Conner, a nutritionist, has an article up at Psychology Today. She doesn’t have too much heartburn about my allowance of stevia in the Parker paleo diet. For example, she writes:
Stevia, a non-caloric sweetener derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant, is a useful sugar alternative, if you don’t mind its slightly metallic, licorice-like taste. Choose minimally processed stevia (green-leaf liquid and powder) rather than the heavily processed white powder. (Stevia processing involves dozens of steps and lots of non-nutritive chemicals to conver tit form green leaf to white powder.)
So, rather than search for the “perfect” sweetener, a better use of our creative energy might be to figure out how to lower our desire for sweet tastes and seek satisfaction from other flavors.
She favors honey when she uses a sweetener. But many diabetics will have unacceptable blood sugar spikes if they eat too much honey.
Much of her article is about sucralose (Splenda).
Read the whole enchilada.
- Too late now!
Paleo diet purists don’t eat artificial sweeteners. Yet many adherents eat paleo-style only 80 or 90% of the time, partly because they miss their sweets. Fruits and honey don’t always hit that sweet spot.
Dietitian Brenna at Eating Simple has a post on sugar substitutes, which I sometimes refer to as non-caloric sweeteners (not entirely accurate). She reviewed sucralose, saccharine, aspartame, and acesulfame potassium.
A few days later, she reviewed sugar alcohols.
Many who have a sweet tooth, including myself, use sugar substitutes such as sugar alcohols. Sometimes they affect blood sugar levels, although not as much as table sugar (sucrose).
Brenna links to a Mayo Clinic article on artificial sweeteners. Also at the Mayo Clinic website is an article by Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell on use of artificial sweeteners specifically by people with diabetes. Like Brenna, she notes that sugar alcohols can raise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Dr. Richard K. Bernstein says acceptable sugar substitutes for PWDs (people with diabetes) are:
- saccharin tablets or liquid
- aspartame tablets
- sucralose tablets and liquid Splenda
He says to be wary of any of these in powdered form because they are usually then mixed with dextrose (glucose) or maltodextrin or other type of sugar to increase bulk. So blood sugars go up.
I never got excited enough to cover this topic in detail myself. Thanks, Brenna!
Steve Parker, M.D.