"Fake" sugars

By teacherspet Latest Reply 2013-05-29 17:33:07 -0500
Started 2013-05-25 21:21:22 -0500

I am reading some recipes created for diabetics specifically. The ones that make life interesting, fun and make you feel like there is nothing wrong with your pancreas. Most of them call for some kind of artificial sweetner. I am wondering your thoughts on these. I will eat and drink things that are called "sugar free" but have artificial sugars in them, or none at all. I have cooked with artificial sweetners with horrible to great results. But the latest information says that these can cause all sorts of problems to other areas of your body. So what's a person to do? What do you think? Would you ever use half or a quarter real sugar over artificial sweetners, or go with those that are "fake" and hope for the best?

19 replies

diabeticquest 2013-05-29 17:33:07 -0500 Report

Here is a list of NO-NO sugars in the sneaky form: Agave, Crystalline fructose, Invert sugar, Muscovato, Barley malt syrup, Dextrose, Malt, Succanat, Brown rice syrup, Evaporated can juice, Malt syrup, Sucrose, Corn sweeteners, Fructose, Maltodextrin, Turbinado sugar, Corn syrup, High-fructose corn syrup and Maltose, sucralose (Splenda), Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), saccharin (Sweet N Low). Check out Purdue University Ingestive Behavior Research Center for the study on saccharin and Duke University Medical Center on their research in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health on Sucrlose. I know some are obvious, others not. Almost all substitute sweeteners have one or more of these ingredients in them. Splenda, when heated, as in baking, turns to a carcinogen. So yes, it's probably better in ice cream (I haven't studied that) but just make some homemade sorbets with real fruit for the ice cream craving. Thus far, after two years of testing, research it comes down to Stevia, the safest of all. The problem with Stevia is the taste, but you can find some that taste pretty good, though you're going to have to ask your local health food store for it as all stores don't carry every brand. The next is Xylitol, buy that brand name as some of it comes from foreign countries and don't hold to the same processing standard. With Xylitol you can use it pretty much 1 to 1…if it calls for a cup of sugar, use a cup of Xylitol. I use less as we don't like things all that sweet. Yes, it is pricey. Also, I have found that most of the diabetic cookbooks are not really out their to help you, more like throwing you under the bus with many of their recipes. I share with folks to use a little common sense…white flour, white sugar (any sugars) brown, raw…sugar is sugar, are detrimental to your diabetic health. If you are wheat intolerant then use brown rice flour. The health food store have other things to use…ask. But do your own research as well. I hope this helps. Good eating!!

Nick1962 2013-05-29 14:20:33 -0500 Report

I don't use them at all. Don't like the bitter aftertaste (I have a sensitivity to it) and all they do for me is continue to feed my sweet cravings. Since givin up sweets, I rarely have any cravings. When I do, only a small amount of a "real" sweet (like a fun size candy bar or even as little as a quarter of a muffin) usually cures the crave.

Fefe12 2013-05-29 02:26:52 -0500 Report

Thats a tuff question to answer. So many people do so many different things. I dont believe in "fake" sugar. I really dont like fake anything. I take very good care of myself and respect my body too much to put chemicals in it. I had a friend once who asked me "why do americans drink chemicals?"
after rereading the label it dawned on me the only people benefitting from my drinking this product was the people making it not me. So now I keep my money and my health. Only natural for me.

lbow226 2013-05-28 16:36:47 -0500 Report

I think the most important thing to consider when considering to use artificial sweeteners is the potential side effects. The more natural ones like Splenda, Stevia and Truvia are the ones that I choose. They don't have the bitter aftertaste and don't contain what I call the "P" word (phenylalanine) which has been known to cause seizures, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other health related issues. If I eat or drink anything that contains phenylalanine I get severe headaches. I DO NOT allow my children to drink diet drinks of any kind that are sweetened with phenylalanine. Diet Rite is the only soda that I can find that is sweetened with Spenda and the only diet drink I can drink and will allow my children to drink. When you're searching for sugar free or low calorie drinks, pay attention to the labels and know what sweetener is being used so you can make the best choice for you and your family.

Type1Lou 2013-05-28 09:39:26 -0500 Report

My artificial sweetener of choice is Splenda since it is unaffected by heat. There are recipes requiring real sugar, so, in those cases, I'll use sugar for 1/4 of the sweetener required and 3/4 as Splenda. (Some cookies and fruit pies fall into this category.) I find that for pudding, cheesecake and custard like desserts, I can go 100% Splenda. All Splenda substituted in cake recipes works but may result in cakes that don't rise as much. The total carb content per serving is still an issue and must be monitored. "Sugar-free" doesn't mean that it is a free food to be consumed without limits. I have also discovered that I can reduce the total amount of sweetener called for in fruit pies by 1/3 to 1/2. Truth is, I don't bake much anymore because the baked goods are often too tempting to resist. I feel the artificial sweetener poses less of a risk to my health than the effects all-sugar would have on me. It's a choice I make.

GabbyPA 2013-05-27 02:32:43 -0500 Report

I often use a sugar blend that combines stevia with sugar in my canning and baking. I use half of what the recipe calls for and it generally tastes great. For anything cooked, I tend to stick with that or raw sugars. For cold things like drinks, I use stevia or stevia based sweeteners and like the results.

The best thing I have done is learned to drink my tea without sweet at all. I still use it in coffee, but the more I can cut sweet out, the less I crave it down the road.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-27 13:26:17 -0500 Report

I was at a meeting where we bring dinner (pot luck) one of the women brought two kinds of chocolate cookies. She was so excited because she brought cookies for the 3 people in the group who are diabetic. She used a stevia blend. None of us could eat the cookies because we are all allergic to stevia. We all told her how much we appreciated her efforts so she said she will use splenda blend the next time. She said she would give the cookies to her kids.

There is so much controversy out there regarding artificial sweeteners. What is never said about the natural sweeteners is that there are people who simply cannot use it.

alwaysknitting 2013-05-27 02:08:03 -0500 Report

Hi! I have a completely different approach to artificial sweeteners. I avoid all artificial sweeteners. I don't bake any more, so that's not a problem.
The hardest thing was to give up diet sodas. But I've done it. I stick with water, weak iced tea & coffee.
On the rare occasion I have a diet drink, I pay for it later… with a headache & digestion problems.
So for me the common sense solution was to go cold turkey (oh, can't eat turkey either!) No AS at all. Makes me feel better,

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-26 20:49:21 -0500 Report

I have to live with it. I can't use stevia or truvia because of an allergic reaction to it. I feel this way, One day I am going to die. I won't be able to dispute this. I have too many other things to do besides worry about these kinds of things.

teacherspet 2013-05-27 11:59:40 -0500 Report

Joyce, I'm with you. I have four different medical situations that I am dealing with right now, I can't worry about everything. I do my best and leave the rest behind me.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-27 13:33:31 -0500 Report

I never believe half of what I read unless it can be authenticated. Much of what we read about fake sweeteners has been from test results in lab rats. What people do not realize is that lab rats are given a much higher concentrated rate of something than most humans will consume in their lifetime. So the report comes out that a specific item such as aspartame causes cancer in lab rats. This in turn causes a media frenzy and people panic. I pay no attention to those kinds of reports.

alternative1 2013-05-27 14:47:35 -0500 Report

you should use all natural sweeteners…i use natural sugar in my coffee…the brown stuff..it still retains all of the b-vitamins in it

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2013-05-27 16:14:40 -0500 Report

If you are referring to Stevia, Truvea etc I can't use that stuff. Sugar in the raw is okay but to me the taste is way too sweet even though I use to use it when white sugar was not on the table. I stick with what works for me.

alternative1 2013-05-27 14:47:27 -0500 Report

you should use all natural sweeteners…i use natural sugar in my coffee…the brown stuff..it still retains all of the b-vitamins in it

teacherspet 2013-05-27 11:59:35 -0500 Report

Joyce, I'm with you. I have four different medical situations that I am dealing with right now, I can't worry about everything. I do my best and leave the rest behind me.

Coach Cheryl
Coach Cheryl 2013-05-26 11:42:22 -0500 Report

Artificial sweeteners cause more harm than good and can actually spike your sugar levels. As Re1ndeer said unsweetened apple juice is a good way to add sweetness to just about anything. I use it in fruit smoothies and it's delicious. For cooking, baking and drinks I use Sweetleaf Stevia. There is nothing artificial added in for bulk instead it has Inulin soluble fiber. Be sure you check the labels of any Stevia product you go with. Some brands are cut with artificial sweetener or other additives like Rice maltodextrin for bulk. Stick with fiber added (Inulin soluble fiber) or go with the organic that has nothing at all added. Sweetleaf brand is the best that I have found in my research. A good place to get Stevia at a decent price is online at swansonvitamins.com. If you must use something artificial make sure it is in small amounts. An example is my breakfast is usually hot oatmeal with a couple strawberries and a drop of sugar free syrup. Not enough to do any harm but adds to the strawberries to make it sweet enough. The other thing you want to be careful of is when a product says No Sugar Added. This is not a sugar free product. Read the labels, most likely there is some artificial sweetener mixed in with the natural sugar of an ingredient. It can be quite deceiving.

teacherspet 2013-05-26 16:16:19 -0500 Report

You are so right about "sugar free", I've found that there is lots of sugar in somethings that say "sf"…yogurt for one has been a staple in our diabetic diet…yet the sugar free label includes lots of things with the word "—ose" which is sugar in another form. We sure do learn to be nutritionists and label readers, don't we?

teacherspet 2013-05-26 16:17:46 -0500 Report

I would rather use half and half, or even three fourths apples, yogurt or some other sweetner than sugar. But sometimes there are things that have come out tasting hideous and if they can't be eaten, I play around. Guess I should have taken chemistry in college…who would have known.

re1ndeer 2013-05-26 00:02:31 -0500 Report

I prefer to use 1/2 of real sugar or substitute applesauce (unsweetened), pumpkin, or even pureed prune when baking or cooking. For sweetening drinks, or topping cereal, or fruit I use Stevia in the Raw.