The Truth About Sweeteners

Well Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it! Today is Day 30 of the #30DaysSugarFree detox. I made it. This surprises the crap out of me too. After that first hell week, I wasn’t sure if I could go on. But I begged and pleaded with the sugar Gods to leave me alone and it seems they answered my prayers. 30 days without refined sugar. I cannot believe it.

I did cheat. I had Diet Coke, twice. Yes, I did feel guilty about it. I am not a fan of fake sugar, as you will see below. But I figure that was a better choice than regular Coke or ice cream, so I let it slide. Judge me. That’s fine. I judge me too!

Today, I am posting my final blog on sugar, this time I will be talking about the differences between real sugar, fake sugar, and natural sweeteners.

There seems to be a misconception that all sugar is the same. Well, let’s go on and call BS on that cause I’m pretty sure that the sugar in your pear is not the same as the sugar you just added to your coffee. Can we at least agree on that? Coolness!

Ok, well there are 3 categories of sweeteners: Natural, Refined and what I call the Fakies.

Natural Sweeteners

There are only 2 easily accessible ones that are made by mother nature – bees and trees.

ms21. Honey – Honey contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as niacin, riboflavin, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.” That means you are getting better nutrition with honey for the calories you are consuming. Also honey is a brain booster, allergy treatment, and helps with healing wounds. And yes, honey does have about 5 more calories per TBSP than sugar, but what you get for those calories are worth it.

 

 

 

 

ms12. Maple Syrup – I’m not talking about your typical Aunt Jemima pancake syrup. When I say maple syrup, I mean Grade B – mineral rich – Pure Maple Syrup. It’s not cheap by any means, usually costing $5.99 and up for 12 ounces, but a lot healthier than the alternative.

 

 

 

 

 

I use both of these when I am cooking or baking. I sweeten my smoothies, cakes, and tea with honey all the time. Note: The sugar detox I am on does NOT include these two ingredients because they are not refined sugar.

Refined Sweeteners

SUCROSE aka Table Sugar

I figure we should start here first.

This S#@& is found in EVERYTHING. Like I stated in my last post about sugar, it is put in most sauces including pasta sauce and ketchup. You can run, but you cannot hide from it. Also, if you read my last sugar post, you know that this stuff can kill you if you consume it in high quantities.

 

Processed Sweeteners (Fakies)

Oh, you don’t know what fake sugar is? Yes you do. They come in those little blue, pink, or yellow packets and are usually sitting next to the white or brown packets of regular sugar on your table when you go out to eat. Yeah, those are the ones I mean.

ASPARTAME aka Equal

If you drink diet drinks, I guarantee you are drinking this in high doses. It was approved for use in food and beverages in the early 1980’s, even though there were many scientists who disapproved of its use. While Aspartame is considered safe for human consumption, there are studies that suggest that there are side effects of long-term use of this product. Every study has been shot down by the FDA though, so you may have to judge the validity on your own.

 

SUCRALOSE aka Splenda

Another sweetener that is considered safe for human consumption. This is another product in which studies suggest there are negative side effects to long-term use, but only at levels exceeded normal consumption (more that 1.1 mg per day).

 

 

 

SACCHARIN aka Sweet’N Low

Saccharin is interesting because while it is nearly 300 times sweeter than table sugar, it’s also available as a salt. Yeah, I know. That’s weird. In 1980, salts (including saccharin) were put on the US EPA ‘s list of Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Substances because it was considered a human carcinogen. In 2010, saccharin was removed due to the lack of evidence to prove that.

There IS evidence, however, that saccharin causes bladder cancer in rats, but since it only kills rats…

 

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

This is derived from corn syrup (obviously) and right now there is a battle going on between the corn producers and other organizations on whether HFCS is as safe as table sugar or not. Well, if it’s as safe as table sugar, I then suggest you go back to my original post linked above and read why table sugar is not good for you either.

To make HFCS, labs have to use enzymes to convert the glucose in corn syrup to fructose. That’s how the sweetness is achieved. And lab studies suggest that HFCS causes higher rates of weight gain and abnormal increases in belly fat than table sugar, even though they are the same calorie-wise.

REBIANA aka Truvia

This is deemed a safe alternative to most artificial sweeteners because it is derived from the Stevia plant. However, in 2008 lab tests resulting from a study done at UCLA showed that this sweetener caused mutations and damage to DNA. Uh..yeah, that’s all I needed to hear.

 

 

 

Summary

As you can see, these fake sweeteners are all considered safe to eat by humans.None of them have been proven to cause cancer, epilepsy, asthma, heart disease, or any other sinister health problems. At most, they’ve been shown to cause minor side affects if consumed in larger than normal doses and over very long terms.

Yeah, you probably thought I was going to go the other way with that, weren’t you?Well, I’m nothing if not fair.

Don’t get it twisted, I am not impartial. I am of the mindset that mother nature makes food better than humans can. So while these sugar alternatives are all “safe”, that does not mean they are good for you. Honey is calorie dense, however, at least it offers some nutritional value which, in my opinion, is a much better alternative to stuff made in a lab. Do you really want to consume something that is generally a science experiment?

My suggestion, learn to eat food and beverages without sweeteners, or using only natural ones. Your body will thank you.

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2 thoughts on “The Truth About Sweeteners

  1. Yum Yucky says:

    Hmmm. I wonder about those lab test results for Stevia, especially in a market where it threatens Aspartame and Sucralose. Stevia has been in use since before the 1800’s in South America. Granted, not in the Stevia-packet form we acquire it in, but I do wonder about the “why” in those DNA results. Congrats on your 30 days. BOOYAH!!!

    Like

    • Irene says:

      From reading the study myself, if appeared that the reason for the DNA change was excessive use of the product, more than double the recommended daily amount for an extended period of time.

      But this was just one lab study. Like said for the others, gotta take it wit ha grain of salt. There are so many possible variables. But it still makes me a bit nervous about using it with any regularity.

      Also, it may have something to do with the way the Stevia is processed, not the Stevia itself, that is causing the DNA change.

      Like

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