What sugars are considered natural?
A few natural sweeteners include:
Fruit Juice (fructose)
Stevia: a herbal extract that is naturally sweet with no calories.
Evaporated Cane Juice before it is refined: refined sugar is derived from cane juice, but is extremely processed with many of the natural enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and fibre removed.
Sugar Alcohols: Sugar alcohols have a sweet taste but are processed by the body as alcohol. This means that they are typically burned for energy and have a minimal impact on insulin and blood sugar, according to the latest studies. They are not known to be toxic like non-sugar alcohols.
All-natural Maple Syrup: Rich with iron and other micronutrients.
What is the Enemy?
Sugar is certainly not your enemy. Refined and processed sugars are!
Consume a protein and a whole, unprocessed carbohydrate with every meal, and add healthy fats to your diet. If these meals happen to contain some natural honey or cane juice, don’t sweat it! Eat 4 – 5 servings of fruit and or vegetables each day. There are far too many healthy compounds in these foods to pass them up out of fear of the natural sugar contained within. Make your own choice about artificial sweeteners, but keep in mind that you can easily control your portion sizes and use natural sweeteners instead. Are the potential risks worth the small benefit you may or may not be receiving from artificial sweeteners? Learn to let sugar work with you, not against you!
Xylitol is the only natural sugar substitute that has the same sweetening power and delicious taste of sucrose. It differs from other natural sweeteners such as sorbitol, fructose and glucose because the xylitol molecule has five, instead of six, carbon atoms. This means that it cannot be fermented by harmful mouth bacteria that cause tooth decay (1). xylitol differs from intense artificial sweeteners including aspartame, acesulfame-K and sucralose in that it has no adverse effects or bitter aftertaste. Is xylitol safe? Yes it is. The oral and metabolic safety of xylitol has been exhaustively assessed by various international and national regulatory authorities. It was approved for use in the United Sates by the FDA in 1963, and in 1983 the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA). A collaboration between the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) recommended that no daily limit be placed on xylitol consumption (the safest category for a food additive), It was further approved in 1994 by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods (MAFF), and also the EU (although prior to this date xylitol was approved at national level in more than 40 countries). In 1997, approval was given by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare.