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What Are The Side Effects Of Aspartame, Stevia, And Other Sugar Substitutes?

What Are The Side Effects Of Aspartame, Stevia, And Other Sugar Substitutes?

One quick update: Two weeks ago I was interviewed by the great folks at A Sweet Life. Their site is a great resource, especially for folks with diabetes, but really for everyone (I had the most incredible appetizer on their recommendation this past Sunday). Here’s a link to the interview. Ok, on to the issue of the week. Once you realize how harmful sugar is (by sugar, of course, I mean sucrose and high fructose corn syrup or HFCS, primarily, but also the whole cast of characters out there like cane sugar, beet sugar, dextrose, corn syrup solids, and others that masquerade as sugar), you inevitably want to understand the impact of substituting non-sugar sweeteners for sugar, should you still desire a sweet taste. If you’re not yet convinced sugar is a toxin, it’s probably worth checking out my post, Sugar 101, and the accompanying lecture by Dr. Lustig. Sugar is, tragically, more prevalent in our diets today than we realize – our intake of sugar today is about 400% of what it was in 1970. And it’s not just in the “obvious” places, like candy bars and soda drinks, where sugar is showing up, either. It’s in salad dressings, pasta sauces, cereals, “healthy” sports bars and drinks, low-fat “healthy” yogurt, and most lunch meats, just to name a few places sugar sneaks into our diet. I know some people have an aversion to aspartame (i.e., Nutrasweet, Equal) over sucrose (i.e., table sugar, sucrose, or HFCS). In other words they think Coke is “better” that Diet Coke because it uses “real” sugar instead of “fake” sugar. If you find yourself in this camp, but you’re now realizing “real” sugar is a toxin, this poses a bit of a dilemma. There are two things I think about when considering the switch from sugar to non-sugar substitute sweete Continue reading >>

Complete Guide To Sweeteners On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

Complete Guide To Sweeteners On A Low-carb Ketogenic Diet

Most people on low-carb find that once they get used to the diet, the cravings for sugar go away. Many even claim not to use any sweeteners at all. However, you may find it hard to give up sweets, especially at the beginning. I've been researching for natural low-carb sweeteners as well as other healthy alternatives to sugar. As always, there are many sweeteners you should avoid. I personally avoid using sweeteners regularly and only use them for occasional treats. In fact, most of my recipes in KetoDiet, KetoDiet Basic and my new cookbook don't include any sweeteners at all. If your target is weight loss, sweeteners may impair your progress, as even so-called "zero-carb" sweeteners may cause cravings. If your weight is stalling, avoiding sweeteners or joining my 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge is a good way to break the weight loss plateau. You can download a print-friendly version of this guide here! Best Natural Low-carb Sweeteners Following is an overview of healthy sweeteners you could use provided your net carbs limit allows for it. People with very low net carbs limit should avoid using anything other than "zero-carb" sweeteners, like Stevia, Monk fruit sweetener or Erythritol. 1. Stevia Stevia is an herb, which is commonly known as "sugar leaf". The extract from this herb is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. Based on the USDA database, Stevia belongs to a group of non-nutritive sweeteners. This means there are no calories, vitamins or any other nutrients. The availability of Stevia can vary from country to country. Nowadays, it is commonly used in the US and was approved for use in the EU in 2011. The health effects of Stevia have been questioned for the past few decades. However, based on recent studies of the WHO (World Health Organization), Stevia extra Continue reading >>

Sugar Free Chocolate Recipe Made With Stevia

Sugar Free Chocolate Recipe Made With Stevia

This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. We may earn money from purchases made through links mentioned in this post, but all opinions are our own. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliates sites. A sugar free chocolate recipe made with stevia. It contains no added sugar alcohol. It uses natural sweeteners along with cocoa butter and unsweetened cocoa. Although I have another recipe for homemade low carb chocolate bars made with stevia that I’ve used for several years, this new recipe has about the same net carbs. But is also has much more fiber. I omitted the need for an unsweetened chocolate bar and used unsweetened cocoa with additional cocoa butter instead. And, this new sugar free chocolate recipe with stevia has no added sugar alcohol. There are some folks who are sensitive to all sugar alcohols, including erythritol, so it’s nice to have some options for them. I find that stevia by itself does not taste as good as when it is mixed with another low carb sweetener. That’s why most stevia sold is blended with the sugar alcohol erythritol. Stevia is also much easier to measure and use as a sugar replacement when bulked up with another sweetener like erythritol. However, I find that erythritol often forms insoluble crystals in chocolate that can make a chocolate bar texture crunchy when it should be smooth and silky. My new sweetener of choice to blend with stevia for my sugar free chocolate recipe is VitaFiber powder or inulin. Neither of these will form crystals like erythritol so the chocolate remains smooth as it should be. I discovered VitaFiber while reading the Low Carb Friends Forum and decided to Continue reading >>

The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Sweeteners

The Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Sweeteners

This is my ultimate guide to low carb sweeteners. Which ones I use, and which ones I don’t. I’ll explain how to use each one and what to look for when you buy them because not all low carb sweeteners are created equally. It can be incredibly confusing when you are just starting to live sugar free. Part of the ethos of living sugar free and low carb is to give up the sweet treats on a regular basis and to reset our taste buds. But being able to make a sweet treat occasionally is a deal breaker for many of you contemplating even starting. If you do want a cake, a dessert or a sweet treat, it is better to have a few good sugar free recipes on hand than to reach for a high carb snack. With so many sweeteners now on the market, which do you choose? Always read each and every label carefully, because even sweeteners within the same brand can contain different ingredients or different bulking agents such as dextrose. It may take some time to readjust your taste buds to living sugar free, and is it any wonder? Sugar is now found in 80% of products on our supermarket shelves. What is astounding is the type of foods that have added sugar. You might expect it to be in desserts and cereals but tuna? Soup? Bacon? There are also several different types of names for sugar which just makes it even more confusing when you’re trying to understand reading food labels. When I write my recipes I will always state the amount of low carb sweeteners I have used to make the recipe but I also add “sweetener of choice, to taste”. This is the biggest variable when it comes to low carb baking. We are all on different parts of our sugar free journey, so what might taste sweet to me, might not be nearly sweet enough for you. Always add low carb sweeteners in the minimum amount that suits yo Continue reading >>

Keto Carb Free Whipped Cream

Keto Carb Free Whipped Cream

~ This post contains affiliate links to help you find the products we use. Carb free whipped cream is a go-to snack for me, and when I first started keto, it was one of the recipes that helped me beat sugar cravings. If you are looking for a great heavy whipping cream, I highly recommend using Organic Valley because it is the only zero carbs heavy whipping cream I have found. I’m sure there may be others, but like I said it’s the only brand I’ve been able to find. This carb free whipped cream couldn’t be easier to make, and it has been the base of many other recipes I will share soon. I also love using it as a topping for my mug cakes and keto pumpkin cheesecake. I usually make a big batch so I can use my whipped cream in a variety of ways without having to wash my mixing bowl multiple times (what can I say, I try to keep it simple) but you can always cut this recipe down and make single servings. This recipe makes about 20 servings, which is perfect for holiday parties. You do take keto recipes to holiday parties, right? PLEASE READ: —> Update: There is a lot of debate about whether of not this is actually carb free whipped cream. Yes, Organic Valley in large enough amounts is going to have carbs, but this brand does appear to have fewer carbs than other brands unless they have figured out a way to skew their label. With that said, yes if you eat this entire batch you are going to be eating carbs there is no way around that. If you only eat one serving you will be good to go but if you eat more half the whipped cream well… why would you do that? Whipped cream isn’t a meal, is it? Come on people! Are we babies. I mean seriously?!?! Carb Free Whipped Cream: Ingredients: 2 Cups of Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream 2-4 Tsp of Liquid Stevia or 1-2 itty bitty Continue reading >>

The Truth About Keto Sweeteners

The Truth About Keto Sweeteners

Sweet tooth fairy paid you an unexpected visit while on the keto diet? I’ve got you covered. Ditch the antagonistic artificial sweeteners for some kind, keto-friendly alternatives. A sweet briefing on a handful of healthy hacks so you can kick those harmful sweeteners to the curb. While a surprising percentage of sugar cravings can be overcome by simply being on the ketogenic diet, we all get the occasional hankering for something that’ll pack a more substantial sweet punch. And that’s okay. You know, to be human, with a tongue and a brain. The key is to satisfy these natural desires with sweeteners that won’t damage your body while also keeping you keto. If you’re still using the old, questionable keto sweeteners, you’re missing out on some wonderful alternatives that are not only safe, but actually beneficial to your overall health on a keto diet. “Wait, you’re telling me I can be both happy and healthy on a keto diet?” You betcha! If you’ve got a craving for something sweet that won’t break the keto bank or wreck your body, this video will bring the basics for a few safe, healthful, and keto alternatives. For video transcript PDF, scroll down. Your Mini Guide & Transcript A 5-10 page PDF with the transcript for this video, resources, and exclusive steps to taking your fat burning to the next level. Download to your device and access anytime. Simply click the button above, enter your details, and the guide will be delivered to your inbox! Get the mini guide & transcript now. Highlights… 3 unhealthy sweeteners to avoid 3 healthy sweeteners to use instead Benefits of the healthy alternatives Resources… Pick up my new paperback, The Keto Diet. The practical, day-to-day guide for a keto life that works for you! Subscribe to my YouTube channel! It Continue reading >>

The Truth On Truvia

The Truth On Truvia

Are Truvia and Stevia the same thing? Thanks to a false-advertising job well-done, many health conscious consumers have been tricked into believing that Truvia is the same thing as Stevia. The (disappointing) truth is that, despite the fact that Truvia is marketed as a “stevia-based sugar substitute,” it is NOT equivalent to Stevia. Not even close, actually. Get this: the ingredient list for Truvia is as follows: Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. Just three ingredients and Stevia isn’t even one of them! That right there should tell us something (for starters, not to trust the product manufacturer…which by the way is Coca-Cola teamed up with a company called Cargill…) Let’s take a look at those three ingredients that make up Truvia: 1. Erythritol: A sugar alcohol which is made by processing genetically modified corn; this is the primary ingredient in Truvia. Sugar alcohols are notoriously known for their unpleasant side effects. Our bodies do a poor job at digesting sugar alcohols (which is why they are lower in calories), but because they aren’t completely digested, they hang out in our intestines where they are fermented by colonic bacteria. The by-products of fermentation include gastric distress, diarrhea, cramping, gas and bloating. Yuck. That’s ingredient #1. 2. Rebiana: Half of one percent of Truvia is Rebiana. The truth is that the only reason Truvia can mention anything about Stevia is because Rebiana is derived from a Stevia plant. But again, don’t be fooled. Rebiana is certainly not the same thing as Stevia. It is a molecule of the stevia plant. Furthermore, Rebiana is actually 400 times sweeter than sugar, but you’ll notice that Truvia is only twice as sweet as sugar. If you do the math, you’ll see that if a container of Truvia wa Continue reading >>

Sweeteners

Sweeteners

This week Richard Morris and Carl Franklin talk about sweeteners other than table sugar, the good and the bad. Errata: Carl mistakenly said that he had an insulin response to the Truvia brand sweetener (Erythritol + Stevia), but in fact it was the Fructevia brand, which combines fructose with Stevia. The creation of ketone bodies "Cholesterol - when to worry" - Ken Sikaris Everything You Wanted to Know About Artificial Sweeteners Fructose 2.0 - Robert Lustig A genetic variant near olfactory receptor genes influences cilantro preference Sweetener in Gum Is Causing Surge in Accidental Dog Poisonings Richard's Recipe: Low-Carb Chocolate Carl's Recipe: Broiled Brussels Sprouts Continue reading >>

Keto Recipe: Yummy Low-carb Peanut Butter Cups

Keto Recipe: Yummy Low-carb Peanut Butter Cups

Oh thank goodness for this keto recipe, I’ve really been needing a sweet fix. I found a recipe for Keto Peanut Butter Cups here who credits it to lowcarber.org. Seriously needing somewhat healthy chocolate in my life, I gave these little guys a try, with some modifications to lower the carb more than half, and was not disappointed. They’re cold, creamy and yummy. Splenda in the original recipe had a ridiculous amount of carbs (16!), and 1/3 cup of Splenda just didn’t sit well with me. 5 packs of Stevia in the Raw was a great substitute with only about 3 carbs! The entire recipe comes to to 21 grams of carbs. When I split them up into 8 cupcake cups, it makes them 2.6 carbs each. The original recipe had them at 7 carbs each! You could also use smaller cupcake cups and make a bunch of them around 1 carb each. Keto Peanut Butter Cups 1 stick unsalted butter (I used salted!) 1 oz / cube unsweetened chocolate 5 packets Stevia in the Raw (original recipe called for 1/3 cup Splenda, in case you need a substitution, or I’m sure Truvia could be tasted to work too!) 2 tablespoons heavy cream 4 tablespoons peanut butter (the original recipe also called for chopped walnuts to use at the bottom of the cup – I didn’t use these) 1. Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave. I chopped the stick of butter in half and put the chocolate on top of the sticks of butter so that it wouldn’t burn in the bowl. 2. Melt for about a minute in the microwave, then mix the chocolate around in the hot butter until completely melted. Add in the 5 packets of Stevia and mix until all melted. 3. Stir in cream and peanut butter and taste. Right now you could adjust to your own particular taste by adding more Stevia, peanut butter, etc. but I found this to be a good balance. – If you used n Continue reading >>

The Top Four Sweeteners For A Low-carb Keto Diet

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 >>

Best Sugar Substitute For Keto? [infographic]

Best Sugar Substitute For Keto? [infographic]

We’re going to be breaking these sweeteners down into 3 distinct categories in order to choose the best sugar substitute for a keto diet. Those categories are Artificial Sweeteners, Sugar Alcohols, and Natural Sweeteners. Check out our video where we touch on everything covered in this blog post and give our recommendations for the best sugar substitute for keto. Artificial Sweeteners These tend to known as intense sweeteners because they are much sweeter than regular sugar. Based on this fact, you only need a fraction of the amount you would normally use with regular sugar. This is seen as a benefit by many. They contain synthetic chemicals that stimulate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue. So, let us break down the different types of artificial sweeteners: Aspartame You might not recognize the name, but if you’ve ever used Equal, you’ve been using aspartame. Aspartame is a low calorie sweetener that is approximately 180 times sweeter than regular sugar. The components that make up this artificial sweetener are amino acid, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are not only broken down completely by your body, but found in larger quantities in a great deal of foods, such as meat and vegetables. Aspartame is 0 calories and 0 gylcemic index. When combined with dextrose and maltodextrin to form Equal brand sweetener the calories and glycemic index are increased based on the added ingredients. Pros: Essentially Zero calorie additive Zero glycemic index Cons: Often mixed with high glycemic bulking agents Highly controversial/opposing studies on safety Acesulfame K This artificial sweetener is used in a variety of foods and is approximately 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It is often found in a blend with other sweeteners, such as aspartame. Blending the tw Continue reading >>

What’s The Best Artificial Sweetener?

What’s The Best Artificial Sweetener?

One of the most popular questions asked by people who are just beginning the Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle is about what they can use as a sweetener. Is aspartame okay? Or saccharine? What about Splenda? How about coconut sugar, it’s from a coconut, so it’s good, right? Honey is all natural, right? Make no mistake about it, there is a lot of confusing information out there about what sweeteners you can use. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to explain some things. First off, a little background information is needed. When assessing a sweeteners benefit to keto, the first thing that must be considered is what is known as the Glycemic Index (GI). The GI is a measure of how quickly certain foods will cause a spike in blood sugar. Spiking blood sugar will result in insulin spikes. Insulin spikes is the mechanism for type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and a host of other illnesses. So the idea behind keto is to keep the blood sugar low, and certainly to prevent any kind of spiking. The higher the number of the GI for any given food, the more insulin will be produced. Any food with a GI of 70 or higher is considered high. Below 55 is considered low. Everything else (56-69) is in the middle. Okay…now for a brief detour to talk about terms. The question is what “artificial” sweetener is best, but I’m also including some other sweeteners, known as natural sweeteners. And I show the lists separately. Any food with a value of 100 is, essentially, considered “pure sugar.” I included what I consider to be the most common sweeteners, and certainly the most common asked about sweeteners. Name Type of sweetener GI Maltodextrin Sugar 110 Maltose Sugar 105 Dextrose Sugar 100 Glucose Sugar 100 HFCS-42 (High-fructose corn syrup) Modified Sugar 68 Sucrose Sugar Continue reading >>

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

For low carbers, artificial sweeteners often mean the difference between blowing your carb limit for the day, or safely satisfying a sweet craving. However, most powdered forms of fake sweeteners contain some sort of sugar based bulking agent, such as maltodextrin, or dextrose. This adds carbs, so if you use a packet, count it as one carb. Liquid artificial sweeteners are becoming more popular, as no bulking agent is needed. I don't particularly like to use artificial anything, but I've come to the conclusion that for my health and wellbeing, a little fake sweetener is better than a lot of sugar. If the idea of a chemical sweetener doesn't sit well, you may want to look into the category of sugar alcohol sweeteners. These do have calories and carbs, though the amounts are much smaller, and there is much reduced effect on blood sugars because they are absorbed slowly. Below is a list of some artificial sweeteners that can be used on a low carb diet. Be aware there is a great deal of controversy around these products, so you'll have to decide for yourself whether you want to use them. I've put together a list of the "pros and cons" for each. I am referring to the powdered version unless otherwise stated . Acesulfame Potassium Acesulfame Potassium, or Acesulfame K, is marketed under the brand names of Sunett or SweetOne. It's commonly used in soft drinks and commercial low sugar products, many times in conjunction with aspartame. It's 180 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories, and has no effect on tooth enamel. Pros: Acesulfame K is stable under heat, and in moderately acidic or basic conditions, and it can be used in baking, and acidic liquids. It is also used as a flavor enhancer in non-food products such as gum and soft antacids. Cons: Some studies with rats have Continue reading >>

Keto-friendly Sweeteners

Keto-friendly Sweeteners

Sugar, or any alias or variation of sugar (fructose, HFCS, cane syrup, honey, agave, etc), is not keto. Here are the following sugar substitutes that I use on my site: Pyure – This is a mixture of stevia and erythritol. This is my favorite one and I save 15% by buying it through Amazon subscription. Erythritol – Just the pure stuff, such as this one from Now Foods Swerve – This is mostly just erythritol. It comes in granular and powdered. Stevia drops – Such as these from NuStevia Sweet drops – These are also just stevia but they come in flavors. Monk fruit powder, such as this one Sukrin Gold – Brown sugar substitute made with mostly erythritol Sukrin Milis – Powdered sugar substitute made with mostly erythritol Xylitol is also a keto-friendly sweetener, but I have not tried it. This can be toxic to pets so if you buy it just keep it away from your furr babies. Truvia is also keto-friendly. It’s basically stevia/erythritol just like pyure. NOT Keto: Splenda. It has maltodextrin in it. AKA Sugar. That’s right. Splenda, which is advertised to diabetics, actually contains sugar, and our FDA allows this to be marketed as sugar-free! Check out the serving size and you’ll see why. Sucralose. This is another name for splenda. Sometimes you can find pure sucralose which has no maltodextrin in it, however, this is still man made and not technically keto. Stevia in the Raw. Also contains Dextrose which is yet ANOTHER alias for sugar. Opt for pure stevia instead (or a blend of stevia and erythritol) Maltitol. This is man-made sugar-alcohol and can cause terrible bloating or discomfort. Avoid as much as possible. Sorbitol. Same as above. Okay in tiny quantities such as gum or mints. Much lower glycemic response than maltitol though. Aspartame. Stay away from th Continue reading >>

The Difference Between Splenda, Sweet And Low, Equal, And Stevia

The Difference Between Splenda, Sweet And Low, Equal, And Stevia

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed as many as eight kinds of artificial sweeteners to be safe for consumption. You probably recognize some of them by their brand name: sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet and Low), aspartame (Equal), and stevia (Truvia). Each has varying levels of sweetness and uses. These sugar substitutes are popular among people suffering from diabetes because they don’t spike blood sugar the same way sugar does, and among dieters who want something “sweet” without the hefty calories. Because unlike table sugar, which has approximately 16 calories per teaspoon, Splenda, Sweet and Low, Equal, and Truvia all contribute little to no calories. Here’s where they differ: Splenda (sucralose): Sucralose isn’t broken down in the body, so it has zero calories. It’s about 600 times sweeter than table sugar and can be used in anything. Since it doesn’t lose its sweetness when you apply heat to it, you can use Splenda in hot foods and baking. Sweet and Low (saccharin): Sweet and Low is one of the first available artificial sweeteners and used in foods, medicine, and even in toothpaste. Saccharin is 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar, has no calories, and can be used in cooking, too. Equal (aspartame): Aspartame is typically found in chewing gum, diet soda, puddings, and many other “sugar-free” snacks. It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar, but it does have some calories (a measly 2 calories or so) per packet. It also loses its sweetness when heatedso it’s not ideal in baked goods. Truvia (stevia): Because the sweetness of stevia is derived from the leaves of a plant called Stevia rebaudiana, it’s often touted as a “natural sweetener.” In the U.S., the plant itself is not added to the food, just a chemical extract called Re Continue reading >>

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