Monday, September 21, 2009

Sugar Substitutes

Part of my problem with dieting is I crave the sweet stuff. I am a sugar addict.

I like colas. I like sweet foods. Cakes, pies, cookies, chocolate. I try very hard not to eat them and behave myself and act like an adult but, raised as I was with no dietary guidance, it is sometimes difficult to know what is the correct choice. Generally speaking, not eating it is the correct choice, but it is not the choice I like.

What I crave is sucrose, apparently. White table sugar. Yum, yum. According to Wikipedia, there are lots of different kinds of sugars. White refined sugar is probably the worst, but I imagine all of it is suspect.

I do not drink diet drinks because of aspartame. Here is a pro-aspartame website. It will tell you how safe it is.

I lately have been chewing sugar free gum with it in it, though, something I need to stop doing.

Here is a website that tells you how terrible this drug is. It lists 92 different problems that aspartame can cause, including MS, lupus, cancer, vision problems, and death.

Personally, I think this is a loathsome chemical, foisted on the public, oddly enough, by Donald Rumsfield (check this FDA site for some interesting comments about this). Call me a biased liberal, but I feel sure that anything Rumsfield had a hand in simply cannot be good for me.

The 'net is full of reports about asparatame and the illnesses is reportedly causes. Just type it in.

I know when I drink a soft drink with aspartame, it makes me lightheaded and I feel funny. It makes my limbs tingle after I've been drinking it for any period of time, kind of a neuropathy, or something. So I don't drink diet drinks. (I don't notice the same effect from chewing gum, however.)

The government says aspartame does no harm. Since I tend to believe little the government tells me, I guess you can figure what I think about this. I think the stuff is poison.

Excuse me while I throw out my gum since I seem to have forgotten this until now.

Then there is saccharin. This sweetener drug has been around well over 100 years but it is supposed to cause cancer. I don't like the aftertaste and don't use that, either.

Saccharin is only on the market because in 1977 Congress overrode the FDA and forced it to approve it. Check it out at this FDA website. Trust those folks on Capital Hill, yes?

I have tried fructose, and found it wanting. This is also found in most foods as high fructose corn syrup, although Wikipedia is quick to point out there are differences between fructose and high fructose corn syrup.

Splenda is sucralose, and it leaves a taste like chlorine in my mouth. I couldn't figure this out until I looked up stuff about it, and discovered it is sugar turned into a chemical that is, guess what, chlorine. Go to http://splenda.com for the corporate smiley site about it if you want the Disney spiel.

This sweetener also supposedly causes thymus problems and possibly cancer and other problems. It has become quite popular at a very alarming rate. At least it is alarming to me.

There are books about the toxicity of sucralose, and many websites. Just type it in a search engine and be amazed.

I once tried Stevia and it sent shivers all through my body. I have hesitated to try it again. However, of all sweeteners (other than white table sugar), this is the one that I think is the best to use.

Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than sugar. It supposedly has been used for 1000 years in Paraguay. The FDA cracked down on it in 1995, supposedly at the behest of the sugar industry, and Monsanto (Monsanto is a giant food company that apparently exists to make money from foods, regardless of the potential for poison, for anyone who doesn't know that, which I suspect is many Americans).

Stevia is now widely available in the U.S. Information on side effects is conflicting and it depends on who sponsored the research, of course. Research by the aspartame companies shows it is bad; stevia sellers say it is good. I would not use Truvia, which is a sweetener derivative of stevia.

One notation found that stevia makes your body process sugar a lot quicker. At http://sweetleaf.com there is some information, but it is a corporate site and doesn't say much. It does say there have been 1000 tests and it's found to be safe.

Japan apparently has banned most sweeteners except for stevia and sugar.

Craving sweets has been time consuming for me while I try to look all this up. Mostly what I found on things other than stevia is very alarming. I hope it makes others think, too, because indeed these are chemicals. Why should we add chemicals to our bodies?

10 comments:

  1. Aspartame and sucralose are so gross tasting. I'd rather just stick to plain old sugar....I've never liked Splenda(sucralose) because i can taste the difference and knew it was bad from the start. And people just eat it up! Did you know it turns to formaldehyde when it reaches a certain temperature, which happens when it's in your body?

    Yea, i sure want to eat that.....

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  2. Wouldn't it be nice to have a government that actually represented the people, that is the huge majority of the people who all have a vote, but who don't seem able to elect representatives who don't in practice represent the employers, the manufacturers and the corporations.

    By the way, Monsanto's ambition is to control food much more completely than it already does. It is a huge promoter of GM foods - it wants to make people grow only the stuff it owns, and only under license from - Monsanto. It wants to own every scrap of food on your plate, every thread in the clothes on your back, entire third world countries. Now that means a lot of profit.

    It is rather good at shutting up criticism, by the way.

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  3. Better to eat real sugar, real butter...real in moderation than chemicals. I do indulge in Diet Coke some, but otherwise not much going in me.

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  4. Aspartame gives me horrible back-of-the-head headaches. (Years ago, I was washing down my headache medicine with Diet Coke and wondering why the medicine didn't work.)

    Splenda, I've discovered thanks to my trusty glucometer, raises my blood sugar as much as real sugar does. My family practitioner said she's had other patients make the same claim.

    I just try to avoid sweeteners in general.

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  5. Such a sad state we are in? No..... it's all about choices, reading lables, growing and or cooking your own foods. Just stay away from the crap, it's as simple as that. Not saying I grow my own foods, but I certainly have that option now, dont' I? As for diet food and drinks.... never touch them, the taste alone says there's something 'not right' about them.

    Di

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  6. Di - do you really think that if it were only about "just saying no" that there would be an obesity problem in this country?

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  7. I won't even let my kids eat anything that has artificial sweeteners in it. I'm really upset with what I've been hearing about the government wanting to put a tax on soft drinks that has sugar in them yet not on diet drinks. First off that's not going to stop people from becoming "obese" just as all those taxes on cigarettes didn't stop people from smoking. It's just another excuse for the government to levy more taxes and do the parent's job. I'll tell my kids when they've had enough Pepsi! Let them give their kids those crappy, cancer-causing sugar substitutes is they want...I won't be. In fact my son had a diet orange soda at his friend's house yesterday, and it made him sick to his stomach.

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  8. Sweets? Did you say sweets? Lol! I can't stay away from them either (a little obvious from my blog). But, I do have a friend who is a nutritionist and she said something that makes perfect sense- eat anything that is natually grown or has a natural source and ignore everything else. That is, if it isn't grown and/or made by God, don't eat it. This includes sugar and butter. Much better for your body to digest than fake food and you don't have to worry about what it'll do to your body. Great advice!

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  9. I finally found some aspartame free gum in the old time Floyd Country Store. Their gum is old time and has sugar in it but it isn't as good and doesn't last long. I used to use trident with Xylotol but now even that has aspartame too!

    If I eat right with a enough fat and protein I don't crave more than a few bites of sweet.

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  10. Stevia is referred to as the "holy grail" of sweeteners, and let tell ya' it really is! Someone said if it doesn't come from God, eat it. Well, stevia came from God. It is not an artificial sweetener, it is a natural sweetener. It has been used in South America for centuries and is now being used freely, in various products, in several other countries around the world for decades. Amidst all this there has never been one report of negative side effects! Ever. The truth is, the health benefits of stevia are well-documented. SweetLeaf stevia has 0 calories, 0carbs, and 0 glycemic index, which means it is perfectly safe for diabetics. It also nourishes the pancreas and balances blood sugar levels. It can decrease the desire for sweets a well. However, anyone who tries stevia for the first time should know that there are many different brands and they are not equal, nor do they all taste the same. The taste depends on how much it differs from the natural state of the plant. It depends on how it is extracted from the leaves. Most brands use chemicals like ethanol and methanol during extraction, which changes the natural sweet taste of the leaf for the worse. SweetLeaf uses only pure water in their extraction process, so the desirable taste of the stevia remains without the after taste!

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