SWEETENER

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Pumpy Jackson chocolate uses Monk Fruit Juice as its sweetener.

Monk Fruit:
Found in East Asia, Monk Fruit has a sweetness of over 300 times greater than sugar. Unlike artificial sweeteners and stevia, Monk Fruit does not leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth. It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to manage diabetes and inflammation, and research has shown Monk Fruit to have beneficial anti-oxidant qualities with no known adverse reactions.


Sweeteners we will NEVER USE and why:

Agave:

Often extracted as a syrup from the Agave Cactus, it is almost pure sugar that contains very high levels of fructose (often much higher than the much maligned High Fructose Corn Syrup). Excessive fructose can contribute to the risk of diabetes, fatty liver, cardiovascular disease and abdominal obesity. It is also a problem for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Fructose Mal-absorption.


Fructose:

Used in many ‘diabetic friendly’chocolates, it does not immediately raise blood glucose levels. The body handles fructose very differently so even though it may not spike somebody’s blood glucose levels it can still cause a lot of damage to the body. Excess fructose (especially in diabetics, people who are overweight or in excess of daily calorie requirements) has been found to contribute to elevated blood fats, fatty liver and a worsening of diabetes and weight control. In our opinion, it is not diabetic friendly.


Coconut Nectar:

Touted a super food, health food stores are full of all sorts of amazing coconut products. But that doesn’t mean everything coconut-based is good for you. Coconut nectar is still basically sugar. It contains 70-79% sucrose (that’s table sugar), 3% glucose and 5% fructose. Given that sucrose is 50% made up of fructose you are getting around 55% of the sugar content as fructose. As mentioned above in excess consumption this has health implications, and also is not suitable for people with fructose malabsorption issues.


Sugar:

Known to many as cane sugar, rapadura, dehydrated sugar cane juice, panela, moscabado, etc, it is technically known as sucrose. Sucrose is a 50:50 mix of glucose and fructose and is the sugar we are most familiar with. Excess consumption is linked to a long list of health problems.


Rice Syrup:

The newest ingredient to become a popular addition to sweet foods is rice syrup, or rice malt syrup as it is sometimes called. Rice syrup is not as sweet as regular sugar so you often need more of it. It is fructose free, so it gets points for not being associated with some of the problems that fructose causes, however, it is mostly made up of glucose that can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. Since you need to use more rice syrup to get the right level of sweetness, it can often contribute towards an excessive level of carbohydrate in the diet.


Stevia:

A super sweet tasting herbal extract, it is considered very safe, however, it can leave a bitter after taste in the mouth which some people are very sensitive to.


Xylitol:

A type of sugar alcohol found in small amounts in fruits and berries. In these small quantities, it is relatively harmless, however, in larger amounts it can cause wind, bloating, gas, flatulence and sometimes diarrhea. Xylitol is derived from genetically modified corn, which some people are opposed to for various reasons.

 

Sweeteners that are not so 'natural' and why:

Maltitol:

Often marketed as a natural product (which technically it is as it’s found in nature), maltitol is a type of sugar alcohol that the body does not absorb efficiently. It tastes sweet so is often used as a sugar substitute. Maltitol used in the quantities found in chocolate bars significantly exceeds what can naturally be found in wholefoods, so we would put a question mark over calling this a ‘natural’ sugar substitute. Maltitol passes through into the bowel, often attracting water to it and creating gas to build up. This can trigger diarrhoea and bloating, and is not recommended for people with Irritable Bowel type conditions. Many people find the flatulence it causes unbearable.


Polydextrose:

Like Maltitol, Polydextrose is often described as a ‘natural’ sweetener. It is a modified form of carbohydrate that your body is unable to break down. Similar to maltitol, polydextrose can cause wind, bloating, flatulence and intestinal discomfort in many people.


Sucralose/Aspartame/Acesulfame:

These are chemically synthesized sweeteners that taste far sweeter than sugar. There is some controversy over their health impacts, but suffice to say they are foreign chemicals to the human body. Many people choose these sweeteners in the hope that they will help them to lose weight, however, paradoxically, intake of these sweeteners has been found in some studies that lead to overeating and potential weight gain.

 

Contributing Expert

Jad Patrick, Naturopath, Counsellor
BHSc Naturopathy, Grad. Dip. Counselling.
ANTA Member 12680

Instagram: @jadpatricknaturopathy
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