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FOOD:  SWEETENERS

 


I am providing this page for people concerned about the effect of sugar on their health.  The intent is to give you information about resources for sweeteners that are healthier than sugar. 

Before detailing the sweetener resources, there are some general points that are very important to consider.

General Sweetener Points

1. I believe that it is helpful to get comfortable with a number of different sweeteners. You can focus on one or two main sweeteners and use others to add a little variety to your food. For healing and disease prevention it is preferable to use the safer sweeteners listed below in relatively small amounts and primarily not near mealtime.

2. I believe that while it is very important not to be too restrictive in a diet, it can be helpful to use sweeteners that contribute to health-building. 

I am a big believer in gradually and comfortably moving towards a healthy diet and lifestyle. See the Food and Nutrition article on the main web page for more detailed information:

    http://www.holisticmed.com

3. Toxic sweeteners to avoid: neotame, aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame-k (Sunette, Sweet-n-Safe, Sweet One). Use saccharin, cyclamates and sugar alchols only as transitional sweeteners to those mentioned below.

NOTE: If you are a diabetic, it is important to work closely with your healthcare practitioner when you change your diet.  Diabetics can safely use STEVIA (listed below) and usually  small amounts of LICORICE ROOT and FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHRIDES.  Some diabetics who are allowed to use small amounts of  and also use small amounts of Sucanat or Florida Crystals  listed below. Please consult your healthcare practitioner. 

Specific Sweetener Ideas

1. Sucanat

Whole cane sugar with water removed. You can get sucanat products mail order from Purity Foods (800/997-7358). Nutra Cane (603-672-2801) distributes sucanat in the US. Also, a company called Florida Crystals sells this product. It is still sugar as far as diabetics are concerned, but it contains a small amount vitamins and minerals which helps reduce some of the negative effects found in long term use of white sugar.

2. Barley Malt

Sunspire (510/569-9731) sells a malted barley product. Some people are sensitive to barley malt. However, they may have been sensitive to the malt because MSG is often hidden in the "malt" in processed foods.

3. Stevia

From a South American plant called Stevia.  It is 300 times sweeter than sugar so it is used in extremely small amounts. It is used by diabetics in many parts of the world. Stevia books and cookbooks can be found at http://www.holisticmed.com/books/bk_food.html#stevia.  You can purchase stevia from:

Consumer Direct
640 South Perry Lane
Suite #2
Tempe, AZ 85281
(800) 899-9908
(602) 921-2160
Sells liquid concentrate of Stevia from Paraguay.

Body Ecology Diet
1266 West Paces Ferry Road
Suite 505
Atlanta, GA 30327
(404) 266-1366
(800) 896-7838
Sells Stevia powder from China.

Richters Herbs
Goodwood, ON L0C 1A0, Canada
Tel +1-905-640-6677 Fax 640-6641
Info: info@richters.com
Catalog Requests: catalog@richters.com
Sells stevia plants

Stephen J. Marsden
Herbal Advantage, Inc.
Route 3, Box 93
Rogersville, MO 65742
Phone: 800-753-9199 or 417-753-4000
Fax: 417-753-2000
Email: Herbal@dialnet.net
http://www.HerbalAdvantage.com
Sells stevia powder, extract, and plants. (Can ship same day small orders or up to hundreds of pounds.) Dealer inquiries invited. Custom bottling and labeling available. Free Catalog of herbs and spices.

Sunrider Distributors (SunnyDew - sold as a dietary supplement, my favorite for taste)

U.S.A.
1625 Abalone Avenue
Torrance, CA 90501
310-781-3808

CANADA
Sunrider International Canada
1438 Broadway Street
Port Coquitlam, B.C., Canada V3C 5W2
604-464-5018
604-464-5888 (Fax)

EUROPE HEADQUARTERS
Sunrider Europe, Inc.
First Floor
195 Knightsbridge
London, SW7 1RE
United Kingdom
44-171-838-0900
44-171-838-0991 (Fax - Distributors)

AUSTRALIA
Sunrider Australia
810 Princes Highway
Springvale, Victoria 3171
61-3-9263-9999 (Main Phone)
61-3-9263-9933 (Distrib./Orders)

Please see the following web page for offices in other countries:

http://www.holisticmed.com/sweet/sunrider.html

Produce ala Carte
3425 Foothill Blvd.
La Cresenta, CA 91214
818-541-0492
Liquid, capsules and bulk Stevia

Cheryl's Herbs
836 Hanley Industrial Court
St. Louis, MO 63144
(314) 963-4449
(800) 231-5971
(314) 963-4454 (FAX)
email: pawgep@aol.com

The taste of stevia can vary considerably from one vendor's product to another due to different growing conditions, processing, etc. Please try products from several vendors until you find one that you like the best.

4. Fruit Juice

If you shop at a natural foods store, you will notice that many products are sweetened with fruit juice. R.W. Knudsen sodas for example taste almost as sweet as junky soda, but are made with fruit juice and carbonated water. So you get the vitamins and minerals and avoid the junk that usually comes in typical sodas. (I know, a little bit opinionated.)

Natural jello can be made with water, fruit juice and agar-agar as another example of using fruit juice as a sweetener.

5. Honey

It may have contaminants, however, especially if  it is imported. Be certain of the source and quality before using it regularly. Honey should never be given to infant and very young children.

6. Rice Syrup and Yinnie Syrup

These are often found at natural food stores.

7. Licorice Root

Licorice root is one of the most commonly used herbs in the world. No serious adverse reactions have been published about licorice root. Single chemical extracts have caused serious adverse reactions on occasion when used in medicine or candy, but the whole root does not cause these serious reactions. A single chemical extract of glycyrrhizin from licorice root causes the blood level of this chemical to rise dramatically. This does not happen to when whole licorice root is taken in reasonable amounts. (See Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 102, Supplement 9, November 1994, 65-68.) See the book, "The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine" by Dr. Daniel B. Mowrey for a more detailed discussion of licorice root.

Most herbalists believe that it is wise to avoid excessive and long-term use of licorice root. Many herbalists believe that long-term use can cause water retention and hypertension in some people. I use it in tea and herbal formulas often, but it always comprises less than 25% of the formula or tea (usually around 10%). 

Licorice root is safe for diabetics, but I would not use it as a primary sweetener. Stevia is a better choice for diabetics, in my opinion. As an example, you may want to consider using stevia and also use fruit juice, small amounts of licorice root in tea, amasake, etc. so that you get variety in your diet. Licorice root is best used in small amounts to give herbal teas a sweet taste.

8. Amasake

Made from sweet brown rice, brown rice and koji (starter). The koji breaks down the polysaccharides in the rice to disarracharides giving it a very sweet taste. Most natural food stores have amasake drinks which you can try -- or you can make it yourself. Try to avoid drinking too much of the amasake drinks made with almonds or nuts as they can be hard on the digestion.

9. Other herbs

There are a number of plants which can be used as a sweetener. Stevia is just one of the more popular ones. There are other herbs which are sweet and safe for everyone which will be added in the future as they become generally available.

10. Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)

This is another very useful product for candida overgrowth patients, as it supports the growth of beneficial bacteria. It is a little expensive to use in large amounts. You can purchase it from:

Allergy Research Group/Nutricology
P.O. Box 489
400 Preda Street
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 639-4572
(800) 545-9960 (info)
(800) 782-4274 (orders)

11. Gradually reduce or eliminate:

Avoid these like the plague. Please don't become a guinea pig for another poorly-tested toxic sweetener only to find out years from now that it contributed to the destruction of your health.

Important Note: MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) has some of the same toxicity mechanisms as the toxic sweetener aspartame. In order to cut out MSG, you need to remove foods with the following ingredients:

MSG that occurs naturally in tomatoes, cheese, etc. is absorbed and metabolized differently (safely) due to other factors in the food. See the following web page http://www.holisticmed.com/msg for more information.

Important Note 2: Please print out, read, and share the following web page about Genetically-Manipulated Food Ingredients as it is the most important food issue of the 21st century:

http://www.soyinfo.com/haz/gehaz.shtml

 


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