Four sugar-free lozenge products were studied and compared: Halls Sugar-Free, Cepacol Sugar-Free, Ricola Sugar-Free and Cold-Eeze Sugar-Free. Cepacol and Cold-Eeze are recommended. Halls and Ricola are not recommended. Comparative detail is provided below.
Halls lozenges are appropriate for coughs due to a cold and for minor throat irritation. The active ingredient in the Halls product is menthol. Depending on the type sugar-free product, the amount of menthol varies from 2.5 mg to 9 mg per drop. Halls has 5 calories per drop and is sweetened with asesulfame potassium and aspartame. Aspartame is the most objectionable artificial sweetener, especially for children and pregnant women, and because of this the Halls products are NOT RECOMMENDED. The Halls sugar-free product line is available in multiple flavors including black cherry, citrus, honey-berry, honey-lemon, mint and menthol. Halls is manufactured by Halls Brothers, a U.K. company, and is distributed by Cadbury Adams USA. For more information go to http://www.gethalls.com
Cepacol lozenges are appropriate for sore throat and mouth, minor mouth irritation and pain from canker sores. The active ingredients in the Cepacol product is benzocaine 15 mg and menthol 3.6mg. Caloric information for Cepacol is not provided and is therefore asumed to be less than 5 calories per drop. Cepacol is sweetened with maltitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect, particularly when the recommended dosage is exceeded. The Cepacol sugar-free product line is available in two flavors: cherry and honey lemon. Cepacol is manufactured by Reckitt Benckiser, another U.K. company. The www.cepacol.com website does not provide detailed product information and is not worth visiting.
Ricola lozenges are appropriate for use as a cough suppressant and for oral pain relief. The active ingredient is menthol 4.8 mg. Each drop has 8 calories and 3.6 grams of carbohydrates. Ricola is sweetened with aspartame, the least desirable artificial sweetener, and also with sorbitol, a sugar alcohol that can have a laxative effect. The Ricola product is NOT RECOMMENDED because of the use of aspartame. Ricola is manufactured by Ricola, LTD, a Swiss company. The www.ricola.com website provides complete and comprehensive information about their products and is excellent.
Cold-Eeze lozenges reduce cold symptoms including cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, post nasal drip and hoarseness. The active ingredient is zincum gluconicum 13.3mg. Note that the maximum adult daily zinc intake should be limited to 40mg per day. Caloric information is 9 calories and 2.24 carbs per drop. Cold-Eeeze is sweetened with ascesulfame-K and “natural flavors,” which may possibly include neotame, a cousin to aspartame. Cold-Eeze is the only product to claim conclusive results based on published, peer-reviewed clinical studies. Cold-Eeeze products are manufactured by ProPhase Labs, a U.S. company. The http://www.coldeeze.comwebsite is excellent and provides extensive product information.
Here’s a copy of an email that I just sent to Cabot Creamery Cooperative after discovering that their Vermont-style cottage cheese is made with carrageenan, a non-nutritional and toxic food additive that’s used to bind, emulsify and thicken foods. Carrageenan has just recently come to my attention as a dangerous substance. Carrageenan causes internal inflammation, the root of many health evils. It promotes insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes, and it may exacerbate or trigger some cancers.
Unfortunately for us, carrageenan is prevalant in many dairy products, not just Cabot Creamery products. I also just noticed it’s an ingredient in the cough drops that are in my medicine cabinet. More info coming about carrageenan shortly. In the meantime…beware.
* * * * * * * * * *
RE: Cabot Vermont Style Cottage Cheese
Dear Cabot Creamery Cooperative,
Thank you for putting your email address on your product container and for making it so easy for me to communicate with you. I appreciate your willingness to hear directly from your consumers.
I’ve been a huge and devoted lifelong fan of your Vermont-style cottage cheese. Cabot has a superior taste, texture and consistency, and I really love it. In fact, when Cabot is unavailable at my local grocery store, I go without cottage cheese at all. Unfortunately, I just realized that your cottage cheese is made with carrageenan, and because of this I will not be purchasing any more of it. The purpose of this email is to ask you to PLEASE CONSIDER REWORKING YOUR RECIPE without any dastardly carrageenan in it. There must be something less objectionable you can use to emulsify, bind or thicken your product.
As you already know, all forms of carrageenan are linked to inflammation, especially in the gastro-intestinal region. Carrageenan also produces “profound glucose intolerance in mice.” Type 2 diabetes is caused by glucose intolerance, and this disease is already at an epidemic level in our country. People with type 2 diabetes think they’re doing something smart and healthy by eating your cottage cheese, but maybe they’re making the condition worse. I have also read reports that carrageenan promotes cancer. In his book Natural Strategies for CancerPatients, author Russell Blaylock specifically draws attention to avoidance of foods that are made with carrageenan. This advice is widely endorsed and distributed by other nutritional and health experts, too. Go do a Google search and see for yourself.
The Cabot Vermont-style brand is associated with healthy, wholesome and natural products. Carrageenan is not healthy, wholesome or natural. For all that is good and holy, why put a toxic substance like carrageenan in our food supply?I would gladly pay more for a carrageenan-free product.
I just signed the national petition to the FDA asking them to make carrageenan illegal.
Don’t wait for the FDA to catch up. Thy lag and do not lead. PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING AND RECONSIDER NOW! You can lead, and this can be a product differentiator for you.
*************** RESPONSE FROM CABOT CREAMERY
Dear Ms. Bentley,
Thank you for contacting Cabot and sharing your comments. I will ensure your suggestion to remove carrageenan from our Cottage Cheese is recorded in our database. Our New Products Team often reviews our ingredients and they value customer feedback.
Please be assured that carrageenan is not a common ingredient in our products. Our cheeses, butters, yogurt are free of carrageenan.
Thank you again for sharing what is important to you. We pledge to continue working diligently to earn your loyalty because of the quality of our products and because 100% of our profits go to our farmers.
ALERT!!! PetNation reports that the sugar alcohol “xylitol” is poisonous to small pets. Sugar alcohols are a lower calorie sweetening agent that are used by food manufacturers for sugar-free and no-sugar added (NSA) foods such as gums, mints, candy and ice cream.
When the recommended serving size for sugar alcohols is exceeded (which is very easy to do), sugar alcohols cause every kind of gastro-intestinal distress for humans including cramping, bloating, farting and diarrhea. These substances have a more exaggerated effect on pets and can be lethal and/or will make them very sick.
The two most typical sugar alcohols are xylitol and maltitol. All sugar alchols are easily identified by the “ol” ending. Please be extra careful with sugar-free mints, gum and candy that are in your purse or laying around the house or car where a pet can reach it.
Sucanat is the abbreviation of Sugar Cane Natural, and is a type of sugar. It’s marketed as natural, wholesome, healthier alternative to table sugar, but is it? Unlike an apple or a stalk of broccoli, sucanat cannot be picked off a plant, shrub or tree. Therefore, we know that sucanat is not a “natural” food. Yes. It undergoes less processing than table sugar, but it’s still a refined and processed food.
Sugar is made from either beets or sugar cane, but sucanat is only made from sugar cane. The sugar cane is crushed to create a juice. The juice is cooked and reduced into a syrup. The syrup is dehydrated to create large golden-brown sugar granules.
Sucanat and table sugar have many similarites. They both measure the same. They’re both heat tolerant and can be used in every cooking method. They both have 15 calories per teaspoon. Thus, there’s no reduced calorie benefit and there’s no reduced blood sugar benefit from using sucanat.
Sucanat is about 10% less sweet than sugar, but it has a stronger flavor because molasses has not been removed. Many people simply prefer the more robust flavor. Sucanat has 20 mgs of potassium and insignificant (trace) amounts of other minerals.
Oh, and one more thing. A 10-lb bag of sucanat costs about $45. A 10-lb bag of sugar costs about $6.
The Power to Stop: 30-Day Online Coaching Program is for all out-of-control eaters or for anyone with a food addiction. Be honest. Do you perform better if someone else is paying attention to you? Most people do.
This program stacks the deck in your favor, and dramatically strengthens your intention to achieve and sustain the 30-day stopping goal. It’s much more invigorating and enjoyable to share your stopping experience with another, too.
Video: The Power to Stop: 30-Day Coaching/Mentoring Program by Karen Bentley
Stop any unwanted behavior with Karen Bentley’s Power to Stop 30-day coaching/mentoring program. Stop over eating. Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop drugging. Stop sexing. 10 game-changing reasons this easy,doable 4-step program delivers stopping results. Get more info at www.powertostop.com
The 30-Day Online Coaching Program gives you the inspiration to act because someone else cares. It also gives you a standardized daily practicing process to follow, and a friendly monitoring and feedback system. This dramatically increases the likelihood that you’ll walk your own talk and do what you actually say you’re going to do.
Hot off the press. Oreos are as addictive as morphine and cocaine. A team of researchers at Connecticut College did a study and discovered that high sugar foods like oreos (especially the creamy center) stimulate a rat’s brain the same way that drugs do. The more you eat foods made with sugar and other caloric sweeteners, the more you crave them.
A basic weight loss success strategy is to keep yourself full. Seriously, just say no to hunger. The most vulnerable time of the day is in the afternoon, around 4 pm. Instead of reaching for those chips, pack your frig full of foods that fill you up.
Here are four easy-peasy satisfying snacks that don’t have any caloric sweeteners, potatoes, flour or gluten.
1/4 cup store-bought hummus
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
14 raw almonds
1 medium-sized piece of fruit (apple, pear, orange)
This important book is for anyone who has cancer, had cancer, has a genetic predisposition towards cancer or who’s passionately interested in leading edge nutritional information. It’s featured on the Sugar-Free Institute site because sugars and caloric sweeteners are prominently highlighted as foods that promote the growth of cancers and make them behave more aggressively. “…Cancer cells, unlike normal cells, are restricted to using glucose as their main energy fuel,” says author Russell Blaylock, MD.
Blaylock persuasively and effectively drives home the message that cancer can be prevented, lessened, and possibly even cured by what you eat. Nutritional fitness is especially important for those dealing with chemo and radiation treatments because they do such great damage to the immune system.
His bottom line advice is to veggie overdose and to cut out caloric sweeteners,
processed foods, additives and omega-six oils. Those are the supposedly-healthy
polyunsaturated oils that every major health organization says you should eat.
Blaylock also advocates supplementation and gives explicit advice about types,
quantities and how to determine a good manufacturer from a not-so-good one.
Blaylock’s writing style is particularly smart and easy-to-read. He has the rare
ability to explain complex ideas in a way that most people can understand. This
book was so interesting, so informative and so filled with information you won’t
find elsewhere, I literally could not put it down. Honestly, I finished it in
two days with no skimming. I have read hundreds of books on diet and nutrition,
and Natural Strategies stands way up and way apart from the pack.
Do yourself a favor, spend the $11 and give yourself or someone you love the gift of life.
Check out my expose about the American Diabetes Association that’s been published at Blogcritics.org. This organization is totally ineffectual in constructing a message about how to prevent or even slow down the epidemic of type 2 diabetics. A measely 43-word paragraph about prevention is all the ADA offers to the public on their website. Yet PREVENTION is one of the ADA’s three critical missions in life. Huh?
Diet, what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat is a huge factor in preventing type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, when it comes to actionable diet information, the ADA’s type 2 diabetes website messaging is too generic and too watered down to be of much use. They offer more explicit information in their fee-based products, which seems pretty cheesey. Even worse, the ADA lags when it comes to addressing caloric sweeteners and processed foods as the key culprit in the type 2 diabetics diet. An easy, direct and powerful way to keep excess sugar out of the blood is by keeping sugar and foods that quickly convert to sugar out of the mouth, but the ADA doesn’t say this. This is beyond shameful. It’s a crime against humanity.
The ADA needs to step up its act in every way, especially when it comes to measuring and reporting results and becoming more efficient with the dollars they take in. The ADA’s efficiency, for example, is 12-13% behind the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Please ask the ADA to get with the quality program before you pass out any more of your money. They need to focus much more on type 2 diabetics (this is 90% of the diabetes population). They need to measure and report baseline results. They need to give FREE, actionable prevention information away on their website. And they need to use their worldwide platform to actually say something useful rather than just blah blah words that take up space.
The glycemic index or GI is a measure of how rapidly carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise. The index, which was introduced in 1981, uses a 100 point scale to measure the corresponding spike in blood sugar. The higher the GI, the bigger the rise in blood sugar. The lower the GI, the lower and slower the rise in blood sugar. A high GI is 70 and above; medium is 56-69 and low is below 55.
A newly published statement by the International Scientific Consensus Summit affirms the convincing evidence that a low GI diet provides multiple health benefits. A low GI diet, by the way, is also a diet that’s low in sugar or other caloric sweeteners. Here’s a brief summary of the four major benefits.
A low GI…
1. suppresses hunger
2. improves control of blood sugar in type 2 diabetes
3. reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
4. redues the risk of coronary heart disease by improving cholesterol levels and inflammation markers
Tufts University researcher, Nicola McKeown PhD links a low GI diet with reduced risk factors for metabolic syndrome, which is a cluster of symptoms common to diabetes, heart disease and possibly also for advanced macular degeneration. (I have also read elsewhere that a low GI eating style may reduce the risk of alzheimers, but that was not mentioned in the September 2013 Tufts University Health Newsletter, the source for this blog post.) In any case, you get at least four huge advantages from one simple low sugar/low starch eating strategy. Shame on the American Diabetes Association, by the way, for not leading the pack with this kind of life-saving information for type 2 diabetics .
GLYCEMIC INDEX 101
- Only foods containing carbohydrates have a glycemic index. Proteins and fats are not measured by the glycemic index.
- The glyemic index does not measure fructose, which is why an unhealthy substance like agave syrup has a low GI and an undeserved good rep
- Low GI foods include dried beans (legumes), non-starchy vegetables, most fruit, nuts and many whole-grain foods especially oats, barley and rye.
- High GI foods include all caloric sweeteners, white bread, white potatoes, and most baked goods made with flour
- The riper the fruit or vegetable, the higher the GI
- The more the food is processed, pulverized, mashed or liquified, the higher the GI
- The higher the fiber content, the more the GI is moderated
- The more a food is cooked, the higher the GI
- High GI foods can be moderated by eating them in combination with low GI foods
The Ensure Nutrition Shake, which is marketed as “doctor recommended for liquid nutritional products,” has 250 calories, 22 grams of sugar and 1 gram of fiber per shake. Compare this to a milk chocolate Hershey bar which has 210 calories, 24 grams of sugars and 1 gram of fiber. As you can see, just by comparing calories, sugar grams and fiber, the Ensure Nutrition shake more closely resembles a chemically concocted liquid candy bar than a healthy meal replacement or snack.
22 grams of sugar per serving is 7 times higher than the recommended 3 grams of sugar per serving. Even more, the 22 grams of sugar are not offset by any wholesome unrefined foods or by the presence of a high amount of fiber. It’s unclear why a doctor would recommend this product to anyone other than people who might be severely malnourished or to people who are suffering from a wasting disease.
This is why it’s always smart to ignore the marketing hype on the front of the product and go straight to the ingredients list, which is reprinted below for your convenience. The ingredients list is the one any only place where you can actually figure out what’s in the product and whether or not you might want to put it in your mouth. The first ingredient in the Ensure Nutrition Shake is water, which does not count as a food. The first food is sugar, which is what there’s the most of in this product. The second food is corn maltodextrin, another highly processed ingredient you can easily live without and never miss. The third food is milk protein concentrate, but any health goodness that comes from the protein is negated by the the long list of chemicals that follow.
ENSURE INGREDIENTS: Water, Sugar, Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Soy Oil, Soy Protein Isolate, Pea Protein Concentrate, Canola Oil. Less than 0.5% of the Following: Corn Oil, Magnesium Phosphate, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Potassium Citrate, Cellulose Gel, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Citrate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Ascorbic Acid, Cellulose Gum, Monoglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Carrageenan, Potassium Hydroxide, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Cupric Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Chromium Chloride, Biotin, Sodium Molybdate, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Selenate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin.
The Ensure Nutrition Shake is manufactured by Abbott Nutrition, which also produces Similac, Pediasure, Glucerna, Zone Perfect and other brands. Ensure exemplifies how food manufacturers successfully con the consumer with fake but compelling messages about nutritional health and adequacy. DON’T BE FOOLED. This product is a poor choice in every way, and is especially inappropriate for people who want to avoid caloric sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are a family of man-made substances that have the ability to sweeten foods and drinks but with no calories or very low calories. On a diabetic exchange, they’re considered a free food because they have less than 20 calories and less than 5 grams of carbohydrate. Technically, artificial sweeteners do not include another class of low calorie man-made products known as sugar alcohols. Sugar alcohols are discussed in this article because food manufacturers use them like artificial sweeteners, and then legally claim they’re offering a natural product with no artificial sweeteners.
There are three clear benefits of using artificial sweeteners and/or sugar alcohols. The primary advantage is that they don’t raise blood sugar, and they don’t prompt the over production of insulin to process excess sugar in the blood. Some experts caution, however, that we may be like Pavlov’s famous dog and any sweet-tasting food can prompt an insulin response, regardless of whether it’s made with a caloric sweetener, an artificial sweetener or a sugar alcohol. This is not a universally accepted or proven scientific assumption.
The second advantage of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols is that calorie consumption is reduced. Artificial sweeteners have zero or negligible calories, and sugar alcohols have roughly half the calories of table sugar. Lower caloric intake is, of course, the most popular weight loss theory and strategy. That said, artificial sweeteners may not actually lessen caloric consumption because people who rely on them may intuitively consume the difference in calories from other foods and drinks. Studies related to consumption of diet soda, for example, do not always demonstrate weight loss.
The third advantage is that artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols do not trigger out-of-control eating or food binges. The out-of-control eating population predominantly, but not exclusively, affects women. The size of this group is unknown and understudied, but is estimated to be anywhere from 10% to 40% of the dieting population. Trigger-free foods are important to people who struggle with excessive, frequent over eating episodes.
Every rose has its thorn, and every single artificial sweetener and sugar alcohol is linked to a health issue or problem, highlighted below. Our government says the substances are GRAS, which means generally recognized as safe for human consumption, and maybe they are. There is, after all, no definitive, publicly available reporting about anyone dying directly from these sweetening agents. Further, it’s exceedingly difficult to isolate the exact impact of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. And what major food company would fund a research study to undercut their own products? That said, many are concerned that the FDA approval process may be influenced by large multi-national corporations with indefatigable assets and political clout. Big food companies have the resources to out smart, out play and out last changes from one political administration to another. This is especially relevant to keep in mind now that our government budget is shrinking and corporate profits are bulging.
A summary of FDA-approved artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols follows. Note that the FDA does not require food manufacturers to include any substance on the food label if the ingredient is less than 1% of the recipe. It’s problematic because this leaves the door open to consume a wide range of unreported chemicals including highly concentrated and potent artificial sweetening agents.
Saccharin (Sweet N Low)
Saccharin was first approved by the FDA in 1912 and is the granddaddy of all artificial sweeteners. It was first championed by Teddy Roosevelt who said “anyone who says saccharin is injurious to health is an idiot.” Since then and continuing through the present day, saccharin has been the subject of ongoing controversy. The FDA attempted to ban it in 1977 because some studies linked animal consumption of saccharin to bladder cancer. The ban failed, but products made with saccharin had to display a warning label. This warning label was removed 13 years later in 2000. Some claim the warning label was removed as a political favor by Bill Clinton on his way out of office. Saccharin is illegal in Canada.
Despite internet claims that saccharin is the most popular artificial sweetener, usage of saccharin in packaged foods and drinks has dramatically declined over the past 15 years, presumably because of the warning label and/or because of the introduction of sucralose. Saccharin is still available for individual purchase as a tabletop sweetener commercially known as Sweet N Low, and it’s used in some diet sodas, typically in combination with another non-caloric sweetening agent such as aspartame.
Sweet N Low is owned by Cumberland Packing Corp. The ingredients for Sweet N Low is nutritional dextrose (derived from corn starch), saccharin, cream of tartar and calcium silicate (an anti-caking agent). Saccharin is heat tolerant, and it can be used in cooking. 12 packets = 1 cup.
Aspartame was approved by the FDA for dry goods in 1981 and for liquids in 1983. Like saccharin, aspartame is riddled with ongoing controversy. Gossip links the approval of aspartame to a political favor from newly elected president Ronald Reagan to his friend Donald Rumsfeld, who was then the president of Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame. Aspartame is now owned and manufactured by Monsanto.
Early research findings suggested that aspartame caused brain tumors in animals. In 1997 60 Minutes did an article on aspartame linking it to brain tumors in humans. Legions of unofficial anecdotal claims have popped up linking aspartame consumption to a wide range of neurological problems such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, migraines/headaches, dizziness, and more. Internet posts warn that aspartame should not be consumed by children or pregnant women. None of these claims have been conclusively proven. People with the genetic disease PKU (phenylketonuria) should not consume aspartame because it cannot be processed by the body.
Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar, and is commonly found in many low-calorie or sugar-free drinks and foods. Because the flavor breaks down under prolonged high temperatures, aspartame is best used in no-heat or no-bake recipes.
Aspartame is also known by its chemical name: phenylalanine. Some manufacturers hide small doses of aspartame in foods, supplements, and medicines, by simply saying contains phenylalanine.
The most popular table-top brand of aspartame is Equal, which is owned and manufactured by J. W. Childs Equity Partners. The ingredients in the original Equal packets are dextrose with maltodextrin, aspartame and acesulfame potassium.
Neotame was approved by the FDA for general use in 2002. It’s chemically similar aspartame, but about 30 times sweeter. Consequently, only very low quantities of neotame are needed to provide a sweetening quality. Neotame is safe for people with PKU.
Neotame is not available for individual purchase but is often blended with other sweeteners and is used as an ingredient in many manufactured food products. Because of the tiny dose, neotame is not always listed as an ingredient and is likely to be camoflaged as a natural flavor.
Sucralose was approved by the FDA for general consumption in 1998, and quickly became the most popular artificial sweetening substance, not only in the United States but throughout the world. It’s used in over 4,500 foods and beverages.
Sucralose is made by chlorinating simple table sugar. The big objection to sucralose is that chlorinated compounds may accumulate in the body, be highly carcinogenic and cause immune dysfunction. The FDA claims, however, that just 11% to 27% of the chlorinated compound is absorbed into the body.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar, three times sweeter than aspartame and twice as sweet as saccharin. Only a very small dose of sucralose is needed to achieve a sweetening quality. In fact, about 95% of the product that you see is maltodextrin, a flavorless white powder filler that’s enzymatically made from corn starch.
Splenda is manufactured by McNeil Specialty Products, a spin-off of Johnson & Johnson. Ingredients are maltodextrin and sucralose. Splenda measures the same as sugar and is heat stable, meaning that sweet taste and flavor hold up under prolonged cooking.
Stevia Rebaudiana is a small tropical herbal shrub from Paraguay and Brazil. (Stevia is the genus and Rebaudiana is species.) Rebaudiana , which is also known as Reb A or rebiana, is the extract that tastes like licorice and has a somewhat sweet quality. The FDA approved stevia leaves for use as an individual food supplement in 1995, and then in 2012 it approved stevia Reb A extract as a food additive. Like sugar, stevia extract bears little resemblance to the original plant. In fact, the 2012 FDA approval strictly prohibits use of the entire stevia leaf as an additive. Stevia in leaf form, however, can still be purchased individually as a table top supplement.
Stevia’s enhanced approval status immediately gave birth to a variety stevia-blend type products developed by big food companies. The two most popular stevia blends are Truvia (by Cargill/CocaCola) and Purevia (by Pepsico/Whole Earth Sweetener Co). Truvia quickly became the second most popular sugar substitute after Splenda. It’s made from rebiana, erythritol and natural flavors. Rebiana is the stevia extract, erythritol is a sugar-alcohol (a wholly man-made substance described below) and natural flavors can be anything less than 1% of the product, including neotame, a cousin to aspartame. Truvia does not measure the same as sugar, but it can be used in cooking.
Purevia is made from dextrose, cellulose powder, natural flavors and rebaudioside A. Dextrose is a corn starch, cellulose is the woody fiber that comes from plants, and as already discussed, natural flavors can be anything that’s less than 1% of the product. At the bottom of the ingredients list is rebaudioside A, the least important ingredient in the Purevia recipe. Like Truvia, Purevia does not measure the same as sugar, but it can be used in cooking.
Stevia by itself is not all that sweet, which is why an enhanced sweetening agent is needed. Most typically, stevia is blended with erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Some stevia blends are made with sugar and may be referred to as light sugar. Always read the ingredients list when buying a stevia product so that you know for sure what you’re getting.
Sugar Alcohols In laymen’s terms, a sugar alcohol can be thought of as a half-sugar. This is because sugar alcohols have about half the sweetness and half the calories of sugar. So, for example, most sugar alcohols are about 60% to 75% as sweet as sugar and range from 2.0 to 2.6 calories per gram instead of 4. In chemical terms, a sugar alcohol partly resembles sugar and partly resembles alcohol, but it’s neither a sugar nor an alcohol, and no one gets drunk consuming sugar alcohols. Rather, sugar alcohols are compounds known as polyols. It’s easy to identify a sugar alcohol by the “ol” ending.
The most common sugar alcohols include erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Erythritol and xylitol can be purchased by individuals as a table-top supplement. But more typically, these substances are ingredients in a blend. Maltitol and sorbitol are the most common sweetening agents used in sugar-free or no sugar added products.
Sugar alcohols are made from corn (or another starch) that’s been treated with enzymes. Some sugar alcohols are made by the hydrogenation of the treated starch and others are made by the fermentation of the treated starch. Note that anything with the word hydrogenation in it should be viewed with suspicion. Hydrogenated fats, for example, are trans fats, which scientists and researchers universally agree is the most toxic man-made kind of fat. It’s unknown whether hydrogenated carbohydrates have the same toxic impact on health, and it’s impossible to know which treatment you’re getting from information on the food label.
The downside of any sugar alcohol is that it’s not fully absorbed by the body, and it ferments in the intestine. This can cause digestive and elimination problems like bloating, cramping, farting, excessive pooping or diarrhea. It’s very important to notice and to observe the recommended serving size when consuming a sugar alcohol, which is usually 50 grams or about 1.8 ounces per serving. Not everyone is affected by sugar alcohols in the same way, and some sugar alcohols may be more disruptive than others. The population most at risk for gastro-intestinal problems are children, people who are smaller than average, and people who have pre-existing digestive or elimination issues.
Sugar alcohols are also made for industrial purposes. Ethylene glycol and methanol are two non-consumable, highly toxic sugar alcohols that are used in antifreeze.
Conclusion One choice is to simply stick with sugar and other caloric sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, agave nectar and corn syrup. Weight Watchers, for example, publishes and recommends recipes that use table sugar rather than artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. Obviously, you can eat sugar and still lose weight. Still, for some, caloric sweeteners are metabolic poison and a trigger for pigging out. You have to decide where you fit on the continuum. Can you handle a little sugar or not? Are highly processed caloric sweeteners more or less objectionable to you than artificial sweeteners, which are also highly processed?
Another choice is to eat clean. Eating clean is a style of eating where all processed foods are eliminated from the diet and only whole, natural foods are consumed. Under this scenario all caloric sweeteners, all artificial sweeteners and all sugar alcohols are eliminated from the diet. Eating clean is the ideal choice in an ideal world, but it may be too big of a leap for many people. Again, you have to decide for yourself if you’re ready to make a dramatic eating and lifestyle change or if you’d prefer a smaller one.
The last choice is to pick the least objectionable artificial sweetener and to use it in moderation. Moderation means that the substance is consumed in small amounts and to limit frequency to twice a day or less. This is my personal decision and eating style. For me, sucralose is the least objectionable artificial sweetener. I would not knowinglyput aspartame,neotame or saccharin in my mouth, and I react strongly to sugar alcohols.
The bottomline: You have to figure out what you’ll eat or not eat. My mission is to give you the tools and the inspiration to do it.
The source of this article is mostly from the August 2013 Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter. For more information, visit http://www.tuftshealthletter.com.
So called “smart” dietary fat choices have been known to provide protection to the heart, and the good news is that these smart fats also provide protection to the brain. The results of two new studies, both which focus on the Mediterranean Diet, show that people who consume higher levels of monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat (especially a type of polyunsaturated fat known as Omega-3) and less saturated fat have a lower risk for cognitive decline. Cognitive is a catch-all term that refers to mental processes such as attention, memory, understanding, reasoning and problem-solving.
Monounsaturated fats are named “mono” because they have one double bond in the fatty acid chain. The single bond makes monounsaturated fats very stable, and because of this monounsaturated oils are not damaged by heat and are a safe choice for cooking. Common sources of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, canola oil, olives, avocados, nuts, cashews, oatmeal, whole milk and some red meats.
Polyunsaturated fats are named “poly” because they have two or more double bonds in the fatty acid chain. The multiple bonds make polyunsaturated fats less stable, and because of this they may be damaged by heat and convert to trans fats when heat is applied. This is why cooking with polyunsaturated oils is not recommended. Common sources of polyunsaturated fats are corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds, salmon, mackerel, herring and trout.
Now for the two studies. The first study is based on data from 17,478 healthy participants, average age 64. Results showed that those eating a Mediterranean-style diet were 19% less likely to develop cognitive impairment over a four year period. The second study is a small PREDIMED-NAVARRA trial that compared a control group of people who ate a low fat diet and with another group of people who followed a Mediterranean-style diet that included at least four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil every day. The people who cosumed olive oil and who followed the Mediterranean-style diet scored significantly better on two mental tests than the control group and were less likely to be diagnosed with dementia after a 6.5 year follow-up.
“Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols,” says Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts HNRCA Nutrition and Neurocognition Laboratory. Polyphenols “are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammaion has beenr elated to a number of age-related disorders, including cardiovascular disease ad cognitive decline.”
Check out the family of That’s It snack bars for an easy, convenient and healthy snack that doesn’t have any caloric sweeteners, refined flours, preservatives or other chemicals added to it. There are four different varieties: apple/cherries, apple/apricots, apple/pears and apple/mangoes. The reason for the unusual That’s It name is because the only ingredients are the fruit combinations, and that’s it!
Each snack bar has just 100 calories, zero fat, 3 grams of fiber and is roughly equivalent to 2 servings of fruit. I personally sampled the apple/apricot bar, and was totally surprised by how flavorful and filling it was. Generally, I’m highly suspicious of so-called healthy snack bars because most of them are candy in disguise, but That’s It is a rare exception.
The That’s It snack bar cost me $1.89 for 1.2 ounces, which equates to about $25 per pound. $1.89 is in the range of average for single snack or meal replacement bars, which generally cost $1.50 to $2.50 each. Note that the www.thatsitfruit.com website sells 12-packs for $19.99 plus S&H. Clearly, even at the discounted bulk price, it’s much cheaper, just as convenient and nutritionally richer to simply eat fresh fruit. That said, That’s It products will appeal to a large group of people including mom’s, kids, low-calorie dieters, vegans, and people who are looking for products that are gluten-free.
With 27 grams of carbohydrates and 23 grams of sugar, That’s It is a highly concentrated source of naturally-occurring sugar and much higher than the recommended 3 grams of sugar per serving. However, the impact on elevating blood sugar is somewhat mitigated by the 3 grams of naturally-occurring fiber and by the relatively small caloric value of the product. Also, concentrated fruit does not trigger a binge-eating episode, a big plus for out-of-control eaters. My primary reason for giving this product a one thumb up recommendation rather than two is because of the high sugar content. Anyone counting carbs or sugar grams or for those on a sugar-free diet should consider That’s It a treat kind of food, something that’s eaten once in a while and not every day.
I stumbled across the That’s It product line quite by accident. A few days ago I got desperately hungry while I was out running some shopping errands. There were no grocery stores or convenience stores around, so I cruised into a health food store to get a little bag of nuts, but they didn’t have any. As a last resort, I ended up standing in front of the snack bar display searching for a product that didn’t have caloric sweeteners, flour or lots of chemicals in it. No easy task. I was about to give up when the cashier finally drew my attention to That’s It, and I was glad she did.
The United Arab Emirates is paying a gram of gold, which is about $45 USD, to citizens who lose a minimum of 2 kilograms of body weight (4.4 lbs) in a 30-day challenge period. There’s no limit on payout of gold. The purpose of this program is to encourage healthier lifestyles.
Karen Bentley is the founder of The Sugar-Free Institute and an expert on sugar-free eating. She’s also an author, educator, coach and speaker. Her most recent book, The Power to Stop, is an Amazon Kindle bestseller.
Be A Sugar Detective
Video: Be a Sugar-Free Food Detective by Karen Bentley
Karen Bentley teaches you how to read the ingredients list on packaged foods to figure out how much sugar has been added by the food manufacturer. Find more information at http://sugarfreeinstitute.com.