Sweeteners- The Good, Bad, & Ugly

Nov 23rd, 2013

Category: Food

Sweeteners- The Good, Bad, & Ugly


With the Holidays coming up – which means sweets will be everywhere – I thought I’d pass on this great info by Health Coach Derek Henry.

The following is a list of common sugars and sweeteners, their glycemic index (GI) and other factors to consider when choosing them:

Maltodextrin (150) – With an extremely high glycemic index rating, this sugar is near poison for diabetics. Found in many packaged products.

Glucose (Dextrose) (100) – Very high on the glycemic index and equivalent to white bread.

Corn syrup (75) – Largely GMO, with little nutrition. HFCS (87) is worse.

Refined table sugar (65) – Largely GMO and stripped of any beneficial nutrients, this sugar has a very acidic effect on the body and causes mineral depletion.

Honey (50-75) – The kind of honey makes a big difference, with raw (unpasteurized) honey being lower on the glycemic scale and containing more nutrients. Processed honey is often no better than table sugar.

Evaporated cane juice (55) – Better than white sugar, but still refined.

Blackstrap molasses (55) – Although higher on the glycemic index, this sugar provides many minerals, including iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and zinc, and as a result is more alkalizing to the body.

Maple syrup (54) – Collected from the sap of maple trees, it is refined and therefore processed. It is more nutritious than refined table sugar, corn syrups and cane juice but still should be used sparingly.

Coconut palm sugar (35) – Acquired from flowers growing on coconut trees, this is a nutrient-rich, low-glycemic sweetener that substitutes well for refined sugar. It is very popular among health enthusiasts and can easily be used in baking.

Agave nectar (30) – There has been much controversy around agave, and the jury still seems to be out on its use as a healthy alternative. Use in limited quantities.

Xylitol (7) – A sugar alcohol, xylitol is very low on the glycemic index but should be used sparingly due to it being largely GMO, as well as its history of causing intestinal issues.

Stevia (0) – 200-300 times sweeter than table sugar, stevia comes from the leaves of the stevia plant. Since its glycemic index is less than 1, it does not feed candida or cause any of the other problems related to sugar consumption. This makes it ideal for diabetics, those with gastrointestinal problems and anyone interested in reducing their caloric intake. It goes well in tea, smoothies and tart juices like lemon, lime and cranberry.

Artificial Sweeteners (0) (Aspartame, Sucralose) – All artificial sweeteners are toxic, and ironically, the consumption of these sweeteners has shown significant increases in body weight, even when food intake remained the same.

When choosing sweeteners, look to stevia and coconut sugar first for their low GI rating and generous mineral content. In contrast, avoid artificial sweeteners, corn sugars, refined white sugar, maltodextrin and dextrose like the plague, as they are toxic, spike blood sugar and contain little to no nutrients.

Finally, use molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, cane sugar and honey in moderation. Although they do contain beneficial nutrients, they are mostly refined (save raw honey) and are higher on the glycemic index.

Of course, these are just general recommendations, as the state of a person’s intestinal health will largely dictate their acceptable sugar intake. Watch your body’s reaction and adjust accordingly.

Michael’s comments:

The bottom line is sugar is a non-essential nutrient and its only function in the body is to provide energy – and what isn’t used for energy…

Is stored as fat.

It’s my belief that no one can tell you what to eat [because if they do all that's going to happen is a lot of guilt and arguing] and you should eat whatever you want.

However, I also believe with that free will comes the responsibility of being a good steward of one of your most precious gifts, your health.

And if you’re going to eat whatever you want, it’s your responsibility to deal with the consequences.

Which is why I choose to eat very little sugar based foods – as I know what they do to me – and because I only want to exercise for around 20 minutes a day.

In my humble opinion it will always come down to one thing:

Having the ability to make decisions in your long term best interest – in a world that relentlessly pressures you to do the opposite.

So while it’s great to know what’s healthy and what isn’t…

Acquiring the ability to make long term rational decisions will do more for your body, life, and future than all the knowledge in the universe.

Chat soon!


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