What Is The Best Sugar?

 

Nick's Blog On Sugar

Hey Guys Nick Pineault wrote a great Blog about sugar that I thought would help you all out.  Thanks Nick for your research.

We all have a sweet tooth from time to time.

Americans are known to have a serious sweet tooth — consuming an average of 130 pounds of sugar every year. That’s 162g of sugar per day, or 41 teaspoons.

Let’s be honest here. This is way too much sugar, and that’s the sign of a serious sugar addiction.

This constant stream of sweetness will eventually screw you up.

So first of all, make sure you reduce your overall sugar consumption. After a while, your taste buds will be re-sensitized and you’ll crave less sugar anyway. 

Then, when you consume less sugar, we can talk about sugar alternatives.

What’s A Good Alternative?

To me, a “perfect” sugar alternative would fit these 5 criteria:

1) Contains little to no calories

2) Doesn’t damage your gut flora like sugar does

3) Doesn’t spike your blood sugar (therefore is not as fattening as sugar)

4) Tastes just like sugar

5) Can be used in cooking

The common sugar alternatives fit some of these criteria, but not all of them.

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame and saccharine

They contain little to no calories, but are shown to damage your gut flora and spike your blood sugar. Also, I personally think they don’t taste like sugar at all (no matter how many versions of “Coke Zero” they try to come up with).

Stevia

Stevia contains no calories and shows little to no side effects. However, I don’t really like the taste and it’s very challenging to use in cooking.

Monkfruit

Monkfruit is very safe from what I know, and Dr. Mercola and a few other nutrition authorities say it’s comparable to stevia. If you can find it, go with it!

All-natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup and molasses

They’re more nutritious than refined sugar, but they still contain mostly sugar. Going overboard with those is also very easy unless you portion control carefully with a teaspoon.

Enter Sugar Alcohols.

Sugar alcohols are not really a kind of sugar, nor a kind of alcohol.

They are naturally contained in some berries, corn, oats, mushrooms and even in hardwood (the birch tree is a popular one).

What makes them controversial is that they can be considered “processed” sugar alternatives, because they are refined.

But in a sense, maple syrup is also refined as it’s the result of boiling maple water for hours.

And so is molasses, that’s basically the waste product of cane sugar processing…

The Sugar Alcohol Face-Off

1) Sorbitol

You’ll find this one in a lot of cheap “sugar-free” products.

It contains 35% fewer calories than sugar, with 50% of the sweetness.

The problem with sorbitol — and you may have experienced this yourself — is that most people are intolerant to it.

The results? Bloating, gas, and quality time spent in the bathroom.

The verdict: not recommended.

2) Maltitol

Maltitol is 90% as sweet as sugar, but only contains 25% fewer calories.

If you’re trying to find a calorie-free sugar alternative, that’s not impressive.

The problem with maltitol is that it’s very high on the Glycemic index, and spikes your blood sugar just as much as sugar. Kind of deceiving, as manufacturers use it in “sugar-free” products…

The verdict: not recommended.

3) Xylitol

Xylitol is extracted from corn or the birch tree.

It’s just as sweet as sugar, but contains 60% fewer calories.

What makes xylitol look like a great alternative is the fact that it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.

On top of that, xylitol is shown to reduce your risks of dental caries, and may also help your tooth enamel and overall bone density. Several studies also show that it may just be a key ingredient in fighting osteoporosis.

Several nutrition experts that I trust recommend xylitol as a safe sugar alternative, including:

Dr. Joseph Mercola: “…in moderation, some sugar alcohols can be a better choice than highly refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, agave, or high fructose corn syrup. Of the various sugar alcohols, xylitol is one of the best. When it is pure, the potential side effects are minimal, and it actually comes with some benefits such as fighting tooth decay. All in all, I would say that xylitol is reasonably safe, and potentially even a mildly beneficial sweetener.”

Mark Sisson (from Mark’s Daily Apple): “…if your desire for something, anything sweet is derailing your attempts at a healthy diet, sugar alcohols may be worth experimenting with. Xylitol in particular seems promising, and I’ll keep my eye out for more information on that as it emerges.

The verdict: xylitol seems safe and even beneficial. Thumbs up.

IMPORTANT NOTE: For you animal lovers out there, please note that xylitol is very poisonous to them. Be warned!

4) Erythritol

Unlike xylitol, erythritol contains virtually no calories (0.2 cal/g). It’s 70% as sweet as sugar.

The best thing with erythritol is that unlike other sugar alcohols, it’s absorbed by your body instead of potentially fermenting in the colon and causing bloating and gas.

And just like xylitol, erythritol appears to be on the safe side:

  • Doesn’t affect blood sugar, and cannot be fermented by dental bacteria
  • No effect on cholesterol, triglycerides or other negative biomarkers 
  • May reduce plaque and harmful bacteria in your mouth 
  • Studies have shown that people tolerate it just fine up to 1g per kg of bodyweight 

The verdict: erythritol seems as safe and even beneficial as xylitol, but contains less calories. Double thumbs up.

Xylitol and erythritol both taste just like sugar and can replace it in cooking pretty much in a 1:1 ratio. Just another factor that makes me recommend these sugar alcohols.

Side Effects

The one downside of sugar alcohols is that they can cause digestive distress.

Like any sweetener, they need to be used in moderation.

Make sure to always:

  • Start slowly. Gradually build up your sugar alcohol consumption over the course of 4 to 6 weeks
  • Monitor your reactions. Some people are sensitive to sugar alcohols, and should rarely or never consume them except if they enjoy stomach cramps…
  • Keep your total consumption under 50g a day

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There’s no such thing as the “perfect” sugar alternative, but xylitol and erythritol are pretty close to it — if you can tolerate them.

As a final note, if you want to avoid GMOs, make sure you stick with GMO-free xylitol and erythritol (they can be derived from GMO corn).

These brands will do:

Emerald Forest non-GMO erythritol

Xyla non-GMO xylitol

 One more thing: 

I definitely do NOT recommend Slimtevia.

My knowledge tells me that crystalline fructose is a terrible kind of sugar that loads your liver easily, so I’d avoid it.