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The sugar dilemma - can you share your opinion?
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amother
OP


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 7:17 am
I know being off sugar is healthy for the body for many reasons. I'm trying to eat low carb, minimal processed foods and go off sugar.
When I search recipes for this lifestyle there are thousands that are called sugar free but have honey or maple syrup or stevia or agave or allulose or monk fruit?
What is the science on all this?
Are these options better for me than regular sugar?
Do they cause inflammation?
Do they cause cravings?
I am not diabetic but I am obese with inflammation, trying to change my lifestyle.
Thanks in advance for your insight.
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melalyse




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 7:21 am
If I really want to stay off sugar, I try to stay off of sweeteners too. That means that if I want something sweet, I eat fruit.
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honey36




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 7:26 am
No, I don't believe any of those sugar alternatives are really much better.

It sound like you are searching for what I like to call "copy cat" recipes. Like, you don't want to give up your cookies and cake yet, but don't want to eat sugar, so looking for alternatives.

What I would suggest is, if you really want to drop the sugar, forget the recipes. Just focus on eating clean real food. fruits and veggies, meat, chicken, dairy, eggs, whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, nuts, seeds, legumes etc.
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amother
Gold


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 7:34 am
You should still limit those sweeteners, but yes they are definitely better than your typical refined white sugar. There are diets for medical conditions (GAPS, Paleo) that allow for RAW honey and real maple syrup since it doesn't feed the inflammation the way that junk sweeteners do.
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amother
Scarlet


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 7:55 am
amother Gold wrote:
You should still limit those sweeteners, but yes they are definitely better than your typical refined white sugar. There are diets for medical conditions (GAPS, Paleo) that allow for RAW honey and real maple syrup since it doesn't feed the inflammation the way that junk sweeteners do.
This. Coconut sugar, maple sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, date syrup, raw honey IN MODERATION are not pro-inflammatory.

However if you're obese you likely have significant insulin resistance and gut dysbiosis going on, and the above sweetners will still feed into that.

Pure srevia and pure monk fruit are good sweetners that won't feed yeast or bad bacteria and won't raise your blood sugar.

In general, we can all do getting used to less sweet in our diet .
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Amarante




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 8:02 am
As others have said, instead of looking for substitutes for what I expect are baked goods that use sugar substitutes, you need to modify your entire diet so that those kinds of baked goods are a less significant part of what you are eating.

There really is no nutritional value in any form of "sugar" - whatever the source. It provides quick energy but no significant nutritional value. It doesn't have fiber - significant vitamins, minerals and maple syrup really doesn't make anything "healthier" by any reasonable standards.

Substitute fruit - save baked stuff for special occasions and then savor the most delicious possible.

If you make the kind of recipes that rely on sweeteners like chicken doused with duck sauce or equivalent, look for healthier recipes to add to your repertoire. Although a Mediterranean diet is not a panacea, often those style of recipes are extremely tasty and use very healthy ingredients
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amother
OP


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 10:05 am
I actually wasn't looking up cakes and cookie recipes just in general keto friendly recipes and no sugar recipes and they all had these things.
So having some maple syrup or silan is better than allulose/stevia/monk fruit?
Yes most of my food is not sweet.
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joonabug




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 10:26 am
sugar subsitutes are not much better than regular sugar. you gotta just stop with the sweets altogether.
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amother
Leaf


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 10:34 am
https://www.washingtonpost.com.....ners/
Are natural sweeteners like honey and agave really better for you?

Just published last week.

You may know that getting too much sugar isn’t good for you, and that there are health concerns about using artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. But we all want something sweet on occasion. Honey, maple syrup and agave are often touted as natural, better-for-you options. If you switch from sugar to one of these, are you doing your health a favor?

We won’t sugarcoat the truth: “They’re just sugar in liquid form,” says Wesley McWhorter, director of lifestyle medicine for Suvida Healthcare in Houston. In fact, honey, maple syrup and agave have slightly more calories than granulated sugar, a teaspoon of which has 16 calories and 4 grams of sugars. You should minimize their intake as with all added sugars — the types that are added to food. The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams of added sugars a day and men no more than 36 grams.


Honey and maple syrup do have nutrients, while white sugar has almost none. That gives them a slight edge, but you’d have to consume more than what’s desirable to get any real nutrition from them. The true advantage may simply be the flavor that some of these sweeteners bring to the table. “Their unique tastes can enhance specific recipes,” McWhorter says. In some cases, that means you can use less to flavor your food.

Here’s what’s in your natural sweeteners.

Honey

21 calories, 5 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Honey contains antioxidants, but the amount and kinds of those compounds differ depending on the type of honey (such as acacia, buckwheat or clover).

You may have heard that eating local honey can help relieve seasonal allergies, but there’s no evidence for this, says Stephen Kimura, an allergist in Pensacola, Fla. The types of pollen people tend to be allergic to aren’t the same pollens that wind up in honey, he says. You may not be imagining things if a bit of honey soothes you when you’re feeling unwell, though. It can soothe coughing and other upper respiratory symptoms, a 2020 review of 14 studies published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine found.


Best uses: Honey’s fruit or floral flavors complement baked goods. It’s sweeter than sugar, so use less — about one-half to two-thirds of a cup for every cup of sugar. You may also need to cut back on other liquids because the honey itself adds moisture.

Maple syrup

17 calories, 4 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Like honey, maple syrup contains disease-fighting compounds. In a Canadian study, researchers analyzed maple syrup and found 23 antioxidants, and they think there are many more beyond those they were able to identify. But be sure to use pure maple syrup. Pancake syrup (a.k.a. table syrup) is essentially flavored corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup and has no antioxidants.

Best uses: Whisk it with grainy mustard to use as a topping for salmon. Or add olive oil and apple cider vinegar to transform the maple/mustard mixture into a delicious salad dressing.


Agave

21 calories, 5 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Agave has gained attention for having a very low glycemic index (lower than sugar, honey or maple syrup), meaning it has less of an impact on blood sugar. But it’s high in a type of sugar called fructose. “Excessive fructose intake has been linked to liver issues like increased fat storage and insulin resistance,” McWhorter says. The effects are greater when a lot of fructose is eaten in a short period of time. (This isn’t a concern when it comes to fructose found in whole fruits. They’re a much less concentrated source of the sugar.) You can slow fructose absorption by eating agave-sweetened foods with fiber, fat and protein, such as whole grains or nuts.

Best uses: Agave adds sweetness but not much flavor. Its honey-like consistency, however, makes it a good option for stirring into drinks because it easily dissolves in cold or hot liquid.

What about stevia?
Some people consider the no-calorie sweetener stevia to be “natural” because it comes from a plant. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t allow the leaves themselves to be used in food. Instead, its sweet-tasting compounds — called steviol glycosides — are extracted from the plant leaves and purified. This can be done with water or alcohol, but sometimes the extracts are modified with enzymes, and that makes stevia a highly processed product.
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amother
OP


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 11:53 am
amother Leaf wrote:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2024/03/11/sugar-honey-agave-natural-sweeteners/
Are natural sweeteners like honey and agave really better for you?

Just published last week.

You may know that getting too much sugar isn’t good for you, and that there are health concerns about using artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. But we all want something sweet on occasion. Honey, maple syrup and agave are often touted as natural, better-for-you options. If you switch from sugar to one of these, are you doing your health a favor?

We won’t sugarcoat the truth: “They’re just sugar in liquid form,” says Wesley McWhorter, director of lifestyle medicine for Suvida Healthcare in Houston. In fact, honey, maple syrup and agave have slightly more calories than granulated sugar, a teaspoon of which has 16 calories and 4 grams of sugars. You should minimize their intake as with all added sugars — the types that are added to food. The American Heart Association recommends that women get no more than 25 grams of added sugars a day and men no more than 36 grams.


Honey and maple syrup do have nutrients, while white sugar has almost none. That gives them a slight edge, but you’d have to consume more than what’s desirable to get any real nutrition from them. The true advantage may simply be the flavor that some of these sweeteners bring to the table. “Their unique tastes can enhance specific recipes,” McWhorter says. In some cases, that means you can use less to flavor your food.

Here’s what’s in your natural sweeteners.

Honey

21 calories, 5 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Honey contains antioxidants, but the amount and kinds of those compounds differ depending on the type of honey (such as acacia, buckwheat or clover).

You may have heard that eating local honey can help relieve seasonal allergies, but there’s no evidence for this, says Stephen Kimura, an allergist in Pensacola, Fla. The types of pollen people tend to be allergic to aren’t the same pollens that wind up in honey, he says. You may not be imagining things if a bit of honey soothes you when you’re feeling unwell, though. It can soothe coughing and other upper respiratory symptoms, a 2020 review of 14 studies published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine found.


Best uses: Honey’s fruit or floral flavors complement baked goods. It’s sweeter than sugar, so use less — about one-half to two-thirds of a cup for every cup of sugar. You may also need to cut back on other liquids because the honey itself adds moisture.

Maple syrup

17 calories, 4 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Like honey, maple syrup contains disease-fighting compounds. In a Canadian study, researchers analyzed maple syrup and found 23 antioxidants, and they think there are many more beyond those they were able to identify. But be sure to use pure maple syrup. Pancake syrup (a.k.a. table syrup) is essentially flavored corn syrup or high-fructose corn syrup and has no antioxidants.

Best uses: Whisk it with grainy mustard to use as a topping for salmon. Or add olive oil and apple cider vinegar to transform the maple/mustard mixture into a delicious salad dressing.


Agave

21 calories, 5 grams of sugars per teaspoon

Agave has gained attention for having a very low glycemic index (lower than sugar, honey or maple syrup), meaning it has less of an impact on blood sugar. But it’s high in a type of sugar called fructose. “Excessive fructose intake has been linked to liver issues like increased fat storage and insulin resistance,” McWhorter says. The effects are greater when a lot of fructose is eaten in a short period of time. (This isn’t a concern when it comes to fructose found in whole fruits. They’re a much less concentrated source of the sugar.) You can slow fructose absorption by eating agave-sweetened foods with fiber, fat and protein, such as whole grains or nuts.

Best uses: Agave adds sweetness but not much flavor. Its honey-like consistency, however, makes it a good option for stirring into drinks because it easily dissolves in cold or hot liquid.

What about stevia?
Some people consider the no-calorie sweetener stevia to be “natural” because it comes from a plant. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t allow the leaves themselves to be used in food. Instead, its sweet-tasting compounds — called steviol glycosides — are extracted from the plant leaves and purified. This can be done with water or alcohol, but sometimes the extracts are modified with enzymes, and that makes stevia a highly processed product.


I'm more concerned with how sweeteners affect cravings, insulin, and overall health. Are there preferred sweeteners?
IF I'm going to add sweetness to something, which direction do I go in?
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amother
cornflower


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 12:06 pm
There's really no way around it. Any sweetener from a natural source (honey, syrup, agave, etc) is STILL SUGAR. It's not any better than actual sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not sugar, so they are fine strictly on the issue of no sugar, but they come with a lot of other problems. The difficult truth is that you need to eat less sweets. There isn't really a way around that.
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amother
Magnolia


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 12:18 pm
amother cornflower wrote:
There's really no way around it. Any sweetener from a natural source (honey, syrup, agave, etc) is STILL SUGAR. It's not any better than actual sugar. Artificial sweeteners are not sugar, so they are fine strictly on the issue of no sugar, but they come with a lot of other problems. The difficult truth is that you need to eat less sweets. There isn't really a way around that.


This is the truth.
You aren’t doing yourself or your body any favors using maple syrup, silan or agave syrup instead of sugar. You want to use minimal amounts of sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are different than sugar but they’re not good for you.
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Amarante




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 12:31 pm
amother Magnolia wrote:
This is the truth.
You aren’t doing yourself or your body any favors using maple syrup, silan or agave syrup instead of sugar. You want to use minimal amounts of sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are different than sugar but they’re not good for you.


Yes. This is just the unvarnished truth.

Anything that just adds sweetness has very little nutritional value.

Sweet used to be very difficult to procure and so until relatively recently it wasn’t used in the kinds of massive quantities it is used in now.

Also as food became more processed, manufacturers started adding sweeteners to all kinds of food to make them more popular and sugar is a cheap way to add flavor. For example,the leading brands peanut butter have sugar in it. Ketchup has sugar. Mayo has sugar. Salad dressing has sugar. All in much higher quantities than would have been years ago.

And that is not even the foods that deliberately add sugar or sweeteners like cereals.

The hard realty is that sweeteners of any kind are meant to be eaten in small quantities and there is no difference. Real maple syrup has a distinctive flavor and honey has a distinctive flavor and consistency but those aren’t nutritional differences. 🤷‍♀️
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honey36




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 12:43 pm
OP, maybe if you tell us which foods/recipes you want to try with sweeteners, we can discuss more about ideas of healthy alternatives.

Like if you usually have a few tablespoons sugar with your oatmeal, instead of replacing with maple syrup, I'd just add some banana or berries etc.

Salad dressings -I prefer savory flavour, but if you really want a sweet dressing, I would say a teaspoon sugar is fine since once you distribute it, your probably not actually eating that much. You can replace the sugar with honey or stevia or whatever, but no I don't think it will make a difference to your health in the way you describe since it's such a minimal amount anyways.

Chicken, meat and fish - same as above. Try for savory recipes etc.

The only thing I personally have trouble with is challah. Doesn't taste good without sugar, so I just have one slice, or sub with ww matzah or pita.
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amother
OP


 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 12:52 pm
I looked up salmon recipes, roast recipes, salad dressings, side dishes.
I'm getting kind of bored of EVO and spices on everything.
I'm trying to be a bit more creative.

I have to be honest with myself, if I am never going to have anything sweet, I'm not going to stick to this long term. I need some treats, some variation of flavors and some carbs. Just trying to work out what's the healthiest of the options.
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Amarante




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 1:10 pm
honey36 wrote:
OP, maybe if you tell us which foods/recipes you want to try with sweeteners, we can discuss more about ideas of healthy alternatives.

Like if you usually have a few tablespoons sugar with your oatmeal, instead of replacing with maple syrup, I'd just add some banana or berries etc.

Salad dressings -I prefer savory flavour, but if you really want a sweet dressing, I would say a teaspoon sugar is fine since once you distribute it, your probably not actually eating that much. You can replace the sugar with honey or stevia or whatever, but no I don't think it will make a difference to your health in the way you describe since it's such a minimal amount anyways.

Chicken, meat and fish - same as above. Try for savory recipes etc.

The only thing I personally have trouble with is challah. Doesn't taste good without sugar, so I just have one slice, or sub with ww matzah or pita.


I think the amount of sugar in challah is fairly minimal compared to a slice of cake or equivalent. You would have to eat an enormous quantity of challah for the sugar to be the issue as opposed eating a huge quantity of bread.

I think there is sugar in many bread recipes because yeast uses it as part of the food it needs. But it is a small amount in terms of what a normal serving would be as opposed to a slice of cake in which one would have a large quantity of sugar in a normal serving.

And many savory recipes have a very small quantity of sugar of some kind like a good marinara sauce. But that is a tablespoon or less in a big pot.

Many savory dishes have some element of "sweet" to provide a more interesting and complex flavor palate. Just like many dishes - especially fish - require a bit of acid flavor to balance out the finished result.

The issue is when the principal "taste" is sweet
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honey36




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 1:20 pm
amother OP wrote:
I looked up salmon recipes, roast recipes, salad dressings, side dishes.
I'm getting kind of bored of EVO and spices on everything.
I'm trying to be a bit more creative.

I have to be honest with myself, if I am never going to have anything sweet, I'm not going to stick to this long term. I need some treats, some variation of flavors and some carbs. Just trying to work out what's the healthiest of the options.


Yes I totally get that. There are lots of recipes you can try to change things up for the proteins. Tomato or salsa sauce instead of sugary sauces. Use lots of fried onions for sweet flavor. Fresh garlic, you can even spread tachina on chicken/fish. I'm sure you can find lots and lots of other recipes for variation.

I also like to have a sugary treat every once in a while so I don't feel deprived. That's why I really try NOT to add any sweeteners or sugar to my mains and sides. This way I can have a small piece of cake or cookie, made with plain sugar, for dessert with less guilt. Again, since I only have it once in a while, I don't feel it really makes a difference if I would sub with honey or whatever.
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Amarante




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 1:24 pm
Here is a recipe that I am planning to try so it sprang to mind. It's a twist on the classic salmon recipe but with some more interesting flavors.

If you want to avoid using panko, use toasted pecans instead to add crunch

Baked Salmon with Panko-Dill Crust

By Jenn Segal
Whip up this restaurant-quality baked salmon with a crunchy dill-specked crust in just 25 minutes, turning any weeknight dinner into a special occasion!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PANKO-DILL CRUST

⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs - or toasted chopped nuts
1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

FOR THE SALMON

⅓ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice, from 1 lemon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Four 6-oz salmon fillets
Lemon wedges, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 450°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
For the topping: In a medium bowl, add the panko, lemon zest, salt, pepper, dill, and olive oil and stir until the mixture is evenly blended.

For the fish: In another medium bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir until blended and smooth. Place the fish fillets on the prepared baking sheet and spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each piece. Next, evenly sprinkle the panko-dill topping over the fish. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the topping is slightly golden. (If you find that the topping is browning more than you’d like before the fish is cooked through, loosely cover the salmon with foil.) Note: If your fish fillets have skin, they may stick to the foil. To serve, slide a thin spatula between the skin and flesh, leaving the skin behind on the foil. Serve with lemon wedges.
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synthy




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 1:27 pm
amother OP wrote:
I actually wasn't looking up cakes and cookie recipes just in general keto friendly recipes and no sugar recipes and they all had these things.
So having some maple syrup or silan is better than allulose/stevia/monk fruit?
Yes most of my food is not sweet.
The only sweeteners that are allowed on keto are stevia or monk fruit iirc.
I’m a big fan of keto because after a few days the sweet / carb cravings totally go away. And you can have a lot of fat, and fat basically makes anything taste good. You can make cheese cake or even ice cream with monk fruit as a treat for when you want something sweet.
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Imabubby60




 
 
    
 

Post Thu, Mar 21 2024, 10:06 pm
I am on this eating plan for the last year and it is life changing BH. Besides losing pounds and belly fat, my A1C has become normal and I don't get food cravings and low blood sugar. I'll post a link to the best Dr.'s videos that I've found to explain the anti-inflammatory, healthy Keto diet, Dr. Berg: https://youtu.be/Qifg5hxnlJE?s.....cPXUp
From what I've learned, Monk fruit sweeteners don't raise the blood sugar, and I use it in my tea and salad dressing.
A typical day:
Organic pasture raised eggs with cheddar cheese, organic salad and vegetables, wild caught fish (fresh or canned salmon), chicken or grass fed beef. For a treat at events I look for the fruit.
To season vegetables: balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, lemon, spices
I saute onions and garlic a lot for everything
Olive oil and avocado oil
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