Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Splenda not so splendid- How fake sugar makes you FATTER!

You cut carbs.

You cut calories.

Then you try high protein and low fat diets and it seems to become a vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain getting you no where.

You also resort to going sugar free which means substituting sugar with aspartame (Equal), sucrolose (Splenda brand), sorbitol, malitol, and on and on goes the list of fake artificial sweeteners. These substitutes are chemically toxic, can damage neurons (brain cells) and often increase the desire for sweets and sugar. So in the end they actually may encourage you to gain weight and crave more food!

When you ingest these sweeteners, messages are still sent to your brain that sugar is entering the bloodstream. Even though it technically hasn't. Your body prepares just the same for it, and produces a chemical reaction as if you were actually eating real sugar. When it doesn't receive real sugar, it will still act accordingly and produce a stress response because your physiology and brain become all confused. This ultimately translates into increased cravings for carbs, and especially SUGAR.

So what can we do to replace white sugar without adding excess calories and going the fake route?

3 Natural Sweeteners that are healthy, and won't disturb blood sugar levels:

The following sweeteners are completely natural, made from plant sources and can be found at your reputable natural food store.

1) Stevia: This is a South American herb that has been used as a sweetener by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay for hundreds of years. Some studies suggest it helps lower blood pressure and help control blood sugar insulin response. Its also calorie free and great to use in hot drinks like coffee and tea. So for those watching calories, are diabetic, hypoglycaemic, or hypertensive this is a safe and natural substitute.

2) Xylitol: This is my favourite of the three. Don't let its funky name fool you. Its completely natural, made from birch bark or berries, is calorie free and the bonus with xylitol is that is has been proven to benefit the health of your teeth. Studies found that xylitol increases the ph level in your mouth, which helps ward off cavities and dental erosion caused by sugar, and acidic foods. It has a pleasant taste, and used in coffee, it doesn't mask the flavour and allows the true java taste to come through. Xylitol is also great for diabetics, and usually comes in crystalline form.

3) Coconut Sugar: This one is a little harder to find, but one worth scouting for. It is made from the sap of coconuts, has a rich brown colour and the flavour reminds me of maple syrup! Its low calorie, won't create a sugar spike like white sugar, and can be used for baking when brown sugar is the major sweet ingredient called for. I love this sugar on berries and is phenomenal in coffee. It gives java a really awesome caramel tasting accent. I buy it from a local health food store, but if yours doesn't carry it you can find it online.

I wish you the best in your sweet explorations... try them out, and see what happens ;)



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