, stevia must be extensively refined to create a product suitable for consumption.
Making the matter even more complicated is the fact that some stevia sweeteners contain ingredients that are broadly labeled as “natural flavors.” Ingredients that fall under this umbrella are often highly processed.
Stevia’s unique qualities make it a sweetener that is of special value to people with certain needs. Here are some ways in which stevia benefits health:
Stevia benefit #1: Safe for diabetics
Many of us are naturally drawn to sweet foods, but sweets can raise your blood sugar levels. This can be problematic if you’re a diabetic. If a diabetic’s blood sugar levels rise, it can bring on symptoms and worsen the disease.
Stevia benefits diabetics due to its effect on blood sugar. Unlike regular sugar, stevia won’t raise the body’s blood sugar levels after you consume it. For this reason, a stevia sweetener can be safely consumed by someone with diabetes.
Furthermore, some research suggests that stevia may have the effect of actually lowering insulin and glucose levels. In a 2010 study, stevia reduced the insulin and blood sugar levels of the participants.
Stevia benefit #2: Supports weight management by reducing calorie intake
If you want to lose weight, there’s a simple rule that you need to follow: You need to make sure that you’re burning more calories each day than you’re consuming.
Added sugar can increase the calorie count of the foods you consume. A teaspoon of sugar contains 20 calories. This can eventually have a big impact on calorie intake, especially when you consider how many foods contain added sugars.
So, what is stevia doing to support weight management? Stevia contains zero calories. If you use it as a sugar substitute, it can create notable reductions in your calorie intake over time.
Stevia benefits your efforts to cut calories. And by doing this, it can help you lose those extra pounds or maintain a healthy weight.
Stevia benefit #3: May prevent some types of cancer
Research indicates that stevia may help curb or prevent certain types of cancer.
A 2012 study looked at a glycoside called stevioside; this compound is found in stevia. The study showed that stevioside can help kill cancer cells in those suffering from breast cancer.
Stevia benefit #4: May lower harmful cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol is harmful and has been linked with heart disease. HDL cholesterol is different; it’s been linked with detoxification and supports good health.
Research shows that stevia benefits healthy cholesterol levels. In a 2009 study, stevia leaf powder lowered harmful LDL cholesterol. It also had the effect of increasing the level of health-supporting HDL cholesterol in the body.
What is stevia called in grocery stores?
On grocery store shelves, stevia goes by different trade names. You’ll need to know what these are if you wish to purchase stevia products. Here are a few:
- Stevia In The Raw
Some stevia sweeteners contain added ingredients. For example, stevia products are sometimes sold as a blend that includes erythritol, a sugar alcohol.
And some stevia sweeteners contain additives such as dextrose and maltodextrin. Both of these additives contain carbohydrates and can negate stevia’s low-carb benefits.
If you want to avoid a particular food additive, be sure to read a product’s label carefully and check each ingredient before purchasing.
Now that you know what it has to offer, what is stevia good for on your health journey? Find out firsthand how stevia benefits wellness. Purchase stevia powder or stevia liquid at your local grocery store, and take it for a test run.
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90,000 Sweetener: harm or benefit?
Sweeteners are becoming very popular. Avoiding beet and cane sugar has been promoted in the media, causing people to spend large sums of money on expensive supplements. For the first time, they started talking about sweeteners during the First World War, when natural products were in short supply. A little later, those wishing to maintain their own weight began to use it, to eat right.
A sugar substitute was an accidental invention of a Russian chemist.Fahlberg drew attention to the sweet taste of the bread during lunch. However, it differed in different varieties. It turned out that it was not the flour product that was sweet, but the chemist’s fingers. This is how sulfaminobenzoic acid was identified. A little later, a chemist synthesized saccharin from it.
The benefits of natural sweeteners
There are practically no contraindications to their use. Such substances can be used by people with diabetes. They contain few calories, so they can be used for those who want to maintain their weight.
The most popular are:
Fructose is allowed for diabetics: due to its high sweetness, it reduces sugar consumption (but it is also high in calories). Sorbitol is found in mountain ash and apricots: with its help, you can improve the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, keep useful substances in the body. Xylitol improves the condition of tooth enamel and speeds up metabolism. Stevia is a natural product that has no energy value and does not affect glucose levels.Due to their very sweet taste, they can satisfy the needs of those with a sweet tooth.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener extracted from corn. Contains 40% fewer calories than regular sugar.
Today, natural sugar substitutes are also actively promoted. One of their representatives is yacon syrup. The roots of the plant have a sweet taste. The main part of carbohydrates consists of inulin and oligosaccharides. The syrup has a low glycemic index, does not lead to an increase in blood sugar.The carbohydrates contained in it are slowly absorbed and serve as food for beneficial bacteria.
Agave syrup is popular in America. It is 90% fructose. It is made from fleshy leaves, from which sweet juice is extracted.
Harm of natural sweeteners
Most of them contain a lot of fructose. It has been proven that in large quantities it slows down the most important processes in the brain, negatively affects memory, information analysis.
Some types of sweeteners provoke cardiovascular diseases and lead to the accumulation of fats.When sweets enter the body, a signal is sent to the brain to be ready for a serving of fructose. A reaction begins in the liver, an appetite is played out. In addition, almost all of the above types at high doses can lead to gastrointestinal disorders.
Nutritionists note that a large amount of fructose leads to toxic hepatitis. Its complication is cirrhosis, carcinoma, liver failure. Some sweeteners, such as xylitol, cause allergic reactions.
The benefits of artificial sweeteners
The positive properties include the minimum amount of calories. It is this type that is recommended for use by people who are on a diet, but cannot give up sweets. Available in convenient pill or dragee form. One element is enough to make a cup of water sweet.
The only safe sugar substitutes are stevia (this is a natural product) and sucralose, which is 500 times sweeter than sugar, has no calories.It is often used by athletes, added to dietary food. But sucralose has the disadvantage of being expensive.
Harm of artificial substitutes
The harm from them is much more than good. Aspartame, for example, hundreds of times sweeter than sugar, is one of the most popular. Recent studies have proven the toxic properties of the substance. Long reception can become a provocateur:
- liver pathologies.
Taking the drug by patients suffering from overweight can lead to the opposite effect due to increased hunger.
Saccharin is added to many industrially manufactured foods. Together with sugar, it causes the rapid development of hyperglycemia. When used more than 5 mg per kilogram of weight, it has a pathogenic effect on the body. Some scientists are inclined to assume that saccharin is a prerequisite for the development of cancer.WHO says that this theory is not proven.
The disadvantages include:
- metal taste;
- the presence of carcinogens;
- the ability to cause exacerbation of gallstone disease.
If you can’t give up saccharin, you should eat it after a carbohydrate meal. This reduces the risk of harm to the body.
The latest popular artificial sweetener is cyclamate. It is a highly toxic substance that is prohibited for children and pregnant women.It causes complications in patients with diabetes mellitus. An increase in dosage and prolonged use of the substance becomes the cause of the development of oncological diseases.
The benefits and harms of sweeteners for weight loss
Many people switch to sugar substitutes when losing weight. However, artificial species can backfire. Modern types contain a large number of calories, this fact must be taken into account when choosing.
None of the known sugar substitutes contribute to a noticeable decrease in body weight.But such substances help to make it easier to endure the diet, to keep the patient with diabetes mellitus from breakdown.
An experiment was conducted in Germany in 1988: the subjects were given a glass of water with a dissolved sweetener to drink on an empty stomach. Sugar concentration was measured before and after drinking water. Scientists have found that blood sugar levels decrease, which confirms the effect of substances on the functioning of the pancreas, causing an acceleration of insulin synthesis.
The situation is even worse if artificial or natural substances to replace sugar are added to porridge.For example, oatmeal contains complex carbohydrates that do not slow down your weight loss. But when combined with a sweetener, the body reacts to the second substance. There is a substitution of complex carbohydrates with simple ones. There will be less harm if you use substitutes for tea or other drinks.
One feature of these products is the lack of glucose. The taste buds recognize the sweetness, but the cells are not getting the energy they want. This leads to a sharp disruption in the metabolism.The next time glucose is ingested, the body will “not believe” the sweet taste, it will process the substance into fat, which will lead to an increase in body weight.
Harm and benefits of sugar substitutes in diabetes
Malfunction of the thyroid gland is noted in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. An increase in the concentration of sugar in the blood leads to the appearance of various diseases and pathologies. To avoid this, it is recommended that you stick to a specific diet. It eliminates the consumption of food that provokes surges in glucose.
Sweeteners are used for a variety of flavors. Preference should be given to natural species. They are:
- are safe;
- provide perfect taste to products;
- mildly affect carbohydrate metabolism.
Saccharin is the first sugar substitute for diabetics. Since it has a metallic taste, it is combined with cyclamate. However, this combination results in an increase in blood glucose levels.
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are allowed fructose, but the daily dosage is no more than 50 g.Stevia is more beneficial because it allows you to lower sugar levels in the body and normalizes metabolic processes.
In the absence of concomitant diseases, permitted for use:
In some cases, sweeteners cannot be used in diabetes mellitus. The restriction applies if there are liver and kidney diseases, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, allergic manifestations, a predisposition to oncology.
Sweeteners during pregnancy
As in the above cases, artificial sweeteners should be completely abandoned during gestation. It is better to focus on sucrose, honey, fructose, dexatrose, corn sweetener. These substances are prohibited in the presence of pregnancy diabetes.
Acesulfame potassium can be consumed in small amounts. Some doctors also allow Aspartame. It can be found in syrups, jelly desserts and yoghurts.The substance is also safe when breastfeeding. Sucralose is also not banned. It is used in place of regular table sugar.
Cyclamate and saccharin will harm mother and baby. The first is prohibited for use because of the possibility of causing cancer, the second penetrates the placental barrier, causing irreparable harm to the fetus.
Many questions about stevia. Despite its natural origin, it has not received the approval of the medical community. Therefore, it is not recommended for use during gestation.
How to choose a sweetener so as not to harm the body?
In Russia, the use of sweeteners is not as popular as in other countries. You can buy them in almost any large stores and pharmacies. The easiest way to find an artificial look. Nutritionists say that it is worth giving preference to the products of those companies that specialize in dietary nutrition.
Many additives permitted in our country are prohibited in Europe and America. Before buying, you should study the lists, choose the variety that is considered safe in most states.You can use as much of a substitute as indicated on the package.
Thus, it is imperative to replace sugar with an additive if it is prescribed by the attending physician. If you wish, you can choose the right type, if you wish, give up sweets or lose weight through a diet. It is not recommended to make a replacement in the presence of thyroid or kidney disease without consulting a doctor.
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90,000 Everything You Need to Know About Carbohydrate Sweeteners
Like anything relatively new, sugar substitutes are suspicious.Is it safe to use a carbohydrate-free alternative to sugar, or is it better not to risk it? In this article, we have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about sweeteners.
Is the sweetener safe
At the moment, on the Russian market there are only those sugar substitutes, the safety of which has been confirmed by many years of research. It is important to remember that: everything is poison and everything is medicine – it’s a matter of dose. Therefore, you do not need to exceed the recommended daily intake of sweeteners.
Is it possible to use a sugar substitute for diabetics, children, pregnant women, on a low-carbohydrate diet
The use of a sugar substitute is indicated for those who want to reduce the calorie content of the diet, reduce the amount of carbohydrates consumed, and are afraid of an increase in blood sugar. Sweeteners based on stevia, erythritol, sucralose are natural and harmless and are not contraindicated for the above categories of people, provided that there is no food allergy or intolerance to the components.
Do sweeteners increase blood sugar levels
It depends on which ones.Fructose, xylitol, sorbitol increase, because, like ordinary sugar, they contain carbohydrates and need to be counted. But the article is not about them. Natural stevia, sucralose, erythritol – no. Artificial cyclamate, saccharinate, aspartame also do not have a sugar-increasing effect.
Can sweeteners be heated
Sweeteners made on the basis of sucralose, stevia, inulin, erythritol or lactulose are ideal for cooking dishes that require heat treatment.When heated, they do not lose their taste and do not emit carcinogens. You can safely use such sugar substitutes in baked goods, jams, compotes. It is not recommended to heat aspartame and cyclamate.
How to understand how much sugar substitute to add to a dish instead of sugar
Simple calculations and knowledge of higher mathematics you do not need! Take a look at the packaging: it always says how many times a particular substitute is sweeter than regular sugar. For example, melon sugar is 3 times sweeter than table sugar (that is, 10 grams of sweetener will replace 30 grams of sugar), FitParad # 10 is 10 times sweeter, like PrebioSvit substitutes.
Thus, modern sweeteners are an excellent replacement for the regular sugar , which is high in carbohydrates and calories and also has a high glycemic index. Do not exceed the recommended intake of sugar substitutes and enjoy the sweet taste of your favorite foods and drinks without harming your health and shape.
Info Field »Sweeteners and pregnancy
Currently, there are a huge number of sugar substitutes, all of them aimed at adding certain benefits to products: low price, lack of calories or low glycemic index, which is so important for people with diabetes.The use of such products, as a rule, does not cause complications. Despite this, during pregnancy, you need to think not only about your health, but also about the health of the baby, pay attention to how various supplements will affect him.
Naturally, no experiments were carried out on pregnant women. That is why we will analyze the question of replacing sugar from a theoretical point of view and understand what pitfalls await us on this road.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes, which is why, in case of pregnancy, consult your doctor who will help you find the safest sugar substitute.
Use of sweeteners during pregnancy
Sweetener (sweetener) is an ingredient that makes our products sweeter. There are two categories of sweeteners: high-calorie and intense (no calories).
High-calorie sweeteners (such as table sugar) contain empty calories. They add calories to the diet, but contain virtually no vitamins or minerals. When used in small amounts, they are considered safe to consume during pregnancy, provided they do not contribute to weight gain.
However, diabetes forces us to limit the sugar in the diet. Including during pregnancy.
Caloric sweeteners include sucrose , dextrose , honey , corn sugar , fructose and maltose .
Sugar alcohols (excluding erythritol ) are also nutritive sweeteners.They are often found in foods labeled as “sugar free.” These alcohols are technically not sugars, but they do have calories.
Basically sugar alcohols are: sorbitol , xylitol , isomalt and mannitol . With all of this, you need to be extremely careful, especially if you have diabetes.
Intense sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and are added to foods in small amounts that do not affect the total calorie content of foods.Most intense sweeteners are artificial, although natural ones exist. For example, stevia.
Due to their unique composition, intense sweeteners are not absorbed by our body, which allows them to have zero calories. Many experiments prove the safety of such sweeteners, but there are still controversies about this.
Despite the fact that due to moral standards, experiments on pregnant women are not carried out, scientists assure us of the safety of the following artificial sweeteners.
Rebaudioside A (stevia glycoside)
It is a new and common sweetener that is often used in soft drinks. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) considers stevia safe during pregnancy; This substitute has been rated GRAS (Completely Safe) by the FDA.
Important! Since stevia is a vegetable sweetener, it may cause allergies.
This sweetener is added to baked goods, frozen desserts, sugarless gelatins, puddings, and drinks. The FDA considers acesulfame potassium safe for moderate use during pregnancy.
Important! This sweetener can increase appetite and is therefore not recommended for overweight people.
Aspartame is often used as an additive to soft drinks, desserts, pudding mixes, breakfast cereals, chewing gum, dairy products, and other foods and medications.According to the FDA, drinking aspartame in moderation is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Important! For metabolic disorders, liver disease, or elevated phenylalanine levels, aspartame should be completely eliminated. One of the metabolic products of aspartame is the amino acid phenylalanine, therefore, aspartame is contraindicated in phenylketonuria.
Sucralose can be added to soft drinks, chewing gums, coffee, tea, pastries, butter, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and sweet sauces and syrups.
Sucralose does not raise blood sugar and contains no calories. According to the FDA, sucralose is safe for everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Important! Sucralose must not be heated above 120 ° C.
Artificial sweeteners NOT safe to use during pregnancy
Although it is not used as often today as in the past, it is still present in many foods, beverages, and other foods.The FDA considers saccharin to be safe for the general public. Studies that linked saccharin to an increased risk of bladder cancer were rejected by the National Toxicology Program.
But research shows that saccharin crosses the placenta and can remain in the tissues of the fetus, so its use in pregnant women is still questionable.
Cyclamate is currently banned for use in the United States.
A number of people in the intestines contain special bacteria that can metabolize sodium cyclamate to form substances that have a terratogenic effect on the fetus. The use of cyclamate is especially dangerous in the 1st trimester of pregnancy.
During pregnancy, it is best not to think about your figure and not to put the unborn child at risk, because, although the safety of some sugar substitutes has been scientifically proven, research is still underway. It is worth resorting to them only in cases where there are simply no other options, as is the case with diabetes.Before you start using this or that sugar substitute, you need to consult with your doctor, who will help you choose the right sweetener and tell you how much to consume.
Sweeteners. How to choose the best one? – Zira.uz
Many articles have been written about the dangers of sugar, and everyone who is interested in healthy eating asks the question, what can replace it? Answering this question, we talk about the most popular types of sugar substitutes – artificial and natural.
What are sweeteners?
All sweeteners and sweeteners other than fructose are food additives, not food. The main goal of sugar substitutes is to add a sweet taste to common dishes without sucrose. To give up sugar is not so easy in fact, as it seems, and for many it is given with great difficulty. But for those people for whom sugar is contraindicated for health reasons, or for those who are losing weight, sugar will still have to be abandoned.An excellent solution for the avid sweet tooth is to switch to sweeteners.
What sweeteners are there?
The variety of sweeteners is confusing, so we made it easy for you to find information about them and put everything on the shelves. Sweeteners are divided into two main types: artificial and natural.
Many people think it is not non-natural – it means harmful, but this is far from the case.Artificial sweeteners are thoroughly tested before they appear on supermarket shelves. This confirms their safety, but only if the consumption rate indicated on the packaging is observed. The most popular among artificial substitutes are:
Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar and is widely used in the manufacture of diet carbonated drinks. In taste, aspartame is much better than stevia and saccharin, as it lacks an unpleasant aftertaste.With no calorie load, aspartame is safe and beneficial for people with diabetes.
Cyclamate is 30 times sweeter than sugar. He has a very controversial reputation after a number of studies. Previously, it was widely used in cooking and was used for diabetes, but due to suspicions of the toxicity of the product, it was added to the list of prohibited foods in the United States. Despite this, cyclamate is still allowed in 55 countries around the world. Pregnant women and people with gastrointestinal problems are advised to completely abstain from this supplement in their food.
Saccharin is 450 times sweeter than sugar. It does not contain calories and has a light metallic taste, which is the reason why many people are not satisfied with it. Saccharin is considered the most readily available substitute on the market and the cheapest. The harm of saccharin has not been confirmed, and even if there are any articles, this is just a marketing ploy against the competitor with the lowest prices.
Sucralose 600 times sweeter than sugar, has a pure sugar taste.Despite the fact that sucralose has appeared on the shelves recently (about 20 years), all studies confirm its safety and the absence of side effects. The only drawback is that the substitute is quite expensive and not readily available.
Xylitol is only 1.2 times sweeter than sugar, and one and a half times in calories. It makes no sense to use this substitute, but it has found its application in the production of chewing gum. It is believed that acidity does not harm tooth enamel as much as regular sugar.One of the disadvantages of this substitute is possible digestive problems such as bloating and gas.
More “healthy”, but no less nutritious alternatives
Natural substitutes are most often equal in calories to regular sugar, but have a more gentle effect on carbohydrate metabolism. In composition, they are the safest alternatives. However, such supplements are not recommended for those trying to lose weight due to their high calorie content (other than stevia).The most famous among natural sweeteners:
Fructose is not inferior in calories to sugar. However, due to the fact that it is 1.7 times sweeter than sugar, it helps to reduce the calorie intake. Fructose is found in all fruits, honey, and some vegetables. Therefore, it is the safest sugar substitute and is allowed for use even by pregnant women. If you are trying to lose weight and substituting fructose for regular sugar, this is unlikely to lead you to the desired result.With the advent of zero calorie substitutes, fructose has lost its popularity significantly.
Sorbitol is a natural alternative to acidity and has exactly the same properties and disadvantages.
Stevia is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. Not everyone likes its taste because of its bitter and herbal aftertaste. Stevia is obtained from the leaves of the stevia plant, which is grown in the countries of South and Central America. In acceptable doses, stevia has a positive effect on the body: it helps to overcome sugar addiction, normalizes blood pressure and sugar levels.In addition, stevia contains no calories, which makes it a more suitable supplement for weight loss.
You can use sweeteners:
– suffering from obesity;
– fighting overweight;
– patients with diabetes mellitus.
It is undesirable to use sweeteners:
– pregnant or lactating breast milk;
– suffering from gastrointestinal diseases.
How to choose the best sweetener?
Each of the above substitutes is tested for safety, so you need to choose based on your preferences, means and taste. The main thing is to remember that you can consume a specific sugar substitute per day only in the amount indicated on the package. And not a gram more, otherwise it can lead to side effects.
Sweeteners for diabetics
The main rule of medical nutrition in case of a disease is to exclude natural sugar from the diet and replace it with a sugar substitute.Currently, there are many substitutes designed specifically for diabetics, which are not only diabetic, but also a dietary supplement to the diet. It should be noted that there are artificial and natural sugar substitutes that do not lead to an increase in blood glucose and normalize the metabolism in the human body. Such sweeteners have a pleasant sweet taste, which can be added not only to drinks, but also used during the preparation of a wide variety of dishes, since their quality and taste characteristics are not lost after heat treatment.
Natural sweeteners include substances that exist in nature or obtained from natural materials. The most popular natural sweeteners are sorbitol, xylitol, stevia, and fructose. When consumed in moderation, they do not lead to an increase in blood sugar, but they are high in calories and are characterized by energy value. They are absorbed by the body more slowly than natural sugar, therefore they do not lead to hyperglycemia. It is imperative to take into account the daily daily allowance, since exceeding it can cause disorders in the work of the gastrointestinal tract due to the laxative effect of some natural sweeteners.Natural ingredients are used to make specialized nutrition for diabetics, and in any store you can buy such products designed specifically for patients with diabetes mellitus. Artificial additives are obtained chemically, and the most common substances include aspartame, saccharin, cyclamate. They are several times sweeter than natural sugar, not high in calories, therefore, small doses of the substance are required to obtain a sweet taste. The advantages of artificial substitutes include zero calorie content and their complete elimination from the body, they have no energy value, so they do not affect the increase in blood glucose.Basically, such substances are produced in tablets, which is convenient to use.
For example, a Japanese company has a sugar substitute, Lakanto, which is specially formulated for diabetic nutrition. It is free from dyes, GMOs and preservatives, and has zero calories and glycemic index. For its production, an extract of a rare Chinese fruit is used, which has medicinal medicinal properties. The sugar substitute from the Japanese company has a quality certificate, therefore it is safe for diabetics.Stevia, an extract of which is obtained from its herb, can also be used to make a sugar substitute. It is much sweeter than natural sugar, so a minimum daily dosage is required. It is worth noting that stevia has no contraindications and other side effects, which is a powerful argument in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. The extract of this herb also lowers cholesterol levels, strengthens the immune system and helps to reduce glucose levels, and also slows down the aging process of the body.
As another sweetener, sucralose can be used, which is obtained after special processing of natural sugar. It contains no calories and is not carcinogenic or mutagenic. It is recommended for diabetic nutrition due to the fact that it is not absorbed by the body and is completely excreted without increasing blood sugar. The advantages of its use also include the normalization of metabolic and carbohydrate processes, which eliminates the negative impact on the overweight human body.High-quality and modern sugar substitutes for diabetics are an excellent and safe alternative to natural sugar, the use of which is prohibited in diabetes. Today, manufacturers of this supplement offer it in the form of tablets, powder or liquid in convenient packaging and with a dispenser, which is very convenient to use.
90,000 Sweeteners – truth and myths
- Author: LDC Neuron
- Published: 10 November 2015
Sugar – white death.Who does not know this saying that appeared in the last century. Since then, those wishing to lead a healthy lifestyle have tried their best to avoid sugar. The producers happily went to the meeting and began to produce products in which sugar was replaced by sweeteners. Everything would be fine, but recently more and more people began to doubt how safe these substances are for health. So sweeteners – are they safe?
What sweeteners are there?
For the first time artificial sugar substitutes appeared in the fifties of the last century.And they immediately caused a stir around them – they seemed to consist of some advantages. They could be many times sweeter than sugar and did not have to be used in the same amount as sugar. Accordingly, they were much cheaper, which manufacturers could not help but appreciate. Plus, they had no calories. And this for fans of a healthy lifestyle and diet lovers meant one thing – you can lose weight without difficulty.
In general, all the variety of substances that replace sugar can be divided into natural and unnatural.
Naturals are very few. These include xylitol, maltitol, fructose, sorbitol, isomalt, palatinitis. All these natural sweeteners are also not used in such tiny doses as artificial ones, but still they need 2 times less than sugar. There are natural sweeteners – stevia, licorice. They are extremely sweet and considered completely harmless.
Artificial substitutes can be hundreds and thousands of times sweeter than sugar.
The joy of the invention of such cheap and non-nutritive supplements began to give way to fears and disappointments.It turned out that everything is not as rosy as dreamed.
Sweeteners, like all other substitutes for natural products, have an unpleasant but – they increase the appetite. According to research by scientists, the human brain does not distinguish between the action of an artificial additive and natural sugar, and when a sweetener enters the body, it still starts a glucose processing program with the release of the hormones necessary in this case. Blood glucose rises in the same way as if regular sugar was eaten.Accordingly, the consumption of a large amount of sweetener leads to metabolic disorders, weight disorders and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes with a predisposition to diabetes. If there is no predisposition, then you should not calm down either – the appetite still grows with the use of products with artificial sweeteners. Therefore, using sweeteners as a sugar substitute in order to eat fewer calories is definitely not worth it.
Who invented the myth
Who invented the myth that sugar is the worst enemy of shape and health? Oddly enough, this myth originated at the same time or shortly after artificial substitutes for sugar appeared.Numerous studies proving that the sweetener aspartame is harmless and even beneficial, because it helps to avoid the use of terribly harmful sugar, were carried out for money and by order of the manufacturers of asparkame. Likewise, studies showing that sugar-free sodas with sweeteners are healthier and easier to lose weight have been conducted by soda makers using aspartame. I wonder how much you can trust these studies ?!
Believe it or not – independent experiments have shown that everything is wrong.
Harm of aspartame
The most common soda and cake additive was not as healthy as it was thought. Doctors have found that this substance disrupts calcium metabolism and interferes with the absorption of calcium and a number of essential amino acids. Bad teeth in children did not become the norm with the advent of sugar – it is aspartame that provides permanent work for dentists.
It also turned out that it can provoke seizures and disrupt the production of serotonin.Instead of being happy, soda can make you feel depressed. In fairness, I must say that for this you need to drink an incredible amount of carbonated water, which, of course, is impossible.
One of the main properties of aspartame, for which soda makers love it so much, is that it provokes thirst. However, you cannot drink carbonated water. Sales are growing, but hidden water shortages in the body remain.
In the USA and Europe, aspartame is considered a possible culprit in the development of brain tumors, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, mental retardation in children, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.It is forbidden to use it in baby food, as it can provoke allergic reactions. Meanwhile, many carbonated drinks produced in our country contain aspartame.
Another exact minus of aspartame is that at temperatures above + 30 degrees, it decomposes with the release of formaldehyde. And this is definitely poison.
Pros and cons of various sweeteners
Fructose is produced from berries and fruits and is also found in honey. It is sweeter than sugar, but does not raise blood sugar levels that much.Its advantage is that it does not affect the release of insulin in any way, which makes it indispensable for a healthy diet and for the nutrition of diabetics. Apologists for a healthy lifestyle, for example, Montignac, suggest that all sugar be replaced with fructose. Fructose is beneficial in that it provides energy, stabilizes blood sugar and reduces the risk of tooth decay by 40%. But it is high in calories.
Xylitol and sorbitol are also isolated from berries and are considered natural. They do not affect the sugar level. Their benefit is that they have choleretic properties, protect against caries, and are useful for the intestinal microflora.Sorbitol improves the absorption of B vitamins. However, if used excessively, they can provoke cholecystitis and indigestion.
Sugar syrups and isomaltose are natural sweeteners. They are absolutely harmless to the human body and are useful in diabetes mellitus. They, unlike other natural sweeteners, are low in calories.
Artificial sweeteners permitted in Russia – aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame, sucralose. They are much sweeter than sugar.Many sweeteners aren’t actually sweet at all – they just feel sweet because they trick the taste buds into sending an impulse to the brain about sweetness.
Saccharin is 400 times sweeter than sugar and therefore has been surprisingly popular since the beginning of the last century. But for many years now, it has been banned in a number of countries, including the United States and Europe. By the way, it was also banned in the USSR. Saccharin is considered a carcinogen that causes cancer. You cannot eat more than 11 tablets per day.
Cyclamate is 50 times sweeter than sugar and has also been known for a long time. In the United States, England and France, it was banned because there is a suspicion that it can cause kidney failure and cancer.
Acesulfame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is found in chewing gum, candy, cakes, ice cream, medicine. But it contains methyl ether, which negatively affects the cardiovascular system and provokes the development of heart failure. In the United States, it is considered a carcinogen.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar and is made directly from sugar.So far, all research recognizes that it is safe, as well as neotame and tagatose derived from lactose. Tagatose is even considered a probiotic that can colonize the intestines with beneficial microflora.
Sweeteners will always attract attention. Some of them are harmful, and some are completely harmless and even useful. In any case, when using sweeteners, one must remember the expression that everything is poison and everything is medicine. It’s just the dosage. And it is worth observing.
90,000 Erythritol is a carbohydrate-free sugar for diabetics that does not affect the glycemic index
You may not be aware of this.Why is it possible? The fact is that, in consultation with endocrinologists, not all of them were aware of this sugar substitute, so we will briefly tell you.
Faced with type 1 diabetes in private life, of course, there were some restrictions. In Russia, Stevia is mainly recommended from sugar substitutes. It is easy to find, it is kind of recognized as the best natural sweetener due to its smooth effect on sugar levels and is less calories.
Fructose is not recommended, because it is essentially not a sugar substitute, but one of the natural sugars.They urge you to be careful with maltitol, because it has a delayed effect. For example, a maltose-based chocolate bar will not give anything right away, then you eat another piece – and again nothing, and after 50 minutes it can cover …
But this is all lyrics. Besides, with the abundance of recommendations on sweeteners about erythritol in endocrinology, you do not hear so often. Or you don’t hear at all. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is sold in Russia in “crystalline form” – like ordinary sugar, and in the form of syrups, and as part of carbohydrate-free sweets.
It has been proven that neither diabetics nor healthy people have side effects and does not affect the glycemic index, in other words: it does not increase sugar. At the same time, it tastes quite sweet in its pure form without obvious aftertastes.
According to my feelings: there is something like a cooling effect if there are crystals with a spoon. The syrup contains no unpleasant sensations in the mouth, even a cooling effect. It behaves differently in carbohydrate-free sweets. For example, the carbohydrate-free meringues seemed to have a slight astringent effect.There was no such thing in the low-carbohydrate sweets “Korovka”.
Erythritol as a food additive (despite the fact that it is considered a non-food sweetener) is approved by the medical community of the European Union, approved by the FDA, however, they estimate its caloric value slightly differently: the FDA assigns 0.2 k / gram, the European Union – 0. Erythritol is considered not only as a safe sugar for diabetics, but also as a non-nutritive sugar in principle: for those who follow the figure, are engaged in fitness, etc.
It is also studied in dentistry, finding it effective than classical xylitol, sorbitol for cavity hygiene mouth.And in some other areas, including botany as a means of getting rid of some pests!
Foods known to me that contain erythritol and what was actually eaten, for example, are:
Brands I know: Exscess Free, Fit Parad.