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What's worse -- refined simple sugar or sugar substitues?

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Old 01-19-2009, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default What's worse -- refined simple sugar or sugar substitues?

Let me know what you think.

I hope that if I admit to using sugar substitutes on this board, I won't be kicked off.

I use Splenda some, and also Stevia, but I tend to stay away from refined sugars as much as possible, and prefer my combination of Splenda and stevia.

It's not all weight-loss related. Excessive amounts of carbs make me crazy, hungry and headachy.

What would be best would be if I didn't feel the need to consume sweet things or substitute sweet things at all ... and got all my jollies from fruit. But...I'm not that disciplined.

I know a lot of natural food advocates hate the chemical-sugar substitutes, and I understand. But I also feel that is a danger to our health with the amount of sugar out there ... our bodies just weren't made to deal with it even though it comes from a natural source.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this...
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:47 PM   #2
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I think the answer is 'it depends'.

It depends on your goals
It depends on how sensitive to sugar you are
It depends on how sensitive to sugar substitutes you are

I don't think we know the long term effects of many artificial sweeteners as well as possible short term effects. There have been issues raised with stevia, agave, splenda as well as the more traditional artificial sweeteners.

For me, I use stevia and agave for things I sweeten myself. For some recipe, I may use maple syrup and I recently made something with brown sugar which I've never used before but I was following a recipe.

For things I buy, I'm a bit picky about the ingredients but some things do have fruit juice as a sweeteners, others have cane sugar and some have plain sugar. For my dark chocolate I buy for instance, it generally has sugar or cane juice as an ingredient.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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I know with 100% certainty that refined sugar is tremendously bad (equivalent to poison) for me and for some of my loved ones. From experience, I do not know that sugar substitutes are bad for me and my loved ones; thus far, using them judiciously seems to work fine. (I use a variety of different substitutes for baking; Splenda, stevia, fruit or fruit concentrate, honey, molasses.)

Really, I think the most "natural" kind of diet would be one in which I didn't eat any grains at all and I felt no need for sweet baked goods as treats; but I'm still a product of my culture, and substitutes work for me in a very practical sense.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:53 PM   #4
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I know with 100% certainty that refined sugar is tremendously bad (equivalent to poison) for me and for some of my loved ones. From experience, I do not know that sugar substitutes are bad for me and my loved ones; thus far, using them judiciously seems to work fine. (I use a variety of different substitutes for baking; Splenda, stevia, fruit or fruit concentrate, honey, molasses.)
Sign my name onto this. HOWEVER, someone else might be the exact opposite...less sensitive to a moderate amount of refined sugar, and incredibly sensitive to the artificial sweeteners. I get sick from aspartame, but Splenda doesn't make me crave, make me sick, or generally make me feel poorly. Contrast that with sugar, which gives me spikes and crashes so hard I shake.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
Sign my name onto this. HOWEVER, someone else might be the exact opposite...less sensitive to a moderate amount of refined sugar, and incredibly sensitive to the artificial sweeteners. I get sick from aspartame, but Splenda doesn't make me crave, make me sick, or generally make me feel poorly. Contrast that with sugar, which gives me spikes and crashes so hard I shake.
I do think there are probably some artificial sweeteners that shouldn't be used at all, and especially not by kids: aspartame, saccharin. And even with Splenda, I try to use as little of it as possible, and try not to give it to my kids; they get honey or agave syrup usually instead. Splenda, for me, is really only for putting in baked goods, and I typically use about half as much as would normally be in the recipe.

And, heh, even THEN I restrict myself on how much of those baked goods I eat, and when, because I don't want to start a grain-induced blood-sugar-crash cycle!
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:06 PM   #6
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you won't get kicked off

I'm distrustful of artificial sweetners.
The way i look at it is, sugar itself is so refined, that it's really nothing that would ever have been found in nature, although it comes from sugar cane.
So sugar itself is something that our bodies weren't designed to handle.
Enter sugar substitues, which are even farther removed from a natural substance, having been chemically altered and you have something even further from what our bodies were equipped to be able to process.

alot of my decision on weather or not to consume sugar or artificial sweetners comes more from my personal beliefs about diet and my intuition, and not from scientific research or FDA approval.

http://www.steviacafe.net/dangers-of-splenda
http://www.experiencelifemag.com/iss...se%20sucralose
http://www.experiencelifemag.com/iss...bstitutes.html
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:28 PM   #7
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As most have said or implied, it's a very personal choice. Living a whole foods lifestyle means different things to different people, and the degree to which they avoid processed foods (and what they mean by processed) varies alot from person to person.

You won't be kicked out, because there's no consensus on what it means to be pursuing a whole foods lifestyle. I am by no means a purist. There are still some processed foods, and even some pure junk in my diet (I love sugar free jello and Crystal Light, I know they're frankenfoods, but they keep me on track and away from sugar). I only buy organic when it looks better and is not an arm and a leg more expensive than standard produce. I use frozen veggies where they're more economical than canned, and I even buy canned for some veggies - though some like green beans, I rinse or soak to remove excess sodium.

My personal goals are rather vague - to eat more foods that my ancestors would recognize and the further back I can go, the better. My geat-grandmother might recognize pasta, but my CroMagnon ancestors would be stumped. So, I probably should eat less of it than say fresh fruit.

It's all sort of goal, rather than a destination for me, but as with everything on this journey, I'm aiming at progress not perfection. I still get distracted by junk (and usually regret it, not only because of weight but feeling yucky in other ways - I'm learning that sugar really is horrible poison for me).

As for artificial sweeteners specifically, I prefer Splenda to aspartame, but I don't appear to get a reaction from either (sugar however does give me headaches).
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaebea View Post
The way i look at it is, sugar itself is so refined, that it's really nothing that would ever have been found in nature, although it comes from sugar cane.
So sugar itself is something that our bodies weren't designed to handle.
True true. Have you ever actually had sugar cane? It's actually not that sweet as you would think. Don't get me wrong, its sweet, just not THAT sweet. It's DELICIOUS though!

And "evaporated cane juice"? How do you get SUGAR... you EVAPORATE cane juice (essentially)! So don't be fooled... evaporated cane juice IS sugar!
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:56 AM   #9
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Alternately, the left over substance, after the sugar is extracted is molasses.
and ironically, molasses is where all the nutrients are. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron, up to 20% the RDA according to wiki. whereas sugar is empty of any nutrition.

more ironically, the nutritionally devoid sugar is sold to feed people, and then the nutritious molasses is mainly sold to feed....cattle
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mandalinn82 View Post
Sign my name onto this. HOWEVER, someone else might be the exact opposite...less sensitive to a moderate amount of refined sugar, and incredibly sensitive to the artificial sweeteners. I get sick from aspartame, but Splenda doesn't make me crave, make me sick, or generally make me feel poorly. Contrast that with sugar, which gives me spikes and crashes so hard I shake.
I am that exact opposite. I tolerate small judicious amounts of sugar (natural or refined about the same) hopefully combined in a meal that had protein etc. Honey on my oatmeal with my eggwhite omelet. A small piece of chocolate after a lunch. A few bites of dessert after a protein packed dinner. (chocolate milk after a 16 mile run )

AS on the other hand put me into a sugar crash/crave so bad I feel nauseous and shaky until I eat carbohydrates and enter my vicious roller coaster binges. I do slightly better with aspartame than I do with splenda, but almost all of them cause bad reactions for me. Diet sodas do not do quite as badly for me as things like sugar free puddings, etc so there may be the combo with OTHER refined crap that magnifies it.

I am definitely one of those people who gain weight the more AS I ingest.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:02 PM   #11
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I think it also depends how much you are using. I use 1 or 2 splenda packets a day, and don't notice anything. Howver, if someone is using say 28 packets a day, they may want to consider just using the natural stuff.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:30 PM   #12
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Personally, Splenda makes me anxious, nervous and panicky - but I know heaps of people who use it and are just fine. Tha being said, I don't usually get any of these affects when I drink a diet Sprite or something (on the rare occasion that I do).

I've mentioned recently on the boards that I use a stevia/xylitol sweetener that comes in a handy shaker (it's green) by a brand called Nirvana, and it's called Stevia Supreme (Stevia on its own is too bitter for me, but xylitol on it's own makes not-so-sexy sounds come from my bowel if I use more than 2 teaspoons) and the combination makes it my favourite sweetener to use (not that I use it often).

Like many have said, since there aren't a ton of long - term studies on the affects of artificial sweeteners on health, it's important to take into account how you feel after you've consumed something with a sugar substitute. This will be the basis for most of the decisions you make regarding what sort of sweetener you'll use in recipes.

Furthermore, I am in agreeance with the ladies who have said that refined sugar is basically the white devil. However, if you're dying for some refined sugar one day (be it as a result of cravings, no alternative in a recipe, etc) having it with some protein and/or fat helps slow down how quickly it becomes blood sugar.
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Old 01-21-2009, 10:15 AM   #13
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I know it's sort of pointless to say that one has proof of whether or not sugar subs are toxic or not.
most holistic sources will say they are detrimental to your body, then the next article you find will be a study saying that there was never any risk after all.
So in the end you just have to make your own choice.
but here's an article that's pretty comprehensive of all the sweetners.
http://www.mvholisticretreat.com/art...l/sweet-poison

another thing to think about, and the source of this is completely from my own brain, but the whole reason for consuming something is so that our bodies can break it down and use those substances to nourish and rebuild tissues and cells. So ideally when a person eats something, the body would want it to be vitamins and minerals that it can absorb into its tissues having a positive effect on the organism as a whole.

when chemicals or substances that cannot be used to rebuild tissues and cells are introduced into the body, they will interfere with what really needs to be done. they can either lodge into places blocking real nutrients from doing their jobs, or they can accumulate in tissues because the body doesn't know what to do with them. and anything foreign in the body is going to cause an immune responce, which could result in inflammation, aches and pains and other toxic conditions over time.
Strain is also put on the body to rid it of these useless substances. The liver and kidneys are doing extra work to clear them from the system. Energy, vitamins and minerals are used in breaking down these substances which give nothing back in return. So it becomes an extra stress to the system.

So this in a nutshell is what is behind my descision not to use artificial sweetners and sugar on a regular basis.
and i'm by no means perfect in avoiding sweet stuff. And by the way i also believe it's addictive, but i wont go into that but I do try to avoid it and i don't believe any of it is safe or benign.

I think we also should try to remember that we may not feel bad right away after consuming one of these sugar substitutes, but that does not mean that over time, there might not be chronic effects occurring in the body, and many of these substances have not even been around long enough to be able to determine what effects they can have on a person who has consumed them for a lifetime.

I hope this doesn't come off as 'doom and gloomy'. i just want share my thoughts and feelings on the subject. of course it isn't scientific, but it's the cumulative judgement i've made based on all the articles i've read jumbled with my own gut feelings.
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:13 PM   #14
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Kaebea, I think that's a very fair thing to say, and even though I love my sweeteners, I have to admit you're right.

Do you think there's any difference between different sweeteners?

I know the body is supposed to recognize Splenda as a protein, and break it down that way. Is there research into how these chemicals are broken down? Is that part of their testing?
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:21 PM   #15
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Ingrid,
i'm sure there's differences in the sweetners as far as how they are broken down, what they are broken down into and which tissues they might disrupt the most, just because they have different chemical make ups.
I won't pretend to know the answer, but i'll look into it.
it's just hard to find anything concrete because one report will say cancer this, cancer that, and the next report will say perfectly safe, good for lab rats.

What i did come across several times when i was researching around to answer the original question was that there wasn't alot of research done on Splenda. And if that is the case, then the people at large are in fact the lab rats since the stuff is already on the market.

I'm definitely not saying that occasionally ingesting this stuff is going to ruin you. It's just my gut feeling not to trust reports that say this kind of stuff is safe.
Cuz usually as you scan down the report, you'll see that is says something to the effect of " for the average person, eating so many mgs per kg per day is perfectly safe."

which gives me the sense that they are saying it's okay to slowly poison yourself with this toxin at this slow rate.

I think we also have to realize that even though so many mgs/kg/day of say splenda might be proven safe according to the researchers, we are also exposed to an onslaught of other chemicals in our modern world and together all these toxins are going to have some kind of net effect on our bodies.

I'll shut up now
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