Chronic low-grade inflammation is intimately involved most chronic disease, including Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease. One of the underlying factors causing this increase in inflammation is our love affair with sugar. We have been led to believe that if we switch to alternatives, we can go on with our sweet addiction and pay no health penalties down the road. One of the very first things I teach patients to do is KICK THE SWEET HABIT! If you go off sugar and all sweeteners for just 30 days, I promise you.... your body will adjust it's taste-meter so that a piece of fruit with have more flavor and sweetness than you've ever dreamed possible. And if you do indulge in a glass of soda or something full of sugar, you just might spit it back out due to the sickening sweetness that your body had become accustomed to prior to your sugar detox.
But I do get questions all the time from patients... "If I do need to use a sweetener occasionally and sparingly... what are my best options?"
Glad you asked! So here's a Guide to Natural Sweeteners just for you...
The Good: Natural - Use sparingly
- Stevia (organic green leaf or pure extract)
- Organic Local Raw Honey
The Fair: Natural - Use sparingly
- Date sugar
- Coconut nectar
- Coconut sugar/crystals
- Fruit juice (only fresh squeezed, real, organic)
- Maple syrup
- Palm sugar
The Bad: Natural but recommend avoidance
- Barley Malt
- Beet sugar
- Brown sugar/light brown sugar/muscovado
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Cane sugar or juice
- Carob syrup
- Corn syrup or solids
- Ethyl Maltol
- Glucose/glucose solids
- Golden sugar
- Grape sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Malt syrup
- Raw sugar
- Refiner's syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Xylitol (or other sugar alcohols, end in "-tol or -ose"
The Ugly: Artificial - never consume
- Acesulfame K (Sweet One)
- Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet, Equal)
- Saccarin (Sweet'N Low)
- Stevia - white/bleached (Truvia, Sun Crystals)
- Sucralose (Spenda)
- Tagatose (PreSweet)
More on Truvia... the one you THOUGHT was ok
Is Truvia made from a leaf? Well the answer is kinda, sorta. Truvia has three ingredients: erythritol, rebiana, and natural flavors. Rebiana is made from the stevia leaf by soaking it in water. Although Cargill whitewashes the process as similar to making tea, the truth is revealed in Coca Cola's patent where it outlines a 40+ step process that includes the use of acetone, methanol, ethanol, acetonitrile, and isopropanol. I don’t know about you, but when I make a cup of tea, I’ve never used any of those ingredients.
The second fallacy of Truvia’s “guilt-free” naturalness is it’s main ingredient, erythritol. Now while erythritol is a naturally-occurring sweetener found in many fruits, in nature it is present in such small amounts that Cargill manufacturers Truvia’s erythritol by chemically converting genetically modified corn into a food grade starch which it ferments to create glucose and then processes further to create erythritol. All Natural? Truvia sounds more like a GMO lab experiment than a sweetener straight from nature.
But Dr. Jill, I need more carbs!
If you've gone Paleo and removed grains, legumes and refined foods from your diet, you don't have to let go of carbs altogether. Here are some high carb delicious healthy veggie alternatives for you to munch on that are packed with nutrients...
- Sweet potato
- Taro root
- Winter Squash
- Butternut squash
- Kohlrabi or Purple kohlrabi (pictured)
- Spaghetti squash