Sweetening the Pot, Safely!

Last time, we looked at some of the undesirable effects of eating high-glycemic diets – that is, those that are high in sugars and white flours. We basically agreed that, while sweet things will always hold a special place in our hearts, there are tons of reasons to switch to a low-glycemic diet and make sugary confections a “sometimes food”.

Here’s a quick tip: Don’t click on that link if you don’t want a super-groovy song featuring a bebopin’ owl and some psychedelic dancing fruit stuck in your head all day. But if that’s your thing, click away!

One thing we didn’t talk about was other types of sweeteners – what should we do about those? Artificial sweeteners are generally bad news. They’re in almost every diner in America, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe to eat. Your body doesn’t recognize artificial sweeteners as food, so it doesn’t know what to do with them. They either sit in your digestive system or they permeate your intestinal walls and run around in your blood stream, causing trouble. Studies have linked artificial sweeteners to headaches and nausea, and other research suggests that they can kill off good bacteria in your digestive tract and lower your immune system. And they have that weird aftertaste – am I right?

It’s definitely best to avoid the five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners: Aspartame (brand names NutraSweet® and Equal®), Saccharin (brand name Sweet’N Low®), Sucralose (brand name Splenda®), Acesulfame K (or acesulfame potassium), and Neotame (produced by the NutraSweet Company).

Now the Great News – there are zero-calorie sweeteners that are great for you, and natural!

Stevia, a natural, no-calorie sweetener that comes from the stevia plant, is 100 times sweeter than sugar, so a bottle will last you months, and you won’t have the anxiety that comes with filling your body with chemical-laden artificial sweeteners. Because really, that’s nobody’s thing.

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