Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sugar alternatives that won't spike insulin levels.

Dear Monique, I'm trying to find a sugar alternative, I have tried Stevia and it leaves an aftertaste. Is there anything else on the market I can use in place of sugar? I would prefer something that will not spike the body's insulin levels. Thanks

Answer: Yes, there are several other products on the market that you can use in place of sugar which will not spike insulin levels. Some are natural like Stevia, fructose, and sucralose (Splenda). Some are artificial such as saccharin (Sweet n' Low), aspartame (NutraSweet), and acesulfame potassium (Sweet One) also called acesulfame-K.

First, let me say that with Stevia -- it is very easy to use too much, which will produce an aftertaste. The chemical in Stevia that makes it sweet is 300 times sweeter than sugar. In fact, 1 teaspoon of crushed/powdered Stevia leaves equals 1 cup of sugar! So you may want to try it again but in a much smaller amount.

Sucralose is the non calorie sweetening ingredient in the new sweetener on the market called "Splenda". It is made from sugar and tastes like sugar, but is not a carbohydrate. Studies have shown that it does not affect blood glucose control or insulin levels. It is not toxic or carcinogenic, does not cause genetic or hormonal changes, and does not promote dental cavities.

Artificial sweeteners also have no calories and do not raise blood glucose levels. However, some can be carcinogenic; some cannot be used in baking, and most produce a less than desirable texture and taste in foods.

To learn more about sweeteners, read:

(1) The Stevia Cookbook: Cooking with Nature's Calorie-Free Sweetener by Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates

(2) Stevia: Naturally Sweet Recipes for Desserts, Drinks, and More by Rita Depuydt

(3) Aspartame (NutraSweet) Toxicity Info Center at

(4) Splenda information at

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Monique N. Gilbert, BSc. has offered guidance in health, nutrition, fitness and stress management since 1989. Through her writings, Monique motivates and teaches how to improve your well-being, vitality and longevity with balanced nutrition, physical activity and healthy stress-free living.


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