Carb Counters - Sugar and sugar substitutes?

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01-20-2008, 08:29 AM
Hey there! I know that the good Doctor A recommends Splenda or other Sucralose sweeteners, but so far in my scouring of the swanky Supermarkets of Bangkok I've only found Aspartame-based things - Equal and some Thai thing called Slimma.

To be honest, I'd rather use unrefined brown sugar than all these super processed mystery chemicals. Or honey, perhaps. Which, I realise, is heresy, but how terrible would it be to use a teaspoon or two of sugar in a dessert? (We're talking once in a blue moon, incidentally.) In general I don't like sweetened drinks and I'm getting on fine with no desserts for now, but I'm trying to plan ahead, so that as and when I DO find myself really wanting a dessert, I have some options. I was thinking whipped cream with unsweetned almond butter, or with cocoa, or orange essence, and a dash of sweetener - but I feel quite dubious about fake sweeteners.

Also, on a related note, I noticed the Gelato place where I was buying a bottle of water earlier today had 'Sugar Free Chocolate' icecream. Given that my spoken Thai is painfully limited, and they didn't speak English, the odds of me being able to have a detailed discussion with them about the ingredients aren't good - do we think this would be an acceptable thing to eat, at some point in the future?

Again, this isn't for NOW - I'm trying to think in the long term, and since you can't buy Low Carb/ Low Sugar prepared foods easily, anywhere that I find something possible I'm trying to make a mental note of it.

01-20-2008, 10:22 AM
While I personally use Splenda...I've read that many also use Stevia. It can usually be found in health food stores. You might want to try that:)

01-20-2008, 10:59 AM
my personal opinion on artificial sweeteners, well this is my opinion after doing some reading into the subject, so it's not just my personal opinion, but anyway, my decision is that artificial sweeteners are just as bad, if not worse than sugar.
the more processed something is, generally the more it will make your body acidic rather than alkaline, which is an unhealthy state. Fake sugars are very acid producing in the body. they are also harder to process due to thier more chemical make-up.

Sugar on the other hand, is also not really a natural substance, it is very processed and refined from it's original state. It is also very acid causing and upsets the natural balance of the body. even the brown sugar which is usually sold in the baking sections of the grocery is really just white sugar with some molasses added for color. I think what you are thinking when you mention brown sugar is raw sugar, which is usually found at health stores?

so anyway, that is why for the most part, for an occasional treat, i find real sugar to be preferable to artificial. I mean, have you ever tasted a packet of equal or sugar substitute? it tastes like heck in the first place. To me, nasty taste might be a bodys way of saying don't eat this? i don't know.

For alternatives, i say honey is always my first choice. raw honey or the least processed is high in nutrients and has antibiotic properties. It also is less acid producing, if not a little alkaline causing, depending on the source you read.
then there is also stevia, which is actually an herb, and Agave nectar, from a cactus plant. I've never tried either of these, but have heard of them as being used to add sweetness.

hope that you find some usefulness in my ramblings...

01-20-2008, 12:11 PM
I use splenda or stevia powder in my morning decaf coffee or tea. It really tastes the same but you have to use way less because it has a weird taste otherwise.

You should see if one of the online vitamin peddlers will ship to you in Bangkok. And make sure that you compare prices. I found stevia at one vender [I don't know if I'm allowed to give the name] at almost 50% difference.

Yes, eventually you may be able to have sugar-free ice cream. However, you should pay careful attention to whether it causes cravings.

01-20-2008, 01:02 PM
Store bought sugar-free ice cream's contain sugar alcohols and those = gastric distress BIGTIME!!!
If you want low carb ice cream thats "safe"...make your own:)

01-20-2008, 09:58 PM
I like splenda, I just use very little. You might have some luck finding it online, I like to order from nettrition but don't know if they would ship to you or not.

01-20-2008, 11:35 PM
kaebea - that's pretty much what I was thinking. Are you following Atkins, or one of the other low carb approaches?

I think ordering online is probably going to be my best bet, for either splenda or stevia - thanks for the suggestion, sylvia! - but I agree that on the whole I'd rather use something natural like honey, if I were in a situation where a recipe really called for something sweet - because, you see, I'm really not seeing any Sugar Free dressings/cakemixes/nutritionbars/any damn thing in the stores here. :( And although it's not a pressing issue, because I'm still in Induction and will probably extend it beyond the initial two weeks, I'm trying to be prepared for later on.

Thanks for the recipe, JG! But, again, that's where my can't-find-sucralose-in-the-stores issues crop up! Gah! I suspect that the gelato stand probably make their sugar-free stuff using aspartame, since it seems to be all that's available around here, and the whole thing is that I'm trying not to use dodgy processed chemical substitutes for sugar... sigh. It just caught my eye as I was buying some water, and I had a little blossoming moment of optimism. Ah well.

Thanks for your ideas, folks! Much appreciated!

edited to add:

I take it all back! After 2 hours of trudging around Bangkok - I HAVE FOUND A SUCRALOSE-BASED sweetener!

(Choirs of heavenly angels spring forth, fireworks go off, flowers burst up through the cracks in the pavement, and rejoicing spreads throughout the land.)