I recently posted to my friends on Facebook, asking about their sweetener of choice. Huge response! I get so many questions on this, I though I would give you my opinion… it’s just another one to add to group, but here’s my POV. Some of this is based on research I have collected from the medical experts with whom I surround myself, and some is just based on my personal views.
The pink – saccharin: This has been around since the 60s and 70s. At first everyone thought it was the miracle sugar substitute. Then it got a “causes cancer” wrap – of course, proven and disproven depending upon the article you read or expert you consult. It’s very concentrated. Not a good source for baking as it does not hold up to heat and leaves an aftertaste if you use a lot of it.
My personal opinion: Many years ago I recommended this product as an alternative to sugar (you will see references for it in my early books). I felt it was better than aspartame if you were going to use an artificial sweetener. With the information I have today, I still think it is the least offensive of the artificial sweeteners, however, I do not use it or any artificial sweeteners.
The blue – aspartame: Took the spotlight from the pink in the 80s. Again, this was the miracle NEW sweetener. Less aftertaste, and didn’t seem to have that cancer causing issue that had freaked out so many with saccharin. Then in the late 90s we started to see reports that maybe this artificial sweetener was dangerous as well. There was a particularly nasty online article that took off virally - slandering aspartame (mostly from diet soda drinkers) and linking it to cancer, brain tumors, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Many sources say this “chain letter” is anecdotal, from anonymous sources and scientifically implausible. Upon reading it again today, I see Dr. Russell Blaylock was quoted in it all those years ago, stating, “The ingredients stimulate the neurons of the brain to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees.”
In 2008 I interviewed Blaylock for my book, Breakthrough, and he cited two new studies by one of the biggest cancer research institutes in the world, The Ramazzini Foundation of Oncology and Environmental Sciences in Italy. The results confirmed that aspartame breaks down in the body to formaldehyde, which breaks up the DNA and leaves the body with double-strand breaks, most associated with cancer induction. He states, “We had good evidence before that aspartame most likely produced cancer, and now we know it does for sure.” (For more information, read Breakthrough, p. 38.)
My personal opinion: I don’t use any artificial sweeteners, and certainly not this one.
Aspartame is still sold and added to over 6,000 products. The FDA does not report any safety issues.
To read the viral piece on aspartame with the rebuttals, click here.
The yellow – sucralose: “Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar.” That means it’s natural, right? Around the turn of the century, the new yellow packets became the rage (once aspartame was exposed). One of the big benefits is that it measures just like sugar – making it easier to use in baking. Come to find out, sucralose is made by taking a sugar molecule and adding chlorine to it. I am always shocked when I tell people this and they say, “So? What’s the problem with chlorine?”
I interviewed Dr. Steven Hotze in Breakthrough, who states, “Toxins are the big problem. How about Splenda? It’s sucralose, which is chlorinated hydrocarbon, which is toxic. Any chlorinated hydrocarbon in the world is toxic, carcinogenic. Splenda was originally made as a pesticide-go dump it on your ant beds and come back tomorrow to see all the dead ants.” (Breakthrough, p. 345)
My personal opinion: I don’t use any artificial sweeteners.
Studies also show artificial sweeteners are addictive. This addiction makes us crave more and more sweet foods and can actually cause weight gain, rather than weight loss – which is the reason most people use these products anyway.
The green – stevia: Stevia is 100% natural, extracted from a plant in South America, it has a low glycemic index and there are no controversial reports on the health or safety of this natural sweetener.
My personal opinion: I use this product now and then, but I do not like the licorice aftertaste. I have not had luck baking with it due to this aftertaste. It’s less offensive in coffee, but I like my coffee without sweetener anyway.
The real stuff - raw sugar, honey, white sugar: All are accepted by the body as sugar. I use them in moderation. I prefer honey of the three, then raw sugar, then white sugar. All cause increases in insulin, our fat storing hormone. Controlling this hormone, so that our food is burned as fuel rather than stored as fat, is a key tenant to my weight loss plan, Sexy Forever, so I moderate my use of all of these sugars.
My personal opinion: Much better choices than artificial sweeteners, but I use them only in moderation to keep my weight and health in check.
Agave – 100% natural. I have been using agave nectar as a low-glycemic liquid sweetener for the past five years or so. It’s the consistency of honey, but is not supposed to spike insulin, like honey. I really like the taste and consistency of this product. Love it on Greek yogurt with a little cinnamon. Now there is controversial information that the manufacturing process turns this natural sweetener into a syrup, similar to high fructose corn syrup – stating that agave nectar is actually 90% fructose. Still, fructose is 20 on the glycemic index as opposed to sugar which is 100!
My personal opinion: I use agave, but only organic agave to make sure there are no chemicals in the extraction process. So far I have believed this is a healthy, natural alternative to sugar or honey, with a lower glycemic index. The recent news about the manufacturing process turning this into a product similar it high fructose corn syrup is on my radar. I need more information. My ears are open for the next round of research.
The purple one - All Natural SomerSweet: This is my signature sweetener. It’s 100% natural. It has taken me years to develop it. When I first debuted original SomerSweet, I didn’t have the information I have today and it contained a very small amount of artificial sweetener. We have since reformulated to All Natural SomerSweet which is a 100% natural product - and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have all artificial sweeteners out of my system. Knowledge is power. As I learn, I adjust. And I pass along my information to you. All Natural SomerSweet spoons into coffee tea just like sugar, but what I really love about this product is how it bakes! I use it cup for cup in place of sugar in recipes with excellent results. And it’s only 5 on the glycemic index so it won’t spike my insulin. Great for those on my Sexy Forever plan.
Ingredients: All Natural SomerSweet is mostly made from inulin, which is a chicory fiber. This is a pre-biotic soluble fiber – something your body needs anyway. It also contains erythritol – a natural substance found in pears, melons, grapes, mushrooms and wine. While erythritol is categorized as a sugar alcohol, it has no gassy side effects. Additionally, there is a small amount of fructose found in our inulin blend, but it’s such a low amount, we still boast 0 sugars per serving. Lastly, citrus peel extract rounds out the flavor.
My personal opinion: Great for cold or hot drinks. Excellent for baking. No aftertaste. The fiber may cause you to “move” a little, but that’s a good thing! Start slowly and build your way up. Available in individual packets or cans.
As a special offer for my Facebook friends, enter coupon code FACEBOOK at checkout and receive 50% off your first order of All Natural SomerSweet Packets*! (limited time while supplies last).
For more information on All Natural SomerSweet, click here.