Today’s blog is what my son would call “One of my Mother’s Rants”. As you may know I am rewriting my food plan book. And so I am reading a lot of the literature about artificial sweeteners. And, as the Universe would have it, a number of people have been in my office with problems with these products this month. And as I do the research, I get more and more annoyed. So here is just a bit of what I am finding, briefly, I hope, with a few opinions thrown in!
These non-nutritive artificial sweeteners are approved by the FDA for use as sweeteners: Saccharin – sold as Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet ‘N Low Brown, Nectasweet; Aspartame – sold as NutraSweet, Equal, or Sugar Twin; Acesulfame K – sold as Sunett, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One; Sucralose – sold as Splenda; Stevia – sold as Truvia, PureVia, Pyure, Enlighten and SunCrystals; Neotame – mostly used in manufacturing.
All are much sweeter by volume than sugar. Because of this they are sold in packets with an extender, or bulk-adding product like dextrose or maltodextrin. These extenders are sugars or sugar analogs – other types of sugar-like foods. (That’s mostly so there will be enough volume that you can see them in the packet, but some come in a glycerin/water solution and a dropper.)
I will talk about the other sweeteners in future blogs, but today, I want to rant about Truvia and Stevia.
The newest substitute is Truvia. Truvia is not the same product as Stevia. The disappointing truth is that, despite the fact that Truvia is marketed as a “stevia-based sugar substitute,” it is NOT equivalent to Stevia. The ingredient list for Truvia is as follows: Erythritol, Rebiana and Natural Flavors. Just three ingredients and Stevia isn’t even one of them! Erythritol is a sugar alcohol which is made by processing genetically modified corn; (sugar alcohols are strong triggers and have unpleasant side effects). Rebiana is derived from a Stevia plant. Rebiana is not the same thing as Stevia. It is a molecule of the stevia plant. Less than one percent.
And what are Natural Flavors? Does that mean they added chemicals to make the product taste like stevia? Stevia is a real plant. You could grow it in your garden. The truth is that Truvia is really primarily a sugar alcohol. Truvia is 99.9% pure genetically modified erythritol and less than a half percent of something made from Stevia. Avoid it if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols.
Dr Axe says, “The worst option is altered and overly processed “stevia” like Truvia. It’s really not stevia at all by time a product like Truvia goes through a 42-step process to make this processed sweetener. First, the rebaudioside is extracted from the stevia leaf, and then chemical solvents are added, including acetonitrile, which is toxic to the liver and is a carcinogen. Then the producers add in a GMO corn derivative called erythritol. (4) Truvia or rebaudioside stevia products are about 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. (5)” https://draxe.com/stevia-side-effects/
If you read twenty more sources, you will find twenty more opinions. But they will all agree that Truvia is not the same as Stevia, and if it causes problems for you, you ought to avoid it. And they will not say that many of us are sensitive to the effects of the sweet tastes of sugar alcohols, even though they are not really sugars, by some definitions.
The current trend is to blend these high intensity sweeteners with each other or with sugars or sugar analogs to create the desired sweetness, texture, and consistency for the product. Depending on your individual sensitivities, the sweeteners themselves can affect many body processes, or the sweet taste may call up memories of other binge or trigger foods, or of your past binge eating experiences. If you are sensitive to one or the other of these products, you may notice increased anxiety, irritability, headaches, and cravings after using it. If you are having unexplained cravings or difficulty following your food plan, look at your use of sweeteners. If you suspect they may be causing problems for you, remove them.
We who are sensitive have to do whatever we think is best for our bodies. We have to pay attention to every food label and every ingredient. This is what gives us a strong recovery. Pay attention to breath mints, dry mouth sprays, and other man made objects designed to be put into your mouth. If you cannot or will not read the label, or do not understand what you are reading, do not put the product into your body!
Also, check with your doctor about all of these products if you are pregnant or lactating or have other medical problems which may be affected by them.
I want you to avoid these as much as you can. You may use up to 6 packets a day of any or of a mixture of these sweeteners, but not more than 6 packets total. If you find yourself mixing sweeteners or using more than 6 packets or “stretching” counting, waiting for the next one, or mixing to sneak in an extra one), then you need to avoid them.
Instead of these products, try sugar free alcohol free vanilla or other flavors, or some real spices. If you need help finding them, just call the office. And please, in the comments below, tell me your experiences. And ask any questions you have.
Thanks for letting me rant.