Sweet Mystery of Sweeteners

All sweeteners are not created equal. Some are healthy while some are not. In my world natural is better.

Erythritol

I found Erythritol as an ingredient for baking sweet things. It works like sugar and is a one to one replacement. Using it in baking was great. Making fat bombs, no problem. I used it in sweet tea and my feet swole up so badly they resembled Harry Potters Aunt Marge.

It took a while for me to figure out what was causing it. I left the tea out for a day and my feet went back to normal. I decided to investigate.

  • Erythritol is a sugar alcohol
  • Causes stomach upset and gas
  • Causes swelling and water retention (by experience)
  • Is not broken down by the body. Excreted unchanged
  • Is an effective insecticide

For those that think David Wolfe is not a credible source here is a study of the insecticide properties of erythritol.

While I may occasionally use it (since I have a couple of bags in my pantry) I will be switching to natural sweeteners as much as possible.

Stevia

Stevia is plant based sweetener. It has some benefits and some effects to be aware of

Benefits:

  • Does not accumulate in the body
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-microbial
  • Diuretic

Cautions:

  • Will interact with diuretic medications
  • Interacts with lithium and can cause lithium toxicity
  • Can cause allergy reactions
  • Interacts with blood thinners
  • Can affect renal activity

Stevia is basically considered safe in small quantities

Honey

I love honey. There are so many different flavors based on the type of flowers the bee’s frequent. The question is should you replace sugar with honey.

Honey has more calories than sugar but is lower on the GI index. It has 17g of carbs so is not suitable for low-carb diets.

There is some controversy about honey and type 2 diabetes. Yes or no?

Medical News today cites a small study in Dubai  that found honey to increase insulin and decrease plasma glucose. More research will need to be done.

For more benefits and cautions on honey check out my blog here

Maple Syrup Sweet and Natural

I have a friend from Quebec that very sweetly (pun intended) keeps topping up my maple syrup supply with real Quebec maple syrup. YUMM!

For those that don’t know or didn’t read the Little House books, available from Amazon.ca via this link
Little House Complete 9-Book Box Set: Books 1 to 9.  Maple syrup is sap tapped from sugar maples.

According to Dr Axe there are a number of health benefits.

  • Low GI which means it won’t cause super high blood sugar spikes
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improved skin health via antioxidant properties
  • Slows cell growth in Colorectal Cancer

Cautions:

  • Any form of sugar intake needs to be controlled in the case of diabetes
  • Can prevent weight loss in calorie or carbohydrate restricted diets

Sugar substitutes can increase choices in diets, however, caution is needed. Natural sweeteners are low GI. This does not mean use them liberally. They will need to be used sparingly in cases of blood sugar disorders.

THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR.