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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
Guide To Natural Sweeteners
Guide to Natural Sweeteners One question Craig and I answer just about daily is about natural sweeteners. It is usually asked in the form of “Why do you use ‘artificial’ sweeteners? and can I use coconut sugar or sugar-in-the-raw instead? Thats why I decided to post “Guide to Natural sweeteners”. First off everything we recommend is not ‘artificial.’ Just as you can find sugar cane fields and honey in nature you can also find the stevia herb and grow it in your own home if you wanted. These are as natural as honey or maple syrup without the blood sugar and inflammatory effects. I listened to a great radio program on NPR discussing how our grandparents often had a dessert after dinner, a pie or something special homemade by the mother of the family. The nutritionist on the show talked about how that was the role that the woman of the home often felt and so she fulfilled that by cooking and baking tasty meals. So what is the issue with having sugar now and why do we have such a rise in Metabolic Syndrome not only in adults but kids too? We no longer just have a small piece of pie after dinner. It starts with breakfast. I too grew up on cereal and skim milk. Did you know that there is more sugar in a cup of skim milk than there is in 4 Starbursts? Then for a snack it is often a granola bar that has the same sugar as a candy bar! Lunch always includes sugar… pudding, jello, granola bar, Gatorade, Juice… things that we didn’t fill our cells with in the past. Sugar was a treat but now it is a staple in our diet. Here is an interesting fact… Welch’s 100% grape juice (NO SUGAR ADDED…just grape juice) has more sugar/fructose in 8 ounces than a 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew! What I’m really concerned about it fructose which is present primarily in sugar Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
The Best (healthiest) Sweeteners For A Ketogenic Diet
Almost all of us love sweet foods and an occasional dessert. Unfortunately, sugar and most sweets are among the very worst things to be consuming if you want to heal a chronic condition and function at your best. For challenging health conditions, a very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet may be the best healing option. So, what are the best keto sweeteners when following a ketogenic diet? When following a low carb, high fat (ketogenic) diet, it is important to use a natural sweetener that will not affect your blood sugar levels. This article will discuss the best natural sweeteners for a ketogenic diet and what to look for when buying them. But first, let’s look at why a ketogenic diet can be helpful for improving a number of health conditions. Why a Ketogenic Diet A ketogenic diet focuses on minimal carbohydrates, low to moderate amounts of protein, and high fat consumption. This diet allows the liver to produce ketones to fuel metabolism, rather than using glucose for energy. Following a ketogenic diet is useful in improving insulin tolerance and reducing inflammation. These factors consequently reduce the risk of chronic disease and stimulate muscle development and fat metabolism. It is well established that sugar can contribute to the development and progression of cancer. As a result, the ketogenic diet has become a popular approach to essentially starve cancer cells of their primary fuel source − glucose. Many individuals want to reach a state of ketosis to prevent or heal from cancer naturally. There are many good natural sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, and yacon syrup. When looking at which sweeteners are best for a ketogenic diet, it is essential to consider which will have the lowest impact on blood sugar. This is important because these Continue reading >>
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54 Ketogenic Dessert Recipes To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
You’re excited by the ketogenic diet, but you just can’t survive with some desserts? Don’t worry – we’re here to help! Check out this giant list of delicious ketogenic dessert recipes we’ve compiled. We’ve got everything from ketogenic cookies to mint chocolate chip ice cream! Just 2 quick notes before you jump into these delicious dessert recipes… Sweeteners and Dairy in Keto Dessert Recipes Many of the keto recipes use some form of non-caloric sweetener to make these desserts sweet. While we think it’s better to avoid all sweeteners on a ketogenic diet, it’s clearly not possible when it comes to creating desserts. We try to stick to pure stevia as our preferred non-caloric sweetener. None of these recipes contain dairy other butter or ghee. If you tolerate dairy ok, then feel free to use butter, but if you don’t tolerate dairy, then try to use cultured ghee instead as this removes most of the lactose and casein from butter (and so it’s not as problematic for most people). Want to download the whole Ketogenic dessert recipes list as a PDF? Just click the green button below and we’ll send it over. Table of Contents For Ketogenic Dessert Recipes Click to jump to a specific section: Ketogenic Dessert Bar Recipes Coconut Chocolate Bars – The Nourished Caveman Ingredients: unsweetened shredded coconut, stevia, vanilla extract, coconut cream, coconut oil or cocoa butter, and unsweetened cocoa powder Flaky coconut covered in smooth, rich, indulgent chocolate. This combination creates the perfect, classic, healthy candy bar – Keto-style! Homemade Sugar-Free Mounds Bars – Low-Carb, So Simple! Click here for the recipe. Ingredients: extra virgin coconut oil, coconut milk, Swerve, shredded coconut, and dark chocolate These Ketogenic mounds bars are Continue reading >>
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 >>
Is Truvia Sweetener Ok For Low-carb Diets?
Truvia is a granulated sugar substitute. I have tried many sweetener brands, but finally settled on Truvia as my preferred option. I now use it in all of my low-carb recipes. Lately, I’ve been getting lots of questions and comments about Truvia. There seems to be some confusion on whether it is suitable for low-carb dieters. Why some of us are confused about Truvia Truvia have several products in their range. Some are great for low-carb dieters, but some aren’t. All Truvia products are sold under the same brand name, and have similar looking packaging. So it is potentially confusing for us. Double check product names and nutritional information on the labels before buying. Here’s what you need to look out for. YES – Truvia Calorie-Free Sweetener Zero net carbs, PERFECT for low-carb diets This product comes in sachets, in a spoonable plastic pack, and in a pouch. It doesn’t contain any digestible carbs, and its net carb count is zero. So we can safely use it as part of a low-carb diet. The nutritional label does show some carbs, due to FDA regulations. However, these all come from erythritol and are not digestible (otherwise it wouldn’t be marked up as zero-calorie). The exact product name varies in different markets – I have seen it called “Calorie-Free Sweetener”, “Natural Zero Calorie Sweetener”, “Nature’s Calorie-Free Sweetener” etc. The keyword to look for is “calorie-free”. There is also a “zero calories” stamp on the packaging. NO – Truvia Nectar, Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, Truvia Baking Blend Contain sugar, NOT SUITABLE for low-carb diets Truvia range also includes products that contain Stevia blended with sugar – Truvia Brown Sugar Blend and Truvia Baking Blend, and with honey – Truvia Nectar. The sugar content is clearly Continue reading >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
What Is The Best Natural Ketogenic Sweetener?
Sugar is tricky. We are told biologically that our brain runs off of sugar in the form of glucose primarily, and that if we don’t maintain steady blood sugar levels then we will not run optimally. As a society however, Americans vastly overconsume sugar in highly processed forms such as corn syrup and fructose. Consequentially, conditions such as diabetes, obesity, chronic inflammatory disorders, and cancer are all at historically high prevalence rates. Although not the only factor involved, excess sugar intake and rampant blood sugar imbalances can dramatically influence all of these diseases. As more and more people are becoming aware of the detrimental impact of these sweeteners, sugar replacements are flooding the market in order to capitalize on this trend. There are many great natural sweeteners such as stevia, monk fruit, raw honey, yacon syrup and more. The ones with the lowest impact on our blood sugar are stevia and monk fruit. These will help influence the production of therapeutic ketones and the utilization of ketones as opposed to sugar for energy in the body. This article addresses the question: What is the best natural ketogenic sweetener? Many Dangerous Sweeteners Exist Too often I meet people who are diabetic or trying to lose weight who have replaced sugars in their diets with highly refined artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucralose. These artificial sweeteners are toxic to the brain, disrupt the health of our gut bacteria, and may even lead to metabolic dysregulation (Which could mean weight gain, go figure!). Now there are even artificial sweeteners that claim to be natural and sweetened with healthier alternatives like stevia. What they don’t tell you is that these sweeteners are actually primarily chemical sweeteners with a touch of st Continue reading >>