Monday, March 30, 2015

A Guide to Sweeteners: Washington Post with Periodic Table

Now that you have watched Dr. Lustig's video on the impact of fructose and sugar on your metabolism, you may be interested to know more about the other varieties of sweeteners you find in packaged foods, in your food and on the shelves. You may be asking "are artificial sweeteners safe to use instead of sugar or corn syrup or fructose"?

When it comes to aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose, a recent study found that these three artificial sugar substitutes can upset the balance of intestinal flora, causing glucose intolerance in mice and it has been found to be the same in some human tests.


Do we want to have the most healthy intestinal flora, sometimes called microbiome that we can get? Yes! 
Is it easy to upset that living, breathing group of living organisms in our gut when we live in the modern world where everything we eat, or drink or swallow can influence the "bugs". Again yes!

Is there an easy way to reestablish and maintain a healthy microbiome? I think yes, a specific carbohydrate diet, described in Gut and Psychology Syndrome, with clean water, and avoiding chemicals as much as possible. 

Below is a succinct chart on the sweeteners available. It reminds us that while raw honey has many good properties, including being a antibiotic for skin infections, it does have a lot of calories and fructose, and should be used sparingly. And with fat to lower its impact on glucose metabolism. In a recipe calling for honey, I tend to cut the amount in half and I find I do get a tasty product still. 

I also like maple syrup, in small amounts and stevia leaf powder

A guide to sweeteners

By Patterson Clark and Lazaro Gamio, Published: March 2, 2015

Too much sugar can be detrimental to health, rotting teeth, building fat, damaging blood vessels and stressing out the system that regulates blood sugar. Some people turn to artificial sweeteners, but those are under increasing suspicion of creating metabolic problems, such as diabetes and obesity. Natural alternative sweeteners exist, but even they have pitfalls if consumed in excess.Read related article.

Sweeteners: a periodic table
This table charts the wide variety of sweeteners available in the United States, either in bulk amounts or as additives in food. Not listed are super-sweet- tasting, zero-calorie proteins from several African fruits (monellin, brazzein and thaumatin), which have not been approved for use by the FDA. Also not included: banned or poisonous sweeteners, such as lead acetate, which ancient Romans made by cooking sour wine in lead pots.

It is tempting to try out a new sweetener that we may see at the health food store, but they really have not been tested for long term safety and so I can't recommend them. They are also frequently in combination with fructose. 

How much fructose is safe to eat? For the average person probably 10- 15 grams a day.

You may be wondering how this story is linked to the subject of brain health and gluten sensitivity. Inflammation and blood sugar imbalances are linked to mental health symptoms, neurological conditions and to gut dysbiosis. Alzheimer's, as an example, is called type 3 diabetes for a reason. 

To Your Health
Dr. Barbara