Category Archives: Food

Goji Power!

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We all know how important antioxidants are for our well-being and for our general good health. In fact, antioxidants are most important for preventing diseases and even reducing our cancer risk. A superfood that does this job remarkably is the goji berry.

Goji berries are typically found in China and Europe. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries have been used in many medicinal preparations for thousands of years, proving its efficacy as a medicinal herb/plant.

Here’s a list of the benefits offered by this amazing berry which puts it right at the top of the list of superfoods.

Benefits
The benefits offered by Goji berries are numerous and a few studies have been conducted on human patients as part of research to determine the efficacy of these berries. However, here are some of the amazing benefits offered by the goji berries and going by the look of them, it’s no wonder they’ve become so popular on the health front.

As we all know, goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta carotene and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids are greatly helpful in protecting the retina of the eye and improving eye sight. In fact, foods rich in zeaxanthin have been known to prevent loss of eyesight in people over the age of 65.

Goji berries are also a good choice when it comes to protecting the liver and kidneys.

One of the primary benefits of goji berries is that they help in boosting the immune system and help us stay healthy for longer.

The polysaccharides in goji berries works wonders with the pituitary gland and stimulates it to release HGH, the Human Growth Hormone. This is in fact the main hormone which controls others and can even reverse the effects of aging, making us look and feel younger.

Goji berries also have a high ORAC value which is extremely important in preventing oxidation and in preserving the cells thereby preventing aging.

Goji berries prevent fatigue and tiredness which are the most common by product of a busy and full life that most of us lead today. It also helps in relieving headaches and insomnia.

Health and fitness freaks consume goji berries regularly because they help greatly in weight loss and keep the body fit and young.

Research has shown that goji berries are exceedingly good to enhance fertility and improve sexual function, particularly in men.

Goji berries are known to improve circulation and help people live longer lives.

With their high vitamin and mineral content, goji berries reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Some people claim that goji berries can even prevent cancer although this aspect still needs more verification.

Uses
The ways in which goji berries can be consumed are several. Since it is pretty much like raisins, it can be munched as a snack directly or from a trail mix that is available at most health stores. Many people are making goji berries a part of their lifestyle by incorporating it into their breakfast by using it as a topping for cereal instead of raisins. Some people also swear by goji juice and how beneficial it is. Health stores are full of variants of goji juice available in bottles and people can consume them as juice.

Goji berries are delicious and make a great snack. Some people also brew goji berry tea and drink it as it provides the same amount of benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, goji berries can be added to soups or its liquid extracts are often prescribed to the patient. There are numerous other goji berry products available in health stores, such as goji berry powder etc.

There are numerous ways in which goji berries can be used but it’s always ideal to consult your healthcare provider if you fear that there could be some interaction with medicine that you’re taking.

In good health,
~ Sarah

References
http://www.goji-berry-benefits.com/health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfberry
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/goji.htm
http://www.gojiberriesblog.com/

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You Say Tomato, I Say Health!

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Tomatoes have so many uses. Made into soups, sandwiches, stews, and sauces, the tomato is more than just a fruit, it can be an essential ingredient to good health. Tomatoes are very rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids, especially lycopene. Lycopene is a substance which is naturally found in tomatoes. Not only does it give the tomato its bright red coloring, but it also protects the fruit from the effects of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Considering how it protects the tomato, scientists conducted research which proved their theory that it can also protect the human body. Lycopene is concentrated in the prostate gland, and is used as a preventative against prostate cancer. It has also been shown to protect the body against mouth, lung, stomach, pancreas, bladder, colon, and rectal cancers.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, in fact is it 100% more effective than the well-known free radical scavenger, Vitamin E. It is also 56% more powerful than beta-carotene, one of the ingredients which make carrots healthy. Antioxidants are known for their power to neutralize oxygen free radical molecules, which are the highly reactive and toxic by-products of biochemical reactions which occur during cell metabolism.

Exposure to smoking, pollutions, and other damaging influences of the environment can further aggravate this condition. We will have to contend with these free radicals for as long as we live. The impact that they have can be greatly reduced by antioxidants, which help minimize the damage that that is done when the number of free radicals in the body overwhelm its capacity to deal with them.

The bio-availability of this beneficial, fat-soluble carotenoid can be greatly improved when the tomato is cooked into a sauce. The levels of lycopene in both the blood cells and immune cells are raised when tomatoes are cooked. With that in mind, it is reasonable to say that even eating small amounts of the cooked tomato can help to protect the immune system. Oriental nutrition suggests that the tomato can do even more. The fruit is said to moisten the body by building the Yin fluids, which will relieve skin dryness and thirst. Tomatoes also strengthen the stomach, cleanse the liver, purify the blood, and remove toxins in the body according to this ancient nutritional knowledge.

 

Be Well,

Kristin

 

Sources:

  1. Page, N.D., L., Healthy Healing – a guide to self healing for everyone. Traditional Wisdom, Inc. 2002.
  2. Porrini, M., Effects of Processing on Bioavailability of the functional components in tomatoes.
  3. Kucuk, O., Evidence for reducing the risk of prostate cancer – a clinical trial. 90th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. 1999.
  4. Pitchford, P., Healing with Whole Foods – Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition. North Atlantic Books, 1993.

Which diet is right for you?

 

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Frequently I am asked what diet do I recommend. With all the million of diets out there no wonder there is so much confusion. Carbs, no carbs, gluten free, diary free, weighing, measuring or counting calories. It’s mind blogging! 
Here are some simple steps to find out what diet works best for you;

1. Can you you sustain this diet as a lifestyle?  Any change in your diet should be for the long haul not just a week or two to fit in a new pair of jeans.

2. Do you want to count points or calories for the rest of your life? Many people want the structure telling them what to do every step of the way and that’s fine but many don’t.
3. Look at the food you will be eating. Can afford it, do you like it enough to eat it forever?  If you are eating gluten free just to loose weight but know you can’t give up bread, you may need to move to another diet.
4. Can you be on the diet while traveling or going out to dinner with friends? Again, this is a lifestyle change and traveling and eating out are part of life.
5. How many fresh fruits and vegetables, good fats, are in this diet? Getting away from the foods that caused you to become overweight and unhealthy in the first place need to avoided completely.  Even though there is a Fast Food Diet out there, we will not even consider that here. Understanding what” healthy food” means is vital in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. 400 calories of Doritos is much different than 400 calories of fresh fruits and vegetables and understanding why is half the battle.

6. Is this diet something the whole family can participate in? If you are meal planning and cooking for anyone besides yourself, this will be an issue and probably more expensive. And to be honest do your children need the extra cookie, crackers and junk food in the house?

The key to any weight loss is again looking at it as a long term lifestyle change and not as a short term quick fix. Learning to pick healthy foods, drinking at least 64 oz of water daily, moving more is the foundation for any diet. Good luck and let either Sarah or myself know of we can help you in anyway.

Be Well,

Kristin

Living Gluten Free

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During nutrition consultation I conduct, I often hear that people follow a reasonable diet and exercise plan but they still can not manage to loose weight. The usual suspect… gluten.

The damage gluten can do to those with an intolerance (celiacs) or even those with a sensitivity is vast. It’s known to cause hormonal imbalances, damage the gut and lead to wright gain through inflammation. Here are seven ways eating gluten can make you fat:

1. Leaky gut is basically when little openings (Intestinal permeability) occur along the intestinal wall and bacteria is allowed to pass through creating an immune response. Symptoms include fatigue, bloating, and these contribute to weight gain. Intestinal permeability is also increased in skin conditions such as psoriasis and atopic eczema.

2. Inflammation. Consuming gluten can trigger the inflammatory response in any tissue. As you may already know, chronic inflammation is not your friend. Besides contributing to nearly every chronic inflammation is known to contribute to every disease you can imagine. A few examples are, diabetes cancer, IBS and heart disease.This inflammation response can create a number of other problems that stall fat loss. Fatigue, high cortisol levels and poor metabolism just to list a few.

3. Insulin resistance. Yes, we have discussed this before. Many processed gluten-containing foods have a high glycemic load which will elevate blood sugar levels which inhibits your bodies capability of maintain insulin homeostasis, i.e. regulate blood sugar.

4. Leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that alerts the brain when you’re full. This means you’re less likely to reach for That second serving. But when you become leptin resistant, your brain doesn’t “hear” leptin’s message to put the brakes on the buffet, putting you at risk for overeating and weight gain. Those sassy sugar-binding proteins that cause insulin resistance, may also create leptin resistance.

5. Cravings. Ever find yourself uncontrollably eating a box of crackers or reaching for a third slice of buttered toast? Yes you say… well ironically, the foods you’re most reactive to are the ones you crave the most. How can this be? The body reacts to these intolerant foods by creating an addictive narcotic called opioid endorphins. Like a drug, it gives a feeling of euphoria when you eat these foods, and in turn you crave them. Then, you guessed it, you gain more weight!

6. Blocks nutrient absorption. Gluten in known to inhibit nutrient absorption. Gluten-triggered permeability inhibits your gut from absorbing nutrients and making vitamin B-12. In addition, the indigestible components in gluten and other whole grains are considered an anti-nutrient because they bind to nutrients and reduce their bioavailability.

7. Effects thyroid function. You can increase your chances for autoimmune disease when you constantly eat gluten. Why? Many people who have been unsuccessful at losing weight due often has issues due to thyroid disease. People with the most common type of thyroid disease have 12 times the rate of gluten intolerance as the general population does. Consequently, those struggling with their weight should consider a gluten free diet along with assessment of thyroid status.”

So now what? Are you ready to take the next step and see if a gluten free diet is the right choice for you? The only true way to test sensitivity is an elimination diet. Basically, you remove gluten in all forms, from your diet for at least 6 weeks. After this time, you may reintroduce gluten products and see how your body “reacts”. Personally, I’ve noticed a huge change in energy levels and digestive issues. When I eat gluten laced products I feel instantly ill. Headache, sinus congestion and digestion pain.

Here are a few links to get you started on your gluten free challenge.

Meal planning:
Eating Well Gluten Free Meal Plan

and…

Vegan GF meal plan at Feed Me, I’m cranky

Gluten Free Goddess has amazing recipes

Great info on all things gluten free at www.celiac.org

As with any diet, stick with whole foods, veggies, fruits and lean proteins. Use caution with grains as they may contain gluten. Aside from the obvious forbidden gluten foods, breads, cakes, cookies etc, I recommend avoiding all processed GF foods, GF mixes and fast food. Many processed GF products contain high glycemic starches which equal empty calories. Think “whole food”

Set your goals and record your progress!

In good health,
~ Sarah

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Food Fraud

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Eating a healthy, whole food diet is challenging in this country. Ironically, as one of the wealthiest nations in the world, we have some of the WORST food available. We know our food over processed, GMO laden, contaminated with a plethora of chemicals and additives. Enter a new breed of evil, unscrupulous companies illegally cutting a primary ingredient with something less expensive in order to reduce costs. Some companies are even trying to scam you by selling you something that is not even the food listed!

New scientific examination by the non-profit food fraud detectives the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), discovered rising numbers of fake ingredients in products from olive oil to spices to fruit juice.

In a new database to be released Wednesday, and obtained exclusively by ABC News today, USP warns consumers, the FDA and manufacturers that the amount of food fraud they found is up by 60 percent this year.

So what is food fraud? Well, it’s exactly what the name implies. It’s companies labeling food one way, but the contents are completely different.

7 Most Fraudulent Foods

Olive Oil
Researchers found that olive oil, even the extra-virgin kind, is the most adulterated food. It is usually cut by hazelnut oil. (Sound good to any nut-allergy sufferers out there?) Other imposter oils include corn oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, palm oil, and walnut oil.

Buy organic

Milk
If you think that milk in your coffee comes from a cow, you might be mistaken. Sheep’s milk has been found to be cut with bovine milk, and buffalo milk with goat-antelope milk. Milk was even cut with something called “fake milk”: oil, urea, detergent, caustic soda, sugar, salt, and skim milk powder.

Buy local. Buy organic.

Honey
Honey has been a sweetener of choice for millennia. It’s packed with healing antioxidants that has many benefits. But it’s also one of the most common fraudsters. It’s not uncommon to find sugar syrup, corn syrup, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, beet sugar, and “honey from a non-authentic geographic origin” in that bottle—rendering it what we’ll call not-honey. Some honey is also likely laced with illegal Chinese antibiotics and heavy metals, according to Food Safety News. Not only do you have to worry about what someone added to your honey but how the honey was made. Most honey companies routinely feed their hives HFCS!!! Crazy…I highly recommend this documentary, Vanishing of the Bees.
Find a local beekeeper and choose raw honey.

Saffron
Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, so it’s not surprising that it’s on this list. What is a surprise is the stuff its mixed with it. Scientists have found glycerin, sandalwood dust, tartrazine (a yellow dye linked to hyperactivity in children and lupus); barium sulfate (a fluid mainly used in oil well drilling); and borax.

Buy organic from a well known, responsible company.

Orange Juice
Orange juice tested has shown to contain illegal fungicide along with unlisted lemon juice, mandarin juice, grapefruit juice, high fructose corn syrup, paprika extract, and beet sugar. Yum.

Juice your own! More vitamins and enzymes in fresh juice.

Coffee
Researchers have found roasted corn, ground roasted barley, and even roasted ground parchment. Adulterants in instant coffee include; chicory, cereals, caramel, more parchment, starch, malt, and figs.

Buy from a local cafe that roasts their own beans.

Apple Juice
Apple juice is often blended with grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, pear juice, pineapple juice, raisin sweetener, fig juice, fructose, and malic acid have all been detected in apple juice.

If you MUST have apple juice, get a juicer.

Case in point. A few weeks ago I was listening to This American Life on NPR. The theme, doppelgängers. A reporter from the radio show heard a story he couldn’t believe was true — that hog rectum was sometimes used as imitation calamari and served to unsuspecting diners. So he looked into it himself.

Despite a source in the story reporting first-hand knowledge of the alleged switch , there’s some debate over whether hog parts could pass as squid. So staff from the show went to the market, fried some up and served it. Most of the people who tried it couldn’t tell the difference between the hog parts and squid.

I’ve since read that this was a hoax and that the imitation calamari was just an urban legend. Personally, I’m not buying it not do I trust industrial meat processing plants.

Tuesday, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention released report that listed a number of fraudulent foods. Seafood was one of the biggest offenders.

Something Fishy is Going On…
The fish escolar, often fraudulently mislabeled as white tuna or butterfish (*Escolar is banned in Italy and Japan. Other countries have issued advisories on the trade and consumption of this fish. Escolar has high content of waxy esters that is likely to cause a special form of food poisoning called gempylotoxism or gempylid fish poisoning.) it appears that fish mislabeling has taken over NYC restaurants.

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Oceana, an ocean conservation group, found mislabeled fish in all 16 sushi restaurants its researchers visited. Yet fish fraud was rampant at all sorts of New York venues. Thirty-nine percent of the samples taken from non-sushi restaurants were mislabeled, in addition to 40 percent of those bought at small fish markets and 12 percent of those purchased at major grocery chains.

What are we to do???
Five hundred prominent chefs and restaurateurs recently sent Congress a petition on the issue. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote a letter asking for action on the issue from the FDA, and this past summer Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) introduced the proposed Safety And Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act, which Oceana argues would cut down significantly on mislabeled fish. Sadly, when I checked it appeared the bill was dead and referred to committee.

Knowledge is power and your dollar is your vote. Choosing to use local and organic products will only increase demand and grow the industry. Always ask questions when ordering at restaurants and buying groceries.

Just when you thought it was safe to go grocery shopping…DAH DA DAAAAAH!

In good health
~ Sarah

Deciphering Food Labels

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Frequently, I’m told by new clients that they “eat healthy” during their initial consultation. On further investigation, their eating habits I discover that their “healthy eating” is mainly processed foods that have been “health washed”. Health washing, as I like to refer to it, is done when clever marketing and advertising people ,whom are very good at semantics, create alternative “healthy” names and packaging for not so healthy ingredients.

Today, lets familiarize ourselves with the sweeteners used in processed foods. Ready for your chemistry lesson?

Lets go…..

Artificial sweeteners are used in a variety of products including: beverages, candy, gum, yogurts. These products provide sweetness without the calories and carbohydrates, like sugar does.

Are they safe? Controversies have swirled around most of the additives. Sucralose, rebiana, and neotame appear to be safe, but acesulfame-potassium, aspartame, and saccharin may pose a slight risk of cancer. Limited research has been done on these artificial sweeteners to study long term effects of exposure.

The usual suspects…

ASPARTAME
Artificial sweetener: Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), a chemical combination of two amino acids and methanol, has been the focus of controversy since it was first used around 1980.

Questions of safety have comes up since the 1970’s. Aspartame has been linked to cancer, neurological problems and birth defects. A 1970s study initially brought forth concerns that aspartame caused brain tumors in rats, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convinced an independent review panel to reverse its conclusion that aspartame was unsafe, and the agency approved its use.

CORN SYRUP
Sweetener, thickener: Candy, marshmallows, syrups, snack foods, imitation dairy foods.

Corn syrup (dextrose) is made by treating cornstarch with a slurry of acids or enzymes. It contains no nutritional value other than calories, promotes tooth decay, and is used mainly in foods with little intrinsic nutritional value.

DECTROSE
Dextrose when found naturally, is a sugar in fruits and honey. As we already stated, dextrose is void of nutrition and contributes to tooth decay. It’s often used in baking to color bread because when baked, it turns brown.

FRUCTOSE
Sweetener: “Health” drinks and other products.

Fructose can be found in modest amounts in fruits and vegetables. Another major source of fructose in the typical diet is high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which typically contains about half fructose and half glucose. Fructose itself is used as a sweetener in a small number of foods whose labels often imply, deceptively, that such foods are healthier than competing products that are sweetened with sugar or HFCS.

Fructose also causes insulin resistance, a key factor in both diabetes and metabolic syndrome, both of which increase the risk for heart disease.
Why? Large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup increase triglyceride (fat) and small, dense LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in blood and may thereby increase the risk of heart disease. Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of one’s calories from fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (which is about half fructose) leads to more visceral (deep belly) fat or liver fat.

Again, eat fruit in its natural form and avoid products contains this.

HIGH-FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP
Since the 1980’s the US consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has sky rocketed. Why, it’s cheap! This sweet syrupy like liquid is cheaper and easier for some companies to use than sugar. HFCS, on average, is about half fructose and half glucose—the same as ordinary table sugar (sucrose).

Why is bad? When consumed in large amounts of high-fructose corn syrup increase triglyceride (fat) and small, dense LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels in blood and may thereby increase the risk of heart disease. Also, recent studies show that consuming 25 percent of one’s calories from fructose or high-fructose corn syrup (which is about half fructose) leads to more visceral (deep belly) fat or liver fat.

I personally avoid its due to its highly refined nature (I prefer my food from a farm, not a laboratory) and because its probably made from GMO corn (I avoid all GMO products). In 2011 the US Dept of Agriculture estimated that each American consumed nearly 79 pounds of this stuff!

I’ve read that modest amounts of fructose from HFCS or other sources are safe and do not boost blood glucose levels, making the sweetener attractive to diabetics. However, large amounts promote tooth decay, as well as increase triglyceride (fat) levels in blood, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease. Like fructose, it can affect levels of such hormones that may lead to more visceral (deep belly) fat or liver fat which may be a component to weight gain and obesity.

INVERT SUGAR
Invert sugar is basically a 50-50 mixture of two sugars, dextrose and fructose. it is sweeter and more soluble than sucrose (table sugar). Invert sugar forms when sucrose is split in two by an enzyme or acid.

It provides “empty calories,” contributes to tooth decay, and should be avoided.

LACTOSE
Lactose, a carbohydrate that is found only in milk, is nature’s way of delivering calories to infant mammals. One-sixth as sweet as sugar, it is used as a slightly sweet source of carbohydrate. It should be avoided by those with lactose intolerance.

MALTODEXTRIN
(Adding this with sweeteners because of its close relationship with HFCS) is used in texturizing food. It’s made from cornstarch like HFCS. Normal maltodextrins are easily digested and absorbed by the body. But companies also use “resistant maltodextrin” to simulate dietary fiber.

In my opinion, it’s highly processed so best to avoid it!

MOGROSIDES
(MONK FRUIT EXTRACT)
This sweetener is about 200 times sweeter than sugar (sucrose), meaning that it (like artificial sweeteners and extracts of stevia called rebaudiosides) can be used to replace some or all of the added sugars in a wide range of foods and beverages. While this product has not been well tested in animals. However, as a fruit it has been used in China for at least several hundred years and as an herbal medicine for the past several decades with no serious complications noted.

Labels may call the ingredient monkfruit, but don’t think you’re getting a bit of whole fruit. Most manufacturers use a multi-step process to extract just the sweet mogrosides. So it’s another highly processed sweetener.

(Note: I just saw a Splenda product advertising this last night while shopping. Considering Splenda’s legal past, I’m not going to try it.)

NEOTAME
Neotame, produced by NutraSweet Co. (maker of aspartame), is about 8,000 times sweeter than table sugar and 40 times sweeter than aspartame. While Neotame is chemically related to aspartame, the difference is it offers greater chemical stability. This being said, it can be used in baked foods. It is
likely to be used in low-calorie foods to adjust the flavor.

Neotame is often mixed with sugar or other artificial sweeteners. It was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2002 and the European Union in 2010, but is still rarely used.

Highly processed so avoid it.

REBIANA
Natural, high-potency sweetener: Used in diet beverages. Also called rebaudioside A; sold under brand names Truvia and PureVia. Purified from crude extracts of stevia, which itself is sold as a table-top sweetener at some “health food” stores.

Stevia, which is about 100 times sweeter than sugar, is obtained from a shrub (yerba dulce) that is grown in Brazil, Paraguay, southeast Asia, and elsewhere. Stevia and its derivatives are said to be the miracle sweetener because they are naturally derived alternatives to the often-controversial synthetic sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, cyclamate). Some people complain That it adds a foul taste in certain foods.

*Just because a substance is natural, does not mean that it is safe. In the 1990s, the U.S. FDA rejected stevia for use as a food ingredient. Likewise, Canada did not approve stevia, and a European Community scientific panel declared that stevia was unacceptable for use in food. Why? High dosages fed to rats reduced sperm production which could lead to infertility or other problems. Pregnant hamsters that had been fed large amounts of a derivative of stevioside called steviol had fewer and smaller offspring. Several other noted studies found that rebiana-related substances caused mutations and damaged chromosomes or DNA. Long term study is needed to confirm these results.

When I think of stevia I think of the saying “less is more”. Naturally occurring sweeteners typically have no known side effects apart from weight gain. Eating stevia in leaf form may be the best option.

SACCHARIN
Saccharin (Sweet ’N Low) is 350 times sweeter than sugar and is used in diet foods or as a tabletop sugar substitute. Many studies on animals have shown that saccharin can cause cancer of the urinary bladder. In other rodent studies, saccharin has caused cancer of the uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels, and other organs. Other studies have shown that saccharin increases the potency of other cancer-causing chemicals. And the best epidemiology study (done by the National Cancer Institute) found that the use of artificial sweeteners (saccharin and cyclamate) was associated with a higher incidence of bladder cancer.

That being said. You’re smart. Use your best judgement.

SORBITOL
Sorbitol occurs naturally in fruits and berries and is a close relative of sugars. It is half as sweet as sugar. It is used mainly in dietetic foods. Some diabetics use sorbitol-sweetened foods because it is absorbed slowly and does not cause blood sugar to increase rapidly. Moderate amounts of sorbitol are safe, but large amounts may have a strong laxative effect and even cause diarrhea.

SUCRALOSE
Approved in the United States in 1998, sucralose, marketed as Splenda, is used in soft drinks, baked goods, ice cream, sweetener packets, and other products. Unlike aspartame, sucralose can be used in baked goods.
Sucralose is thought safer than saccharin, acesulfame-K, and cyclamate, but it is often used in conbination with acesulfame-K.

Acesulfame K contains the carcinogen methylene chloride. Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances, and cancer in humans. There has been a great deal of opposition to the use of acesulfame K without further testing, but at this time, the FDA has not required that these tests be done.

When the FDA first studied Sucralose, the Center for Science in the Public Interest objected. A study in rats had shown that it might cause premature shrinkage of the thymus gland, which is part of the immune system. Subsequent studies have not found any problems. A 2002 study in mice found that huge doses of sucralose caused DNA damage in mice, but numerous other genetic studies did not find any problems.

The manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals, long advertised Splenda as being “made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” That statement may be literally true, but is misleading, as the Sugar Association charged in a lawsuit. In fact, the sweetener is a synthetic chemical made by chemically reacting sugar (sucrose) with chlorine. Therefore, it is not sugar.

XYLITOL
Like other sugar alcohols (maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol), xylitol is not well absorbed by the body, so it has fewer calories than table sugar. Also, it does not promote tooth decay. Large amounts may have a laxative effect.

Xylitol is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, and can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse,and birch.

While Xylitol has no known toxicity in humans the source of the materials is questionable.

So now you’re more familiar with those tricky chemical names for sweeteners. Use your best judgement and as always, stick to a whole food, minimally processed diet.

In good health,
~Sarah