How Natural & Artificial Sweeteners Affect Blood Sugar
I have wanted to write a post about sweeteners for a while now. Mainly because I get a little frustrated when reading or hearing outright incorrect claims about how some of the natural and artificial sweeteners affect your blood sugar. As a person with diabetes, I want to know exactly what will happen to my blood sugar when I eat or drink something, and I don’t take kindly to half-true marketing claims. I’ve decided to focus on how natural & artificial sweeteners impact blood sugar rather than on whether they are healthy or not, since I think that is somewhat out of my domain and because plenty of others have already covered that. What are natural & artificial sweeteners? FDA defines sweeteners as: “…commonly used as sugar substitutes or sugar alternatives because they are many times sweeter than sugar but contribute only a few or no calories when added to foods”. This means that regular sugar, honey, and Agave nectar/syrup don’t fall into the sweetener category. However, I do want to address these shortly before moving on to the real artificial sweeteners, since I’ve seen claims of how honey and agave won’t impact blood sugar in the same way as sugar. Honey and agave nectar Let’s start with honey because, let’s face it, it’s sugar in liquid form. It’s delicious, but an October 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when subjects were given honey, cane sugar, or high-fructose corn syrup, they saw no notable difference in blood sugar increase. As for agave, I think that the corporate marketing machine has been very clever when declaring this a health food, for as Dr. Jonny Bowden points out“..It’s basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as healthy food.” Agave nectar may have a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey, but Continue reading >>
Monk Fruit Vs. Stevia: Which Sweetener Should You Use?
Monk fruit is a small, green gourd that resembles a melon. Its grown in Southeast Asia. The fruit was first used by Buddhist monks in the 13th century, hence the fruits unusual name. Fresh monk fruit doesnt store well and isnt appealing. Monk fruit is usually dried and used to make medicinal teas. Monk fruit sweeteners are made from the fruits extract. They may be blended with dextrose or other ingredients to balance sweetness. Monk fruit extract is 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar. The extract contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, zero sodium, and zero fat. This makes it a popular sweetener alternative for manufacturers who make low-calorie products and for the consumers who eat them. In the United States, sweeteners made from monk fruit are classified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as generally recognized as safe, or GRAS. Sweeteners made with monk fruit dont impact blood sugar levels. With zero calories, monk fruit sweeteners are a good option for people watching their weight. Unlike some artificial sweeteners, theres no evidence to date showing that monk fruit has negative side effects. There are several other pros to monk fruit sweeteners: Theyre available in liquid, granule, and powder forms. Theyre safe for children, pregnant women, and breast-feeding women. According to a 2009 study , monk fruit gets its sweetness from antioxidant mogrosides. The study found monk fruit extract has the potential to be a low-glycemic natural sweetener. A 2013 study concluded mogrosides may help reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress may lead to disease. Although its unclear how specific monk fruit sweeteners come into play, the study shows monk fruits potential. Monk fruit is difficult to grow and expensive to import. Monk fruit sweeteners are harder t Continue reading >>
Is Stevia Healthy?
After last weeks article many of you asked about a natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners : stevia . It is widely used in the low carb community to satisfy sugar cravings or simply add a touch of sweetness to a hot beverage or dessert, but should it be? What is stevia? Is it safe? What is its effect on insulin, if any, and does it have a place in a Primal Blueprint eating strategy ? Lets investigate. Stevia is an herbaceous family of plants, 240 species strong, that grows in sub-tropical and tropical America (mostly South and Central, but some North). Stevia the sweetener refers to stevia rebaudiana, the plant and its leaves, which you can grow and use as or with tea (it was traditionally paired with yerba mate in South America) or, dried and powdered, as a sugar substitute that you sprinkle on. Its apparently quite easy to grow (according to the stevia seller who tries to get me to buy a plant or two whenever Im at the Santa Monica farmers market), and the raw leaf is very sweet. Most stevia youll come across isnt in its raw, unprocessed form, but in powdered or liquid extract form . The sweet lies in the steviol glycosides stevioside and rebaudioside which are isolated in these extracts. Some products use just one, while others use both stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside is the most prevalent glycoside in stevia, and some say it provides the bitter aftertaste that people sometimes complain about; rebaudioside is said to be the better tasting steviol glycoside, with far less bitterness. Most of the raw or natural stevia products use the full range of glycosides, but the more processed brands will most likely isolate one or more of the steviol glycosides. The popular Truvia brand of stevia products uses only rebaudioside, as do both PureVia and Enl Continue reading >>
Stevia In The Raw= Insulin Spike?
Hey bros, asking this because i have no idea how dextrose effects the body but i was looking at the ingredients on this brand of stevia and noticed it has two ingredients, stevia extract, and dextrose. I don't put this in anything for fear of an unecessary insulin spike but was just wondering if like 2-3 packets of this stuff would do this. I tried 100% fat free greek yogurt for the first time and it was like eating a small bowl of sour cream id like to put stevia and some fruit in it to make it taste better but again, don't know about the dextrose in it. Please don't make fun if I sound like an idiot because i don't know what dextrose is. I lift heavy and with purpose. I obtain all the knowledge i can about how to shape the vehicle God gave me, for through him i am strengthened. Which ones don't? IIRC, splenda, equal, sweet n low, truvia, and stevia all contain small amounts? As far as why I care, I was under the impression that spiking insulin was only really good like after your workouts so your body pushes more nutrients throughout your body. Doesn't doing it when you haven't worked out actually cause the body to store more food as adipose tissue? I lift heavy and with purpose. I obtain all the knowledge i can about how to shape the vehicle God gave me, for through him i am strengthened. Ok I have a question that I've been wondering about for a long time - I hope asking it here isn't too much of a hijack/derail... but here goes. About halfway through this video, Layne talks about people maintaining bodyweight on X amount of carbs. Says things like "one client could go up to 700 grams of carbs and lose weight, one client would get fat on 200 grams of carbs," etc. etc. But why is he talking about carbs here and not calories? Layne obviously knows about the importance Continue reading >>
5 Sugar Substitutes For Type 2 Diabetes
1 / 6 A Small Amount of Real Sugar Is Best, but Sugar Substitutes Can Help If you think that people with diabetes should always avoid sugar, think again — they can enjoy the sweet stuff, in moderation. "The best bet is to use a very minimal amount of real sugar as part of a balanced diabetic diet," says Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City. That being said, sugar substitutes offer sweetness while controlling carbohydrate intake and blood glucose. There are many sugar substitutes to choose from, but they’re not all calorie-free and they vary in terms of their impact on blood sugar. "The major difference between the sugar substitutes is whether they are nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners," says Melissa Mullins, MS, RD, a certified diabetes educator with Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Va. "Non-nutritive sweeteners provide no calories and no changes in blood glucose levels, which is perfect for people with diabetes.” Here are six sweet options to consider. Continue reading >>
Stevia Has Been Found To Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Stevia is an all-natural herb from South America that’s used as a healthier sweetener. Unlike refined sugar and other natural sweeteners, stevia does not raise blood sugar and does not contain any calories. (1) Pure stevia in its natural form also contains no chemicals or artificial ingredients like other artificial sweeteners. The leaves of the stevia plants are 200-300 times sweeter than sugar (depending on how it’s processed into a sweetener) and contain no sugar alcohols unlike other alternative sweeteners such as xylitol or erythritol. But is stevia all it’s cracked up to be? Apparently so, according to various research studies that shows the herb isn’t just incredibly useful for sweetening coffee and tea. It’s also pretty helpful for lowering your blood sugar levels. (1) How Stevia May Help Lower Your Blood Sugar A research study in Brazil found that after taking pure stevia extract every six hours for three days, individuals showed a remarkable reduction in blood glucose levels. (2) Another study detailed by Metabolism Journal showed that individuals who took stevia after a meal had 18% lower blood glucose levels than those consuming a sweetener from corn. The authors of the study states, “Stevioside reduces postprandial blood glucose levels in type-2 diabetic patients, indicating beneficial effects on the glucose metabolism.” (1,3) This is good news for those with diabetes looking for a better alternative than artificial sweeteners that contain harmful chemicals. Glucose intolerance is a risky health issue for anyone whether they have diabetes or not. It can lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, hypoglycemia, and/or diabetes. (4) The benefits of stevia for blood sugar come from the herb’s natural compounds known as steviosides. Stevia has even bee Continue reading >>
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The Top Four Sweeteners For A Low-carb Keto Diet
Sugar is basically off limits on a ketogenic diet, but not all hope is lost — you CAN still enjoy sweetness while eating keto. All it takes is some education on the right types of sweeteners to use. Read on to find the top four sweeteners you can use for a low-carb keto diet and why we recommend them. What Defines a Keto-Friendly Sweetener? First, let’s start with what each of these top keto sweeteners have in common and how they follow our guidelines: Low Glycemic The glycemic index (GI) refers to how much a food raises blood sugar. It runs from zero to 100, zero representing no raise in blood sugar and insulin levels. The goal with the ketogenic diet is to remain in ketosis, so staying as close as possible to zero GI for sweeteners is the best choice. Sugar Free Obviously, avoiding added sugars is a necessity on keto. We’re training the body to burn fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates; therefore, carb intake should be kept very low. Even fruit should be severely limited, preferably eliminated, so it makes sense that anything with added sugars are a no-go. Low Carb Another obvious guideline when you’re keto: low- or no-carb sweeteners are a must if you want to stay in ketosis. Top 4 Low-Carb Keto Diet Sweeteners Now that we’ve established some guidelines, here are our top four recommendations for sweeteners on a low-carb ketogenic diet: #1 Stevia Stevia is from the extract of the herb Stevia rebaudiana. In its pure form, stevia contains no calories, no carbs and is zero on the glycemic index. Additionally, It is typically 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, meaning you only need to use a little to get a sweet taste in foods. Benefits and Using Stevia: Besides not affecting blood sugar or contributing carbs or calories, stevia has also been shown to actu Continue reading >>
Can Stevia Hurt Insulin Sensitivity And Lead To Weight Gain?
One staple in natural, sugar-free baking is stevia, a South American herb used as an alternative to refined sugar. Since stevia extract is free from carbohydrates, it does not raise blood sugar levels (or calories, unless fillers are added, like dextrose or maltodextrin). Stevia does, however, raise insulin levels according to some research, which can be both good and bad. A reason why I stay away from sugar is because it raises both blood sugar and insulin. Over time, spikes in blood sugar can cause chronic inflammation, a key contributor to aging, cancer, and even metabolic syndrome. High blood sugar and insulin levels also cause insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes. While our cells prefer glucose as a prime energy source, if cell receptors are not–well, receptive–to insulin, the glucose just floats around and causes damage. Can Stevia Lead to Diabetes and Weight Gain? It seems that our bodies have a knack for responding to any sweet taste by secreting insulin. Whether the sweet taste be from pure sugar, artificial sweeteners, or natural sweeteners like stevia, the body provides similar insulin responses. This happens when a receptor on our tongue, namely T1R3, is stimulated by a sweet taste (natural or artificial), which then stimulates insulin to bring the “proposed” glucose into the cells. But if there is no measurable rise in blood glucose, like after drinking a tea sweetened with steviaor artificial sweetener, the insulin will store any excess sugar in the body as fat. This may be a reason why diet sodas have been linked to weight gain. It is proposed that our ancestors, when confronted with a carbohydrate source like berries or fruits, would consume them quickly and sometimes in one sitting because they didn’t come across these carbohydrate sources o Continue reading >>
Does Stevia Affect Blood Sugar?
Using stevia to sweeten your foods and beverages can save you a lot of calories, since this sweetener, made from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, is 250 times sweeter than sugar and contains almost no calories. However, some types of stevia preparations may affect your blood sugar levels differently than others. Types of Stevia Preparations The most studied compounds from the stevia plant are rebaudioside A and stevioside. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only the stevia products made from purified rebaudioside A, not the stevia products made from whole stevia leaves or crude stevia extracts, since it has concerns about how these products will affect your heart, reproductive system, kidneys and blood sugar levels. Effect on Blood Sugar Stevia won't raise your blood sugar levels, and some forms of this sweetener may actually lower blood sugar levels. A study published in Planta Medica in 2005 found that there was a dose-dependent effect of stevioside on blood sugar levels, with stevioside lowering blood glucose levels and decreasing insulin resistance in rats with diabetes. However, this research is preliminary, and the FDA-approved forms of stevia for use in food don't contain stevioside, so most of the stevia products you can buy in the baking section in grocery stores won't have this effect on your blood sugar levels. Compared to Other Sweeteners A study published in Appetite in August 2010 compared the effects of preloads before meals containing stevia in the form of stevioside with those containing aspartame or table sugar. During the day, participants who had the stevia and aspartame preloads didn't eat any more or less than the participants who consumed a table sugar-based preload, although they did consume slightly fewer calories since stevia and as Continue reading >>
Nasty Surprise: Stevia In The Raw
Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please,join our community todayto contribute and support the site. This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies. After doing well for months and getting my BGs better and better I got a nasty surprise today. Around 1 1/2 hrs after breakfast I had a reading of 162! :eek: and this is after I started the day with FBG of 96! What went wrong? First I just couldnt understand it as I eat basically the same thing every day. But then I remembered what was different today. You see, I always liked strong coffee with lots of sugar to balance the bitterness, but since my diagnoses I proceeded with the caution and was drinking it either without any sweeteners or with Truvia (1-2 packets) and was OK BG wise but meh and blah taste wise. So I am still on a lookout for other sweeteners as Truvia is on expensive side and I was hoping to find something maybe cheaper and closer to sugar by taste. And I bought this Stevia in the Raw in the GNC store and so far used one packet at the time (I didnt care for the taste much, but it wasnt too bad either) and it seemed to be OK with my BG and while I probably wouldnt buy it anymore, but its here already, so cheapskate me got to use it! Today I decided to up my sweets in my coffee I figured why not? If there is nothing to spike me, why not make my coffee more enjoyable? So I put in 2 Truvias and 2 "Stevias in the Raw" and my coffee tasted very nice...... you know the rest. :thumpdown So Im reading the label and it says; Ingredients: Dextrose, Stevia Extract. Total Carbohydrate less than 1 gr (hmmm.) EACH SERVING CONTAINS LESS THAN 4 CALORIES WHICH THE FDA CONSIDERS DIETETICALLY ZERO. (Capital letters are original). Suitable for people with diabetes. Really? My guess would be that l Continue reading >>
Safe Natural Sweeteners
Cant live without some sweetness? Not to fear! You can have sweeteners, but there are some cautions even with safe natural sweeteners. Lets illustrate the pros and cons, including GMO concerns, of Stevia, Xylitol, and Lakanto, the safest natural sweeteners. Are natural zero and low calorie sweeteners good for you? They are certainly better for you than regular sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or any other kind of sugar. Hormonally, they have less of an impact, meaning they cause a lower response of your blood sugar. Whenever your blood sugar rises, your insulin does as well, even though it rises less with artificial sweeteners. Insulin is the hormone that instructs your body to store fat and not burn fat for fuel. Most think that because natural sweeteners have little or no calories that they dont make us fat. Wrong! This lowered blood sugar may be the root of the reason why you are likely to eat more when you use natural sweeteners: lowered blood sugar means you feel hungry. This can result inyou consuming morecalories. You cant trick the body! Any sweet taste will signal your body that calories are on the way and trigger a cascade of hormonal and metabolic responses to get ready for those calories. When your tongue tastes anything sweet, caloric or not, your body releases insulin in anticipation of what it thinks is sugar. It must prepare for this potentially life-threatening event (high blood sugar is an emergency). Sadly, you cannot escape this phenomenon with Stevia, Xylitol, or Lakanto, but they are far healthier for you than sugar. Just use them in moderation. If your goal is to get off sugar completely, you may want to skip the natural sweeteners, even the safe ones, altogether. The problem with these sweet substances is that they are still training your tastes Continue reading >>
Effects Of Stevia, Aspartame, And Sucrose On Food Intake, Satiety, And Postprandial Glucose And Insulin Levels
Go to: The twin epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes continue to increase in industrialized nations. Approximately two thirds of adult Americans are currently overweight or obese and therefore at increased risk for a number of deleterious health conditions including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (Roth, Qiang, Marban, Redelt, & Lowell, 2004). Although there is not specific evidence that sucrose, a disaccharide that consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose, consumption affects the development of diabetes (Laville & Nazare, 2009), diets consisting of high amounts of sucrose have been found to cause weight gain (Raben, Vasilaras, Moller, & Astrup, 2002) and to have adverse effects on glucose tolerance in healthy volunteers (Cohen, Teitelbaum, Balogh, & Groen, 1966). Overconsumption of fructose has also been found to cause dyslipidemia and ectopic lipid deposition in healthy subjects with and without a family history of type 2 diabetes (Le et al., 2009), as well as increase visceral adiposity and decrease insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals (Stanhope et al., 2009). In animal models, high glycemic diets and high consumption of the natural sugar fructose have been shown to induce a number of metabolic complications including hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance (Barros et al., 2007). Moreover, recent human studies demonstrate that fructose infusions can induce hepatic insulin resistance (Wei, Wang, Topczewski, & Pagliassotti, 2007). The consumption of added sugars in the United States has increased by almost 20% over the past few decades with current consumption estimated to be 142 lbs per person per year (Wells & Buzby, 2008). Consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages can significantly influence the glycemic Continue reading >>
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Does Stevia Raise Blood Sugar?
As you look for safe sugar alternatives, you may be asking yourself, does stevia raise blood sugar? The short answer is No. Stevia does not raise blood sugar, it actually lowers it. Interesting, isn’t it? In addition, using Stevia to sweeten your foods and drinks can save you a lot of calories and help with weight loss since Stevia has almost no calories. Stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar, so not much is needed. Stevia is also non-artificial since it is made from a small plant and has been in use around the world for a very long time. Does Stevia Raise Blood Sugar? Stevia will not raise your blood sugar levels and may actually lower your blood sugar level as a 2010 study published in Appetite (1) has shown. That means you can enjoy sweet tasting foods and drinks and actually IMPROVE your blood sugar level and lose weight, as long as you use Stevia as a sweetener. Stevia even seems to have some potential in the treatment of diabetes as per a 2005 study published in Plant Medica (2). How Does Stevia Compare To Other Sweeteners? Stevia has been around for a long time. Stevia is a non-artificial natural product made from a little green plant from South America that has been used there as a sweetener for 1000+ years. Stevia has been used as a commercial sweetener in Japan since the 1970s and it now accounts for 40% of the sweetener market in Japan (3). In the US Stevia has become increasingly popular over the last 15 years. Stevia, being a natural plant, is not an artificial sweetener like Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda), Acesulfame K (Sunette, Sweet One), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin) or Xylitol. The 2010 study published in Appetite (4) also compared Stevia with Aspartame. While both lowered blood sugar levels, only Stevia also lowered the Continue reading >>
Stevia: Too Good To Be True?
This popular “natural” sweetener appears less problematic than its artificial counterparts, but it could still have health consequences of its own. At night, when the CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies, like Cargill, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, drift off to sleep, their dreams may well be sweetened by stevia. Long considered “the holy grail of sweeteners,” this calorie-free sugar substitute is derived from a plant — which means food companies can market it with the word “natural” and appeal to dieters, diabetics and health-minded folks around the globe. Unlike some artificial sweeteners, stevia can be used in both liquids and baked goods, meaning it is easy to add to processed foods. Which is why, ever since the FDA loosened restrictions on stevia in 2008, Big Food started sprinkling the white powder into everything from vitamin water to ice cream to bread. From 2010 to 2011 alone, the number of stevia-sweetened foods and beverages on supermarket shelves multiplied ninefold. “Stevia is a win-win,” says Kristi Michele Crowe, PhD, RD, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama and a spokesperson for the Institute of Food Technologists, a consortium of researchers with an interest in food science. “It gives industry a one-size-fits-all sugar substitute, and it meets the low-calorie needs of the consumer.” Yet many integrative physicians and nutritionists are skeptical of the food industry’s heavy promotion of stevia as a natural and healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. Stevia-derived products like Truvia might be a better choice than Splenda and Equal, such experts say, but they are still highly processed additives that, gram for gram, can be 300 times sweeter than table sugar. Some health experts are worried Continue reading >>
Stevia sweeteners are based upon extracts from the leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant, and was approved for sale in the EU in 2012. Until 2012, stevia had not been approved for sale in the EU and its availability had been eagerly anticipated by people with diabetes looking to have a naturally derived low calorie sweetener. Stevia’s sweetening effect Steviol glycosides, the compounds which give stevia its sweet taste, have a level of sweetness graded at 250-300 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose). Steviol glycosides, whilst sweet, can have a bitter aftertaste when stevia is consumed in its purest form.  Stevia and effect on blood sugar levels Using pure stevia preparations in relatively small amounts should have no significant effect on blood glucose levels. A research study from Brazil, published in 1986, showed that taking stevia preparations at 6 hour intervals over 3 days helped to significantly improve glucose tolerance. The study will be welcome news for people with diabetes, particularly those with insulin resistance, although it should be noted that the study was small, with 16 participants in the study. Stevia based sweeteners that are blended with other sweetening ingredients may have blood glucose raising properties, depending on what they are blended with and in what proportion. Refer to the packaging or contact the manufacturer if you have questions about how the product may affect your blood glucose levels. Stevia extracts are free from calories so can be beneficial for weight loss if used as an alternative to sugar. Why are some stevia products blended with other sweeteners? As stevia extracts can have a bitter aftertaste, a number of commercially available stevia based sweeteners blend in other sweeteners to improve the taste. Stevia sweeteners ma Continue reading >>