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Ranking Natural Sweeteners

Cutting back on your sugar intake is always a good move if you are cancer concerned. This white poison not only causes immune suppression, but can cause dental caries, weight gain and diabetic complications. 

Sugar substitutes are defined as any sweetener other than regular table sugar. There are four categories of sugar substitutes: Artificial sweeteners like Sweet One, Equal, Sweet N’Low and Splenda; Sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Sorbitol; Novel sweeteners like Stevia; and Natural sweeteners like monk fruit, date sugar, honey and molasses.

Avoid artificial sweeteners of all kinds, even if you are a diabetic. There are better, non-caloric sweeteners for you. Studies conducted in the 70s, although of poor design, suggested a link to cancer with Acesulfame-potassium, the key ingredient in Sweet One and beverages like Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi. Three studies on aspartame found that the sweetener caused lymphomas, leukemias, kidney, and other cancers in rats and mice. In addition, headaches and other neurological symptoms have been reported in a small number of people using aspartame-containing Sweet N-Low. In animal studies, saccharin caused cancer of the bladder, uterus, ovaries, and other organs. Human studies have been inconsistent, but some found an association with higher cancer risk. We know you aren’t a mouse. But with safer sweetening alternatives, why take the risk?

A better choice for people trying to avoid both sugar and artificial sweeteners is stevia, a natural alternative to highly refined table sugar. Stevia has been shown to effectively lower blood sugar levels—making it a good choice for diabetics and people with hypoglycemia. Stevia’s flavor is quite acceptable, although I’ve received feedback that it has a mild licorice aftertaste. Be aware that you can find stevia under brand names like PureVia, Sun Crystals, Sweet Leaf and Truvia. While stevia is natural, these brands are usually highly processed and may contain sugar alcohols to help boost sweetening power. Sugar alcohols are not a concern, recognized as safe, but the processing isn’t ideal and makes these stevia knock-offs almost as bad as artificial sweeteners. The best way to consume stevia is to grow the plant yourself and use the whole leaves to sweeten foods. Honey is a natural sweetener too, but higher in calories and has a high glycemic index, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. For that reason, we don’t recommend that you use honey as your sole sweetener.

Agave nectar and fruit juice concentrates are all-natural sweeteners that offer vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients not found in table sugar, but they still contain calories and should be used in moderation. Date sugar contains fiber which helps control blood sugar levels. Monk fruit extract and coconut palm sugar are other alternatives that are gaining popularity. A natural sweetener derived from chicory root is also a great choice. It contains inulin fiber, no calories, no carbs and unlike most sweeteners, it dissolves easily, tastes great, and measures cup for cup like regular sugar in baking. Another benefit of chicory is that inulin supports a healthy gut. Chicory root extract goes best as a substitute for powdered sugar, but because of its weak sweetness, should be combined with other stronger all-natural sweeteners.

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