The Best Natural Sweeteners: Healthy Alternatives

Stevia Feedback

12 User Reviews
5 star (5) 
  42%
1 star (2) 
  17%
(5) 
  42%


Posted by Christine (Virginia Beach, USA) on 04/20/2008

Regarding saccarhin and stevia: Saccarhin is a known carcinogin and ought not be in the American food supply. See: http://www.doctoryourself.com/fakesweet.html

In addition, stevia possesses medicinal properties that have been known and used for centuries by South American Indians to help lower blood sugar, high blood pressure, and is a cardiotonic. Modern medical research has confirmed their views.

In addition, research has demonstrated that stevia is an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agent. See: http://www.rain-tree.com/stevia.htm


Stevia Feedback
Posted by Candace (San Francisco, CA) on 03/12/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Being allergic to sugar and knowing how evil artificial sweeteners are, I have found Stevia as a marvelous substitute. My ears have stopped ringing, my skin has cleared up, and I no longer crave diet sodas. Stevia is all natural and has no side effects - at least that I have found to date. As stated, "Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, even enhancing glucose tolerance."

It is "a native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America." "Millions of Japanese people have been using stevia for over thirty years with no reported or known harmful effects.[32] Similarly, stevia leaves have been used for centuries in South America spanning multiple generations in ethno-medical tradition as a treatment of type II diabetes." Wikipedia

Replied by Lori
(La Pine, Or)
01/24/2013
0 out of 5 stars

Please be careful with stevia. I was consuming it in my teas and daily vitamin drinks, and found I had problems swallowing pills and breathing... Would sit in my recliner and just gasp for breath! This went on for a considerable time before I figured out the cause was the stevia! There can be side effects to anything you consume and we all need to use caution and be a food detective!

Replied by Sheila
(Ky)
01/08/2018
0 out of 5 stars

It is in the ragweed family! So many people are highly allergic to ragweed and react badly to stevia! I suffered for years before I figured out it was the stevia was making me ill!


Stevia Feedback
Posted by Gwen (Lakewood, Colorado) on 05/16/2007
5 out of 5 stars

For those of us that Love our sugar & sweets, Sugar, aspartame, & other dangerous sweetener's can be replaced with StevIa which is a plant, tree I think. Not sure if it has any real health value beyond replacing sugar, which is a huge health benefit alone. You can buy at the health store.


Stevia Feedback
Posted by Hiral (Chicago) on 02/25/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Just got some Stevita Stevia in powder form. I added it to some chai as a sweetener and the first thing happened was my whole head just had this tingling feeling and my nostrils opened up and some sinus drainage. It was weird but it reduced the chronic sinus pressure I have due to allergies. I only used 1/4 tsp. It also stops my sugar cravings.


Stevia Feedback
Posted by Sharon (Henryette, OK) on 01/20/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I use stevia, and believe in it completely. I grow my own stevia, and was wondering how to process it. right now i just air dry it and keep it in jars. Sharon

Replied by Romona
(Olivet, MI)
11/12/2008

Please tell me how you grow your own stevia. I've never heard of anyone growing their own. I live in Michigan and don't have a green thumb but I love stevia. Thanks Romona

Replied by Pat
(Dowagiac, MI)
01/19/2009

Romona, I live in Michigan and grow Stevia successfully. Here's how - get the seeds started the beginning of March. Plant out after the end of May, and when I plant, I put compost and a handfull of cow manure at the base of each plant, and then put mulch around them. I use shredded paper, with homemade mulch on top. It will be ready to harvest just before 1st frost. If you see any flowers start, harvest it right away. I pull the whole plant, tie several together by the roots, and hang from the rafters in the garage for a few weeks till they are thoroughly dry. Pull off the leaves and crush or put in a blender or processor to make a fine green powder. Anything you put it in, will turn green though - just a warning.

Replied by Karen
(Destin, FL)
01/25/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Hi. I grow stevia too, it's very easy, grows like a weed. In fact, I don't harvest the whole plant, I just let it die down in the winter then in spring it pops up again.


Sugar Vs Corn Syrup

Posted by Ray Greenfield (Hudson, MI) on 03/23/2009

Drinking soda pop can literally kill you. apparently the soda companies have done something to the mixture over the years, that makes this product far worse health wise. make no mistake about it. the intake of sugar (a lot of sugar) certainly damages your immune system, that i'm convinced of. i stopped drinking soda pop shortly after a freak accident. ( the freak accident?) i carelessly left a 24 pack sitting in the truck of my car overnight. the temperature dropped to -5F that night with a wind chill of -25. the next morning expecting a disaster in that trunk,the pop had not froze or exploded out of the cans. as a matter of fact, this so-called healthy soda acted more like a weak grade of antifreeze. i just couldn't get over the fact, that this flavored carbonated water with sugar beverage didn't freeze that night. a short time after that incident i stopped drinking it immediately after finally coming to the realization of was destroyed my once superb health. it took a severe weight gain, chronic fatigue, ever increasing stomach problems and a case of double pneumonia to finally convince me that this stuff was indeed the cause (my consumption of this well marketed poison) i will never touch it again ever. in fact,i won't even drink it "in a dream" I've read all those class-action lawsuits (against those pop companies) and all i can say is this, to those money first lawyers. your suing those soda pop manufacturers for all the wrong reasons???


Sugar Vs Corn Syrup
Posted by Sam (Marietta, GA) on 03/21/2009

FYI...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/21/dining/21sugar.html?_r=1

The New York Times/Dining & Wine Section
By KIM SEVERSON
Published: March 20, 2009

Sugar, the nutritional pariah that dentists and dietitians have long reviled, is enjoying a second act, dressed up as a natural, healthful ingredient.

From the tomato sauce on a Pizza Hut pie called "The Natural," to the just-released soda Pepsi Natural, some of the biggest players in the American food business have started, in the last few months, replacing high-fructose corn syrup with old-fashioned sugar.

ConAgra uses only sugar or honey in its new Healthy Choice All Natural frozen entrees. Kraft Foods recently removed the corn sweetener from its salad dressings, and is working on its Lunchables line of portable meals and snacks.

The turnaround comes after three decades during which high-fructose corn syrup had been gaining on sugar in the American diet. Consumption of the two finally drew even in 2003, according to the Department of Agriculture. Recently, though, the trend has reversed. Per capita, American adults ate about 44 pounds of sugar in 2007, compared with about 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup.

"Sugar was the old devil, and high-fructose corn syrup is the new devil," said Marcia Mogelonsky, a senior analyst at Mintel International, a market-research company.

With sugar sales up, the Sugar Association last year ended its Sweet by Nature campaign, which pointed out that sugar is found in fruits and vegetables, said Andy Briscoe, president of the association. "Obviously, demand is moving in the right direction so we are taking a break," Mr. Briscoe said.

Blamed for hyperactivity in children and studied as an addictive substance, sugar has had its share of image problems. But the widespread criticism of high-fructose corn syrup -- the first lady, Michelle Obama, has said she will not give her children products made with it -- has made sugar look good by comparison.

Most scientists do not share the perception. Though research is still under way, many nutrition and obesity experts say sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are equally bad in excess. But, as is often the case with competing food claims, the battle is as much about marketing as it is about science.

Some shoppers prefer cane or beet sugar because it is less processed. High-fructose corn syrup is produced by a complex series of chemical reactions that includes the use of three enzymes and caustic soda.

Others see the pervasiveness of the inexpensive sweetener as a symbol of the ill effects of government subsidies given to large agribusiness interests like corn growers.

But the most common argument has to do with the rapid rise of obesity in the United States, which began in the 1980s, not long after industrial-grade high-fructose corn syrup was invented. As the amount of the sweetener in the American diet has expanded, so have Americans.

Although the price differential has since dropped by about half, high-fructose corn syrup came on the market as much as 20 percent cheaper than sugar. And it was easier to transport. As a result, the sweetener soon turned up in all kinds of products, including soda, bread, yogurt, frozen foods and spaghetti sauce.

But with sugar newly ascendant, the makers of corn syrup are fighting back. Last fall, the Corn Refiners Association mounted a multimillion-dollar defense, making sure that an advertisement linking to the association's Web site, sweetsurprise.com, pops up when someone types "sugar" or "high-fructose corn syrup" into some search engines.

In one television advertisement, a mother pours fruit punch into a cup while another scolds her because the punch contains high-fructose corn syrup. When pressed to explain why it is so bad, the complaining mother is portrayed as a speechless fool.

Audrae Erickson, president of the Corn Refiners Association, said consumers were being duped.

"When they discover they are being misled into thinking these new products are healthier, that's the interesting angle," Ms. Erickson said in an interview.

Although researchers are looking into the effects of fructose on liver function, insulin production and other possible contributors to excess weight gain, no major studies have made a definitive link between high-fructose corn syrup and poor health. The American Medical Association says that when it comes to obesity, there is no difference between the syrup and sugar.

And, Ms. Erickson added, the Food and Drug Administration considers both sweeteners natural.

Dr. Robert H. Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco Children's Hospital, said: "The argument about which is better for you, sucrose or HFCS, is garbage. Both are equally bad for your health."

Both sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are made from glucose and fructose. The level of fructose is about 5 percent higher in the corn sweetener.

Dr. Lustig studies the health effects of fructose, particularly on the liver, where it is metabolized. Part of his research shows that too much fructose -- no matter the source -- affects the liver in the same way too much alcohol does.

But all of that is irrelevant to some food manufacturers, who are switching to sugar as a result of extensive taste testing and consumer surveys.


Xylitol

1 User Review
5 star (1) 
  100%


Posted by Veronica (Edmonton, Queensland) on 03/06/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Hi great site, just want to share what I found out about xylitol. Its a sugar alternative, a wood alcohol. Safe for diabetics, as a very low GI (7) and as sweet as sugar. Can't be used in breadmaking as it won't let yeast grow.

It inhibits growth of Streptococcus pneumoniae as well as attachment of Haemophilus influenzae on the nasopharangeal cells.

So as sugars enhance the growth of bacterias, this won't let them adhere to cells. A simplified explanation.

But even more exciting is its beneficial effects for chronic middle ear infections (esp children), and dental health, yeah amazing!!

6 grams a day for dental health as it inhibits the growth of the bacteria in the mouth that cause caries, which allows the appropriate systems to help with the re enamailizing of the teeth. ( check out other dental sites which sell products like chewing gum and toothpaste - bugger off fluoride! ).

It doesn't get used by the body as an energy source. No known toxicity. It has a laxative effect as sugar alcohols are not fully broken down during digestion.

Can make a saline solution with xylitol ( sea salt, xylotol and water, I made a solution of equal teaspoons of each, and gargled regularly for onset of Strep throat). Nasally administered, reduced ear & sinus complaints by 92%.

Medical trials have been done, check out the site.

Cheers Veronica


Xylitol Feedback

7 User Reviews
5 star (2) 
  29%
1 star (2) 
  29%
(3) 
  43%


Posted by Steve (West Palm Beach, FL) on 07/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Xylitol gave me noteable relief from my sinus issues.

I made a 10 percent Xylitol and distilled water solution (no saline) and ran it through my nasal pulsator and felt relief within an hour. Now on my second day I still feel better and made a nasal spray using an old empty nasal spray device.

Xylitol is a natural sugar our bodies create 10mg per day of the stuff!!! It is 5 bucks at whole foods for a decent size container.

Don't believe me...research it yourself on the web...it is a food not a chemical...the FDA says it is just about completely safe (of course nothing is safe used improperly)...thge bacteria think it is their food (sugar) but it is sugar alcohol so they can't metabolize it and the bacteria wash out of your sinuses.

Many people on the web say the above and I have finally gotten some relief and I think this is a safe method and I encourage all nasal sinus sufferers to check it out.

I wish I had read this (my own) "blog" a year ago.

I tried it all...5 rounds of antibiotics...MMS...GSE...tomatoe tea...Xylitol seems like I finally have a clue how to get better.

Replied by Linda
(Alpharetta, Ga)
09/15/2011

I tried Xylotol several times and I always ended up with diarrhea and tummy ache and so did my family. I also used Xylotol toothpaste hoping it would reduce plaque, since my saliva is very acidic, but it did not make any difference.

I do love stevia. I have been using Stevia now for more than 1 year.


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Bonnie (Sanford, FLorida) on 06/11/2009
0 out of 5 stars

Well, I have been using xylitol for about a year as my sweetner for coffee and I LOVE it! I decided to make some maple syrup for my children with it and they have been in pain for 3 days now! It is awful stuff for little ones. Their tummies can't handle it. I put the syrup (2cups xylitol and 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp. of maple syrup extract) on their waffles and that was it. I also had to be careful that the dog didn't get any of the dropped food which he loves to eat. It wasn't worth it but I still use it. I also like Agave a whole lot too.

Replied by April
(Pleasant Grove, Utah)
06/13/2009

To Bonnie from Sanford, Florida,

Hey there! Sorry to hear about your little ones. I used to work for a company that sold xylitol products. The reason your little ones got so sick is because xylitol is hydrophylic meaning it draws moisture to itself. When xylitol is used in a large amount in a liquid... like syrup or kool-aid it's going to have a laxative effect on almost anyone regardless of age. I do feel that xylitol is still a good choice as a sugar substitute, just remember that simple rule when preparing food with it. NO LARGE AMOUNTS IN A LIQUID. Cookies, brownies, etc.. you should be fine. Plus you're eliminating the spike in blood sugar and making a good choice for your teeth and gums. Hope this helps!


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Viktoria (New York, NY) on 11/08/2008
5 out of 5 stars

natural sweeteners feedback (xylitol feedback):

i've been using xylitol regularly for the last 2 years. i only use xylitol as a sweetener. i use it in tea, coffee, make pancaked with it, bake with it, you name it. for a former sugar / chocolate junkie it has been something close to a miracle. it has totally cured me of my sugar cravings, my teeth feel super clean throughout the day to a degree that i do not feel the need to brush them because i don't have that feeling of having a dirty coating on them (which occurs every time i consume sweets with sugar).

as for the lady who experienced diarrhea: this occurs sometimes (i did not experience anything of that sort) and goes away after a transition time of around 2 weeks after which the body gets used to the new substance. the body produces tiny amounts of xylitol itself. according to wikipedia (which in my opinion is pretty conservative) xylitol has incredible health benefits. read for yourself: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol

my favorite xylitol meal: 100% pure unsweetened chocolate, melted with almond milk and sweetened with xylitol. perfect as a chocolate sauce over pancakes!


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Christine (River John, Nova Scotia, Canada) on 11/06/2008
0 out of 5 stars

i was wondering if anyone else experiences a headache after consuming xylitol? i have been using XyloSweet ingredients 100% xylitol. is this some kind of detox or is it possibly an allergy? i would appreciate any feed back. Thanks Christine


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Sue (Santa Monica, CA) on 08/26/2008
0 out of 5 stars

Just a warning about Xylitol. Don't go anywhere (ie the office or on a plane) before you know how much your system can tolerate! I bought xylitol last week and added a heaping teaspoon to my tea. Later in the day, I did another teaspoon. My stomach started to loosen up (ie a few trips to the bathroom), but I didn't pay much attention. I had read the writing on the xylitol bottle which said diarrhea can occur after 25 grams, which was far more than what I was consuming. So early in the night I had another cup of tea with a teaspoon of xylitol. Okay, that was it! 10 minutes after drinking the tea and for the next 4 hours, I kid you not, I was rushing to the bathroom every 5 minutes.. It would have been a disaster if I had been in a public place. Ha ha. If you want a great intestinal cleanser, this may be a remedy for you. Good luck!

P.S. It really does taste like sugar. I will try it again, but maybe just once per day.

Replied by Marla
(Atlanta, Georgia, Usa)
03/17/2011

I've recently tried xylitol after researching it online, and I found that it did require a slight adjustment period for my body. The first day, I was so happy to have found a sweetener that tasted exactly like cane sugar with no aftertaste, zero effective carbs, and was good for my dental health, that I may have overdone it. I probably had 8 packets or so the first day, and that resulted in loose bowels that night (quickly remedied with a pinch of activated charcoal).

Since then, I've had 1-4 packets per day with no intestinal issues and no spikes in blood sugar (I am hypoglycemic and very sensitive to blood sugar spikes and deficits). I'm very happy with this find, as I'm wary of the potential health impact of artificial sweeteners and don't care for the taste of stevia. Now I put 1 packet of xylitol and a bit of blackstrap molasses in my coffee, and it tastes better and is better for me.


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Deb (Dallas, USA) on 08/23/2008
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

I read the information about Stevia, and Xylitol. While I do enjoy using either one, it's important to point out that Xylitol is toxic to pets , and should not be consumed by them in any form.(Table scraps, homemade recipes,etc.) Salt, grapes, raisins, and chocolate are dangerous too. I am greatful for Earth Clinic, and all who are working together to learn more about living life more abundantly through natural healing remedies. Blessings in Abundance to All. God Bless!

EC: Very important to know, thanks Deb.

Replied by Diann
(Austin, Tx)
08/26/2010
1 out of 5 stars

Warning

I am a diabetic formerly on insulin - who stopped insulin and now control my diabetes with diet and exercise. When I was on insulin I could use xylitol and not notice it raising my blood sugar. Now however, it raises my blood sugar a LOT. Even toothpaste or gum with xylitol will raise my blood sugar. This makes me sad - but I fear that it may actually do this to other people too - keep an eye out for this if you are a diabetic (off drugs) it take a couple of hours for my blood sugar to go up - but it does and I try to keep away from it now.


Xylitol Feedback
Posted by Kathy (Ozark, MO) on 08/17/2008

Just wanted to let you know, I found a site that sells all of the herbs and other vitamins at low price. It's called VitaCost...

http://www.vitacost.com/

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener primarily derived from plant sources and has many surprising benefits. Xylitol is not actually a sugar, it's a sugar alcohol. Other sugar alcohols include erythritol, maltitol and sorbitol. Unlike other sugars it has five, not six, carbon atoms. Classified as a low calorie (2.4 calories per gram), low carbohydrate natural sweetener, xylitol is considered beneficial for your teeth and completely safe for diabetics. It has no toxicity and has not been linked to any form of disease.

Xylitol Crystals
One surprising fact about xylitol is how readily available in nature it is; making it possible to extract from a variety of sources. It's found in fruits, berries, lettuce, and corn cobs.

Traditionally, xylitol was extracted from birch trees (Birch Sugar), however many manufacturers have switched to environmentally friendly corn cobs. This insures that the production of xylitol does not contribute to the deforestation of trees and maintains a low cost to the consumer.

Xylitol is as sweet as sugar, without the calories and can be substituted one for one in place of cane sugar. When substituting xylitol for sugar, add more liquid as xylitol doesn't caramelize and can tend to make some recipes drier.

History Of Xylitol

Xylitol was discovered in 1891 by a German chemist, but it wasn't until the sugar shortage in WWII that alternative sweeteners were considered. Xylitol was introduced to the United States in 1963 when the FDA officially approved it as a sweetener and it's been gaining in popularity ever since.

Benefits

Xylitol rebalances the body's pH by creating an alkaline environment, which helps the body fight bacteria, viruses, and parasites that tend to grow in an acidic envrionment. Due to xylitol's high fiber content consuming more than 12 grams in one meal can yield a laxative effect to varying degrees.

visit this site for Xylitol (cheapest price I found)
http://www.emeraldforestxylitol.com

Replied by Laurie
(Lynn, Massachusetts)
12/02/2008

I've never tried Xylitol but I have tried AGAVE and I have to tell everyone that this stuff is really good! It comes from the Agave plant in Mexico and is a great sweetener that even diabetics can have. It comes in a light color which is alot like honey and a dark amber color which is a bit like maple syrup. Each one has a great flavor and no aftertaste at all!!! It is very good!!! Google Agave and find out all about it.

Azna
(U.S.A.)
08/10/2020

Several years ago, I was using pure agave as a sweetener in my smoothies. I started getting pain in my liver area. I became alarmed.

Around that time, I received an email from Dr. Mercola which featured agave, among other topics of discussion. I am on his email subscription list. In that article, Dr. Mercola said that agave can cause liver failure because it causes the same reaction in the body as high fructose corn syrup. I stopped using agave after that. My liver pain started decreasing. I am still trying to find a sweetener which is anti-candida and which is good for diabetics to use, although I am not diabetic or have hyperglycemia at present. I may be pre-diabetic.

I use maple syrup but am wondering if it is good for me. I do not use honey because I am a vegan.

I also have tried an organic, liquid, monk fruit extract but it has an aftertaste and I want something I can use to sweeten my tea without having to use a ton of sweetener. With the monk fruit extract, my tea did not taste sweet even after using a ton of drops in one cup, and it is not inexpensive, either.

I had read years ago about a diabetic-friendly sweetener that starts with the letter "m" but I cannot recall what it was. It is not maltodextrin or d'mannose. It was supposed to be the best sweetener for diabetics. However, even then it was not inexpensive. I wish I could recall the name of this particular sweetener. I have also tried coconut sugar, coconut nectar, etc. I love coconut nectar but again, it is not that sweet. It is not as sweet as maple syrup.

I read that maple syrup is a healthy sweetener but I tend to use 4 tablespoons or 5 tablespoons in my banana-sesame smoothie and I am worried that it might be contributing to tingling, numbness, and capillary damage in the tips of my fingers and in the bottom of my feet. I have tried stevia but did not care for the aftertaste or the fact that it is processed.

Green leaf stevia did not sweeten my beverages at all. I have also tried brown rice syrup, molasses, etc. I am still looking for that perfect sweetener. I may not find it, but I will continue trying. I have tried date sugar and dates also. I am thinking of buying organic fruit powders to sweeten my beverages but they are expensive and I am not sure that they will sweeten my beverages as sweet as I want them to be.

Cindy
(Illinois, Usa)
08/11/2020
343 posts

Re sweetener with an "m" - could you be talking about monk fruit?

Replied by Barbara
(Princeton, Nj)
08/05/2010

Do some research on agave. When I first started preparing raw food, and treats, I thought agave was the balm.... Not so. There is a lot information out there suggesting agave is not healthy....... Do your research. It does taste great in recipes.... But I do find myself feeling addicted to it as I do with other sugary sweets.. No spikes like sugar, but still craving, which makes me wonder...

Replied by Sally_oh
(Escazu, San Jose, Costa Rica)
10/02/2011

Xylitol made from corncobs will be GMO xylitol. I avoid all GMO (genetically modified organisms) like the plague.

Replied by Art
(California)
08/10/2020
928 posts

I think the sweetner with an "M" that you are thinking of might be mannitol.

Xylitol, to me tastes closest to sugar and is anti-candida in the sense that you are eliminating the sugar that the candida feeds on.

Art