Note that although artificial sweeteners like stevia and erythritol don't raise the blood glucose at all and have GI index of zero or near zero - some artificial sweeteners actually do raise blood glucose, like maltitol etc, and these sweeteners are unfortunately often found in sugar-free candy. You can try a web search for "GI index artificial sweeteners" to see a list of sweeteners that have low GI score.
Something else to keep in mind is that over consumption of very carb heavy products like bread or pasta will have the exact same effect on your blood glucose as just eating sugar.
You also have to step back and ask your self why so many people who avoid sugar but use artificial sweeteners are having problems with diabetes.
That is a very weak argument as the products with artificial sweeteners are made for people with diabetes... Nevertheless, a source for the first part of your argument would be very helpful.
> Big Sugar has paid researchers to conduct misleading — if not false — studies about the health effects of added sweeteners.
The core issue is not the type of sugar, but the nature of it being basically everywhere in packaged foods.
The author also mentions that it's not worth trying to quantify the amount of sugar:
> Don’t agonize over the sugar content of every single thing you eat.
I find the best rule of thumb is to "eat around the outside" -- most American supermarkets push produce, meat, dairy, etc., to the outer walls of the market, and design stores to make you criss-cross the packaged goods aisles in the center. If you focus shopping on fresh foods, you generally will eat better (with a slightly more expensive grocery bill).
I suppose if you compare it to junk food, like eating chips and cookies for subsistence, I can see how fresh meat and produce can be slightly more expensive. (Or you may be considering time it takes to prepare meals from fresh ingredients as an expense?)
In fact, one of my first realizations when I began to cook meals myself, after college, was that eating healthy was surprisingly cheap. You can consistently eat healthy and get all your nutritions for under $5 a meal.
Except I'd change that figure to around $2/meal.
This article written in 2012 has a $3/day target and I'm scaling that up a bit.
As for myself, I still like to enjoy meat like beef, chicken, pork. Meat is typically the most expensive part of grocery. Even enjoying good quality meat like the ones above, one can easily stay under $5/meal!
The problem with making food taste more sugary, with or without artificial sweeteners, is that as a society we are growing too accustomed to hyper-stimulating foods. Why can’t people just live with the fact that every food doesn’t need to be loaded with sugar and instead open their palates to the notes that come from natural flavors?
It’s like people want their hair to be blown back every time the fork goes in their mouth.
Presumably because people are eating things that, underneath the sugar, are pretty much tasteless.
Consider the American Chinese staple of "sweet and sour pork." What does it taste like, without the sweet and sour sauce? Well... it's deep-fried boiled pork. Would you eat plain deep-fried boiled pork? Even as a side-dish?
If we take away the artificial flavors, a large number of (usually cheaper!) dishes simply cease to exist. Palatable food—especially palatable fast food—would get a lot more expensive. What of the people who work all day, end up too tired to cook, and yet don't end up with enough money for healthy food?
(If the answer is "we don't want those people to be in that situation in the first place", then try solving that problem—if you manage it, I have a feeling it would largely solve America's obesity epidemic as a byproduct.)
5 years ago I went on a diet where the only thing I did was to look at all the ingredients and nutritional values in everything and if they wern't there I didn't buy it (most burger places will supply it if you ask).
It is APPALLING what gets added to everything in order to be just-a-bit-better-tasting than the competition. Your brain doesn't know why brandA is better than brandB. And it's not just sugar, salt and fat are also adjusted.
But you don't NEED those flavors. You have to wean your body off the flavor. Foods have subtle and delicate flavors that get masked by the assault.
You can't hear the sounds of a bird chirping or a trickling stream if you are next to a rock concert.
It is my own observation that supermarket/farm vegetables are often bland compared to "backyard" varieties. Most people have no idea how flavorful a simple tomato can be until they've had an "ugly" heirloom tomato left on the vine until ripe.
Source for this? My understanding is that the link between non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) and diabetes is growing increasingly clear. For instance:
NAS linked to glucose intolerance (pre-diabetic hyperglacemia): https://www.nature.com/articles/nature13793
NAS unlikely to be healthy alternative to sugar for prevention of type 2 diabetes: http://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h3576.full
Second one: I haven't read the whole study but they categorize fruit juice which is chock full of sugar along side artificially sweetened drinks - which is a red flag to me. Also, I don't think people who swap sugary drinks for diet drinks and changes no other aspect of their diet will have a better outcome in regards to type 2 diabetes. It doesn't mean that diet sodas contribute or cause type 2 diabetes.
I’d be interested to see if these studies hold with sweeteners like Stevia that don’t produce an insulin response.
It's definitely something that needs to be proven experimental to apply to these artificial sweeteners as well (and there's already research saying that e.g. artificial sweeteners don't cause the brain to mask tiredness from exercise in the way real sugar does.)
As a child, I absolutely loved, craved, was addicted to Coca Cola. A liter a day, perhaps more. Coming to the US, I noticed that it tasted different because of substituting sugar with high fructose corn syrup. No problem - I switched to Mexican Coca Cola (the one in a glass bottle) - and carried on.
Fast forward to after grad school, I wanted to get in a better shape, without giving up sweets entirely (I definitely have a sweet tooth). So the first thing I did is to not buy coke. I could still get it if I wanted - the local 7-11 was literally across the street from my place. But it was no longer convenient - I had to get dressed and cross the street, deal with the line, the cashier, pay more for my guilty pleasure, etc. I still went, but definitely less and less frequently.
Fast forward a few years and coke started to taste very "heavy" to me. It had this aftertaste that I never noticed before but could no longer shake off. I found myself frequently unable to finish a bottle of coke. My cravings started getting less and less pronounced. This downward (well, upward in terms of health) slope continued and today I no longer crave Coca Cola at all, drinking it perhaps 5 times a year, if that. And even then I can't really do more than a few sips.
I look back on this and it honestly feels a bit surreal, knowing that my starting point was (multiple) liters per day and true joy and love for that sugary drink.
So progress is definitely possible as long as I took care to make the right choice the easy choice. Don't go hungry to the supermarket. Don't buy things because that makes them easily available, testing your willpower, which is inevitably finite. Make a few basic rules to follow rather than agonize over every small decision and feel guilty afterwards (just like the article said). Simple stuff like that.
Some things will stick, others won't, but that's okay. The key is to keep trying to get better and healthier, without losing the small pleasures in life without which, let's be honest, is this even worth it?!
Good luck to everyone on their personal journeys.
I was a kid when I started drinking Coca Cola a lot and was in my late teens when I more or less stopped it.
There were a couple of reasons, but my teeth completely decaying and being in a really really orange to almost red zone in terms of enamel made me think seriously about stopping the drink -- to be fair Red Bull was doing a lot more.
Here is how I stopped it (in order of effectiveness):
1 Replacement. I happened to love tea and found out that green tea does amazing things to your teeth: nothing! And that's a hard feat to accomplish for any drink. I fell in love with green tea because I quite liked the taste and it was healthy.
2 Negative Associations. I demonized cola. When I'd drink it I'd picture myself getting a barrel of acid which would go down my troath and would completely burn my esophagus (the thing that pulls stuff to your stomach when you swallow). I would then be unable to eat and die of hunger. It wasn't a pleasant fantasy, but that form of demonization made me feel I wasn't drinking Coca Cola but pure acid.
3 Being lenient. Sometimes I can't shake the craving, I think I have it once per month. Very rarely I drink it, but in most cases I get myself to drink something like orange juice through a straw. One time this happened so much that I'd drink a glass of orange juice through a straw per day. When this happens, I tend to focus more on drinking green tea and the fact that orange juice is also acid, that works quite well.
I feel that I have it under control, especially with Coca Cola since the taste completely changed for me after fighting it so hard, and it tastes less good.
I am stunned. 1L of Coca Cola = 840 calories @ 234grams of sugar. That's 18 Tablespoons. Or a bit more than one measuring cup of sugar per day in addition to whatever else you ate!
1/3 of an adult's typical days caloric needs consumed as pure sugar. Since you were a child, it's likely you were consuming more than half your daily calories this way.
Then again, life is short, we have to have our little pleasures. Nobody is gonna live forever anyway..
- 1) Coca-Cola is an objectively evil corporation that I would like to support less.
- 2) I don't know exactly what's in it, and thanks to the corruption at the FDA, Coca-Cola doesn't have to tell me. I worry about what other additives might be lurking about, in addition to the 12 teaspoons of sugar per can.
- 3) I'd simply like to see if I can.
I'm not sure if I necessarily want to wean myself off it completely so much as seek out other sources.
One thing I'm investigating at the moment is Open Soda, which was a list of ingredients for Coke based on a leaked, older version of the recipe. A vendor in the UK sells a pre-made mixture of the oils, which I have debated ordering . It would in theory let me make a batch of my own Coke with less sugar or whatever I feel like using.
Other things I've tried have included just sipping club soda or sparkling mineral water in its place. If I want a bit of flavor, I mix in a shot of Balsamic Vinegar. It's surprisingly decent. Remembering that it comes from fermented grapes (assuming you're getting some decent quality stuff and not the low-end BV from the grocery store), you get enough sweetness to carry it through.
Recently I‘ve started making myself rice flakes with coconut milk, or a few steamed veggies (brokkoli, carrot strips) with some coconut milk and seasoning. Both are easily done within minutes, and free from artificial colors and flavors, and of course sugar. I basically throw chunks of brokkoli in a little bit of water, put the lid on and let it cook gently for 10m or so.. didn’t expect that to be so easy. Then add a few sips of coconut milk, salt and some fancy spices - done. We need self-made dishes to be simple, quick and tasty, or the convenience of preprocessed foods will catch up on us. Whenever I‘m hungry and in danger of making some fries or other abominations, I go for the rice flakes instead. Those take 5m to make, are cheap, and super tasty (ok I might have a coconut milk fetish).
I don't know if this is because sugary sauces become popular, or because popular sauces were adulterated with sugar.
Most everything else either has sugar or an artificial sweetener in it--or some back-door sugar, like raisin paste, or fruit juice concentrates.
It is likely because condiments came from preserved foods, and those generally require a high concentration of sugar or salt, or a low pH, in order to avoid spoilage. And some are concentrated from foods that are naturally sweet.
I think the sweetness was always valued in a sauce, and substituting the previous source of the sweetness with corn syrup or HFCS is a more recent trend, to cut costs. So it's the latter: popular sauces were adulterated with sugar.
Also I am addicted to fake sugar (Truvia/Stevia etc). I use them almost everyday. Are they bad than natural sugar or worst or same?
To the people here who have commented that a life without artificial sweeteners is unimaginable to them I am at a loss for words. I do not know what to say to you. I'm not saying that I have an iron will or anything–once you go without for a while you lose the taste for it, it really is that simple I think.Surely it can't be as difficult to kick as say beer or cigarettes?
In other words, it is easy to drink too much smoothie because drinking is far easier and faster than preparing and eating raw fruits. Our hormonal systems are not geared to the speed of eating/drinking that our technological capabilities deliver. With processed foods it is easy to overrun actual caloric needs before your hormonal systems realize it has happened, our satiety mechanisms are fooled, and before you know it, you're way over your reasonable caloric budget.
If you engage your children in preparing, then eating raw fruit as-is, and reserve smoothies as a dessert-treat, then that establishes a timeframe their hormonal systems can easily accommodate. Even the youngest with minimal manual dexterity can "help" wash and/or dry fruits, and be an assistant by picking up fruits from the colander and placing on a cutting board for you.
It takes far more time, but personally that is my choice (YMMV), since I advocate a slow parenting movement similar to the slow food movement, because when you direct time and attention to a child, they flourish.
I use "splenda (sucralose)  the yellow packet" sometimes and I find I don't need very much at all for my tea, as they are significantly sweeter than the real thing. Its basically modified sucrose.
There is ongoing research about how the body reacts to "sweet taste" vs "carbs" in terms of insulin response. I find the less sweets I eat the less I crave them over time. 
I've been off sugar (well, below 20 grams a day) for a few months now. I also have a 14 month old son but I think we can just exclude sugary treats while he's at home, he seems to be OK with fruit (not juice, the real kind).
Xylitol and erythritol are the only ones I'd consider consuming regularly, and they will be uncomfortable until you develop a tolerance for them.
I have never heard of anyone that has ever experienced constipation resulting from sugar alcohols. It has always emphatically (and sometimes noisily) been the antipode to that condition.
And this is not to say we don't have snacks ever; but as you noted, if we have the snacks, it is a temptation for us, as well. This is the reason we never buy sodas.
We are lucky because our kids will gripe some, but we can explain that the snacks are bad for "us" not just them. And they so far seem to be respecting that.
Only "secret" I know to help this is we don't let our kids get food after dinner. If they don't eat dinner, they just don't get food that evening. This is actually helped by not having snacks and extra food around the house.
Is Home shopping available in your area? It’s a lot easier to avoid sweets if you aren’t walking around a supermarket.
One of the parents being strict about his/her diet also helps as that focus can result in changes for the family as a whole.
Children model their behavior off their parents and peers.
> Also I am addicted to fake sugar (Truvia/Stevia etc). I use them almost everyday.
Young children do not comprehensively understand the difference between actual caloric versus non-caloric sweeteners. If you are talking about young (<10 yo) children, that have known no other life than watching parents and peers down sweet foodstuffs their entire lives, daily in your case, then they will accept that as normal.
> Are they bad than natural sugar or worst or same?
Behaviorally, I believe non-caloric sweeteners are worse for children. It is setting up a norm for them in their later lives that puts them at a disadvantage understanding nutrition, as they then ingrain into their habits a sweets throughout every day and every food norm that is increasingly difficult to dislodge when they grow into young adults and older.
Teaching my children nutritional balance is my goal. Balance to me personally is not the American or American-derived food pyramid, though. You will have to fumble your way through this, as pediatric nutrition research is as much all over the map as adult nutrition. Personally, I'm genetically deficient with an extremely strong family history of Type 2 diabetes, and I have very likely passed that onto my children, so my choices won't be your choices. In a developed-world context however, it is relatively safe to let them free-range (as much as they want) green leafy vegetables with minimal to no dressing. Free-range up to reasonable amounts of other vegetables that are predominately or contain lots of complex carbohydrates (like carrots, celery, etc., as long as the diet is filled with a diverse range). Sufficient proteins and fats depending upon what pediatric research you subscribe to that defines "sufficient" for pediatric developmental goals. Fill remaining caloric budget with complex carbohydrates with low glycemic values. As little processing as possible for everything. Tap water for hydration; not bottled, not ultra-filtered, not carbonated, not oil-flavored, not iced, not diluted juices.
6 years-old is when I was able to teach mine to simplistically read a nutrition label; at that age, they were able to see that a particular packaged food for example is overwhelmingly sugar, with little to no proteins, fats or complex carbohydrates, and willingly place it back on the shelf. It helps in my case that they are terrified of needles, then see me testing my blood sugar many times a day, and remember that I told them when I was younger, I ate too much sugar, and now have a disease that requires I eat as little sugar as possible. They don't want to have to poke themselves to draw blood now, so they are much more moderate in their sugar consumption compared to many peers.
If you didn't start them out as infants along this path, take very small steps over a long period of time, and model your own behavior for them. How small the adjustments, and how long a time period, is governed by the individual child, your creativity, and your parenting time/effort. Your tolerance to whining and fits over the world is going to end if they don't get what they want, as well. Offer two choices, both representing a moderately reasonable adjustment. Fasting for even up to a full 24 hours two times a year separated by 4-6 months each time is not developmentally harmful for children 5 years old or older if you encounter refusal to choose one of the alternatives; many children will do that just catching a really bad stomach bug.
As long as you don't react emotionally to tantrums, acknowledge their feelings that it is hard to change, etc., then change is difficult but doable.
I'm curious because that's my wife's lifeblood for a life without sugar. Without fake sugars.. I don't know what she'd do.
I say apparently because its been passed on to me in conversation with friends who medical staff. However that was a number of years ago and I haven't done the research myself to confirm; so as with every thing on the internet, take it with a grain of salt.
The tricky thing is some artificial sweeteners spiked mine, while others triggered hers.
So it isn't enough to say "artificial sweeteners do | do not", you'd need to test your own reactions via blood glucose testing. So many pin pricks. Neat data though.
I used to eat a few bowls of ice cream each day. I'd drink tons of root beer and cream soda. I still miss it every so often, but I know it's the right choice for me given how my body reacts to it.
I have found that I have no problems with monk fruit. The first time I tried it, it didn't really taste sweet. There was more just an after taste that I was unfamiliar with. After having it a few times though, my tongue must have adapted because it is a sweet flavor to me now. I don't crave it and have no negative side effects when I stop eating it.
It feels pretty liberating to cut out the stuff that you have cravings for. I was definitely a slave to caffeine and sugar and I'm glad to be free from those traps now.
I found my sodium and sugar intake were way to high, and foods I thought were high in protein were often not. Now I read the white label on every food item I buy at the grocery store. After several years my tastes have changed so that I no longer enjoy foods that were once my favorite. I'm very glad I did this experiment at age 20, it probably saved me from obesity and type 2 diabetes.
I do not think this is necessary long-term (and it can be harmful if you take it to the extreme), but it is really helpful to calibrate your perception of portion sizes and calories relative to what you can eat in a day. You start to look at things like chipotle burritos and pop-tarts in a much different manner.
Two days ago I was wondering, why there is this thing called 'energy' on nutrition labels. I mean its not 1:1 sugar, but somehow those two seem to have a positive correlation and while sugar has a bad reputation, energy sounds very positive. Who doesn't want more energy?