This Sugar-free Sweetener Raises Blood Sugar
I’ve never been a fan of artificial sweeteners. As bad as sugar may be, at least it doesn’t create a false sense of security. But artificial sweeteners do. And the more we learn about them, the more problems we discover.
Recent animal studies suggest that bodies may react to the sweetness – and not the calories – of artificial sweeteners. Some have shown artificial sweeteners can trigger higher absorption of glucose and raise insulin levels.
The latest not-so-sweet news comes about the popular artificial sweetener, sucralose.
Most human studies haven’t shown negative effects from this sweetener. But the vast majority of the artificial sweetener studies have used people of a healthy weight. And the sweetener is usually tested alone – not with food, as you’d normally use it.
What would happen in overweight people – those in real life more likely to use artificial sweeteners?
That’s what researchers at Washington University School of Medicine set out to discover. And what they found was pretty disturbing.
The team found 17 very overweight volunteers. Each volunteer went through two tests. In one, they drank plain water followed by a glucose drink. In the second, they drank sucralose followed by the glucose drink.
The scientists measured the levels of glucose and insulin in their blood – both before and after the drinks.
They discovered that sucralose did make a difference. When people drank the sucralose, they absorbed more of the glucose. And their insulin levels jumped 20% higher after the sucralose than after the plain water.1
This shows some people – those who can least afford it – may be hurt by using this sweetener. Because both of the effects these scientist observed can add to blood sugar trouble.
This study was very small. And the volunteers had an average body mass index (BMI) of 42. That’s well above the BMI of 30 that marks obesity. So we don’t know yet if thinner people will see the same effect.
But I don’t see why anyone should wait to see. Especially since you already have a safe, natural alternative available.
Stevia is an extract of a plant commonly called “sweetleaf.” And sweet it is – up to 300 times sweeter than sugar!
Stevia has been used as a sweetener in Japan for decades. But it’s only been available in the U.S. as a “supplement” until recently. Stevia gained approval as a food additive in 2008… just when big food companies began showing an interest in its use.
This is one of those rare cases where the food industry has done you a favor. Because stevia extracts have almost no effect on blood sugar at all. The bacteria in your gut use up the small amount of glucose in stevia… so it’s not released into your bloodstream.
This means you get the sweet taste without the blast of glucose that causes blood sugar spikes.
Stevia is available in both liquid and granular forms. You may have to experiment with different brands before you find one you like… Some stevia products leave a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Pepino, M.Y., et al., “Sucralose Affects Glycemic and Hormonal Responses to an Oral Glucose Load,” Diabetes Care. Apr 30, 2013. doi: 10.2337/dc12-2221.
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