Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Alvin H. Danenberg, DDS Nutritional Periodontist
August 21, 2017



Satisfy Your Sweet ToothDo you love sweets? You’re not alone. But, how do you satisfy your sweet tooth?


Do you indulge in free-sugars? Have you substituted artificial sweeteners for free-sugars? What about natural sweeteners?


Basically, free-sugars are not healthy, and artificial sweeteners are not healthy. In contrast, natural sweeteners could be wise choices. Let’s examine this a little further.






Free-sugars are sugars that are added to foods plus those sugars naturally present in syrups, fruit juices, and concentrates. Agave, processed honey, coconut sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are free-sugars. If you do some research, you will find there is quite a bit of science that shows free-sugars are bad. They are bad for teeth and bad for health. If free-sugars are not healthy, then what are your choices if you want something sweet?


Naturally Sweet Foods

Fruit is sweet. Some fruits, like all the berries, have a sweet taste without a great deal of natural sugar. In addition, if you chewed your food slowly, you would discover that many foods you did not think were sweet would actually have a sweet taste. This is due to the initial breakdown in your mouth of some of the carbohydrates in your food by enzymes in your saliva. Your taste buds will tell you these foods are sweet.


Artificial Sweeteners

You might think that your healthiest choice would be to purchase foods that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Since artificial sweeteners have no calories, you might think they are better for you. However, you would be wrong. These can cause harm to your body – not immediately obvious but damaging over time with continued consumption. In addition, your body could actually become addicted to these chemicals.


Here are four of the most common and damaging artificial sweeteners:


Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal)
Aspartame is about 180 times sweeter than sugar. Once ingested, aspartame can break down into some dangerous chemicals in the body including methanol, which can produce formaldehyde and formic acid. These chemicals could be toxic to the body if they were consumed in large quantities and if they were not further metabolized or eliminated naturally. Recent studies have demonstrated that aspartame is potentially carcinogenic.


Sucralose (Splenda)
Sucralose is another artificial sweetener and is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Research suggests consuming sucralose could harm beneficial bacteria in the gut. In addition, it might be carcinogenic.


Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low)
Saccharin is almost 400 times sweeter than sugar. Many users notice it has a metallic aftertaste. Though the FDA has no limits on its consumption, saccharin is believed to contribute to health concerns, as described in this 1990 research.


Acesulfame K (Sunett, Sweet One, ACE, ACE K)
ACE has a slightly bitter aftertaste. Your body cannot break down ACE. Its side effects may cause nausea, decreased alertness, headaches, irritability, and slow reaction times. It also could affect cognitive function, which is described in this article.


Non-Caloric Natural Sweeteners

So, what are healthier ways to add sweetness to your foods? Organic whole leaf stevia and organic monk fruit extract are two alternatives.


Organic Whole Leaf Stevia
Stevia has some beneficial biological effects. It may lower blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels, and may act as an antioxidant. It is more than 200 times as sweet as sugar and is available in liquid forms and powders. Stevia is close to an ideal natural sweetener.


Organic Monk Fruit Extract
Similar to stevia, monk fruit extract is an excellent option as a sweetener. It is about twice as sweet as stevia. And like stevia, it is an antioxidant with many beneficial effects for the body. Monk fruit extract is also known as luo han guo.


My Thoughts

I rarely add natural sweeteners to my food. I prefer to eat fruits to satisfy my sweet tooth, not to mention my love for dark chocolate. However, I have used organic whole leave stevia and organic monk fruit extract in some recipes that require a sweetener.



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Don’t Confuse Me with the Facts

evolution rA friend of mine is an avid workout guy – at least an hour a day, 5 days a week. He also eats non-fat foods and lots of whole grain cereals and grain products. He tells me he is eating healthy. I recently told him about ancestral nutrition, effective exercise, and their relationship to overall health. He not only blew me off, but he was angry that I tried to confuse him. In my opinion, he actually was upset because I gave him information that conflicted with his personal beliefs and challenged who he really is. I could only say I was sorry – sorry that he wouldn’t consider my point of view.
There is much evidence-based research today that has created a path for the discerning person to follow to regain and maintain the health that the human body was designed to possess. My friend was not that person, but are you that discerning person? If yes, then the path starts with you making a decision to change your life – to change your health.
Some people need a personal tipping point like a stroke or a heart attack to make a change. Some people need a love-of-their-life like the birth of a granddaughter or a grandson to institute a change. Some people are motivated after they get a new job or move into a new home. Some people only need information that they never knew existed. Which discerning person are you?
Here is some conventional wisdom that I have found in my personal pursuit of health that requires further consideration:
• Fat makes you fat
Consider this: Carbohydrates make you fat because of excessive insulin production. Healthy fats satisfy your hunger and provide fuel. Ingested fat will not become storage fat unless insulin is excessive from too many carbs.
• Running 5 miles a day is good heart exercise
Consider this: Chronic exercise produces oxidative stress, is unhealthy for the cardiovascular system, and discourages fat burning. Lifting heavy things a couple of times a week and sprinting once a week are much healthier for your heart as well as your waistline and need only take 10-20 minutes each. In addition, a couple of hours of aerobic exercise spaced out during the week and physical non-exercise movement throughout each day will round out a healthy routine.
• Breakfast is the healthiest meal of the day
Consider this: The most important time to eat is when you are hungry. If your hormones are in balance, you may actually not need to eat until noon or later. When you do eat, each meal conceptually should be a plate of food partitioned like this: at least half of the plate should include non-starchy veggies either raw or sautéed in healthy fat; a quarter of the plate should be some type of free-range or wild-caught protein including their natural fats; and the last quarter could be made up of some of these – some nuts or seeds, deeply colored fruit (like berries or citrus), a small starchy vegetable.
• Whole grains have plenty of nutrients
Consider this: Grains contain elements that irritate the gut and interfere with normal absorption of necessary minerals. Grains were only introduced into the human diet about 10,000 years ago, and the human gut never evolved to digest them properly. For 2.5 million years before grains were introduced, all the necessary nutrients the body needed were provided by eating animals from head to tail, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
• Vegetable oils are healthy
Consider this: Vegetable oils are mostly inflammatory and are chemically unstable. When they are introduced into the body, they potentially create serious health problems. In addition, chemically altered trans fats and partially hydrogenated fats are toxic to the body. Saturated fats from coconut oil, avocados, animals that are pastured and/or allowed to eat their natural diet, and butter from grass-fed cows are necessary for healthy cell function.
• Artificial sweeteners are good for you and help you lose weight
Consider this: Artificial sweeteners are toxic to the body. In addition, the brain senses the sweetness of these sweeteners and stimulates insulin production.
• Eggs are bad for your heart
Consider this: Free-range eggs provide excellent nutrition for the body unless you are allergic to eggs. Some people who have reactions to convention eggs do not have problems with pastured eggs. The cholesterol in pastured eggs is not a problem – especially if the egg yolk is eaten soft rather than scrambled or hard-boiled.
• If your stomach does not hurt, you don’t have gut problems
Consider this: Many diseases begin when the intestinal lining becomes permeable (called a leaky gut), and stuff that should never enter the blood system starts invading. A person does not have to have digestive symptoms like gas or pain or constipation or diarrhea to have a leaky gut. But, before other disease manifestations can be resolved, the gut must be made healthy.