by Laurie Lynch, ND

Are you concerned about the safety of sweetening agents? The sugars naturally occurring in fresh foods are safest and supply energy needs. No one should eat added sugars on a regular basis. But if you want additional sweets, I've listed sweeteners according to health benefits and safety, starting with the safest and ending with the most toxic.

Healthy unprocessed sweeteners:                                                                                                                            
1. Fruit, fresh, raw, and organically grown, is loaded with nutrients and fiber. R
aw juicy fruits,  eaten on an empty stomach, help burn off fat!  (Cooking fruit destroys nutrients and increases acidity).            

2. Raw Honey is a complete food if it is raw, unfiltered, and unprocessed. It has bactericidal, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties that help build immune function and regenerate damaged cells. It doesn't bother my teeth as sugar does. One tablespoon contains 60 calories, converts into energy faster than sugar, and is twice as sweet. Honey, when eaten with whole grains, does not disrupt blood sugar levels. Tupelo honey is absorbed slower and helps insulin receptors to function better. (Cooking honey, as most commercial processors do, decreases nutrients, and increases acidity.

3.  Stevia leaf, used by diabetics worldwide, is 300 times sweeter than sugar, best used fresh from the plant,  has no calories, contains vitamins and minerals, lowers high blood pressure, discourages bacterial growth, and improves digestion.  most Stevia products are too processed and can have harmful effects.

Less harmful processed sweeteners:                                                                                                      

4.  Agave syrup, made from Agave cactus, tastes like a cross between honey and maple syrup.

5. Ki-sweet, from kiwi fruit, is low glycemic and 10 times sweeter than sugar.

6.  Lo Han Kuo fruit extract (SlimSweet), made from a Chinese fruit, has no calories, doesn't raise blood sugar, and is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.

7. Date sugar is high in nutrients but may contain mold. 

8. Processed Stevia is an alcohol extract, alcohol based granule, or dry leaf powder.

9. Brown rice syrup (75 calories per tablespoon) absorbes slowly, causing less blood sugar spikes, and is less sweet. 

10.  Sorghum syrup (sucrose), from sorghum plants, retains nutrients.

11. Trehalose produced from cornstarch, can cause allergies and stomach irritations.             

12. Sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Sorbitol, Erythritol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Lactitol) are 1/3 the calories of sugar, have less effect on blood sugar levels, but may cause gas and/or diarrhea.

13. Barley malt (malto dextrin) digests slowly, is half as sweet as sugar, and promotes the growth of harmful yeasts.                                                                                                               
14. Fruit concentrates (28 calories per tablespoon) a combination of fructose, glucose, and sucrose, are heat- processed, making them acidic, mold forming, and triglyceride elevating.

15. Inulin (Beflora (sweet as sugar), BeFlora Plus (10 times sweeter than sugar), and Bake Flora (sweet as sugar), is high fiber, low in blood sugar effects, promotes the growth of beneficial flora, but contains small amounts of the artificial sweetener, Acesulfame K.

16. Molasses (sucrose, 47 calories per tablespoon), a by product of refining sugar cane, contains some nutrients.

17. Maple syrup (65% sucrose) 1 tablespoon- 52 calories.  Processing may cause contamination with lead, formaldehyde, chemical anti-foaming agents, polishing chemicals, and/or animal fats.  Maple syrup goes into the blood stream faster than sugar and can cause blood sugar fluctuations.

18. Corn syrup (fructose) is 20 times sweeter than sugar, has 60 calories per tablespoon. It can interfere with the heart's use of minerals, deplete immune function, and raise cholesterol.  High fructose corn syrup is made from corn that has been genetically engineered, resulting in the presence of tumor-causing bacteria, pathogenic viruses, and toxins.

19. Pure fructose contains no nutrients and robs the body of its nutrients, interferes with the heart’s use of minerals, raises cholesterol, causes blood clots, immune dysfunction, infertility, heart arrhythmias, heart attacks, blood sugar problems, anemia, and defects in connective tissue, arteries, and bone.

20. D-Tagatose (Whey-Low, Naturlose are lactose,) has ¼ the calories of sugar, with a lower glycemic index, but can cause allergies.

21.  Dried cane juice (Sucanet) is sucrose, and has some calories and some nutrients, but can cause blood sugar problems.  

22. Raw or Natural Sugar (sucrose) is a white cane sugar that can affect blood sugar.                                                                                

23. Turbinado Sugar (sucrose, 45 calories per tablespoon) is a partially refined sugar with 2/3 the molasses removed.

24. Dextrose, (glucose) made from cornstarch, is a prime ingredient in processed foods and may cause allergies.

25. Brown sugar (sucrose) 48 calories per tablespoon, can negatively affect blood sugar levels, and promote the increase of disease-causing fungi.

26. Cane sugar (sucrose, 45 calories per tablespoon) is a highly processed disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose. It negatively affects blood sugar levels, weakens the immune system, causes mucus formation, and promotes the increase of  disease-causing fungi..

27. Beet sugar (sucrose), is the most commonly used, and is often genetically engineered. It negatively affects blood sugar levels, and promotes the increase of fungi, and may contain tumor-causing bacteria and pathogenic viruses..

Unsafe refined sugars are bleached, and depleted of nutrients, which depletes our body of its own nutrients. They can cause over-acidity, toxic accumulation in the brain and nervous system, cellular death, degenerative diseases, carbonic poisoning, diabetes, hypoglycemia, damaged glands and organs, and immune dysfunction. These sugars are absorbed so quickly that they turn directly into sticky fat, clogging arteries, increasing the chance of stroke, and decreasing athletic performance. 

Harmful artificial sweeteners                                                                                                                                   

28. Saccharin (Sweet  N Low, Sugar Twin, Sucaryl, Sweet Magic, Zero-Cal), 500 times sweeter than sugar, may cause allergies.
29. Acesulfam-K ( Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One) can cause blood sugar problems, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease. 

30. Cyclamate (Sugar Twin) can cause toxic accumulations and reactions.

31. Sucralose (Splenda), made from chlorine and sugar, can cause immunological and/or neurological disorders, shrunken thymus glands, enlarged liver and kidneys, reduced growth rate, anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, nerve, joint, and chest pain, allergic reactions, and diarrhea.

32. Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), the most dangerous and most extensively used in processed foods, is a genetically engineered neurotoxin that causes holes in the brain, nervous system damage, mood swings, cancer, allergies, methyl alcohol poisoning, etc.

Here's a quick, healthy way to satisfy that sweet tooth:

2 ripe BANANAS                                                                                  4 ripe PEACHES
1 tsp CINNAMON, optional                                                                  1 tsp PSYLLIUM

Finely chop 1 banana and 2 peaches. Puree remaining fruit, mix in psyllium, and spoon over chopped fruit. Also good frozen.

* Dr. H.J. Roberts, Aspartame (NutraSweet) Is It Safe?, Charles Press, page 283/84., http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-sweeteners.html

* Russell L. Blaylock, Neurosurgeon, russell@misnet.com, Aspartame toxicity, 1999

* Trocho, C, et al, 1998, Formaldehyde Derived from Dietary Aspartame Binds to Tissue Components in Vivo, Life Science, Vol. 63, No. 5, pp. 337-349, http://www.aspartame.ca/page_a14.html
*  Deadly Deception, Mary Nash Stoddard, Odenwald Press,
Dallas Texas, 1009, Aspartame Consumer Safety Network     214-387-4001   214-352-4268
* Aspartame Consumer Safety Network-List of Adverse Effects, February 1994, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS 1994
* Food and Drug Administration "Final Rule” for Sucralose, 21 CFR Part 172, Docket No. 87F-0086.
* Hunter BT. Sucralose. Consumers' Research Magazine, Oct90, Vol. 73 Issue 10, p8, 2p.
* Sucralose Toxicity Information Center
* The Secret Dangers of Splenda (Sucralose), an Artificial Sweetener http://www.mercola.com/2000/dec/3/sucralose_dangers.htm#

 Laurie Lynch is a Wellness Consultant, Naturopathic Doctor, Master Herbalist, Nutrition expert at the Living Well Health & Education Center, (910) 426-5159.

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      Copyright © Laurie Lynch, N.D., 2008-2011