Data on some Sweeteners, some familiar and some that are not and there Relevance to your Health
Sugar The Good the Bad and the Indifferent
Different Types of Sugars
CODE=vvv===Positive or Relatively Safe Research!!!
Sugar Can Be Addictive
Acesulfame-K Also known as ―Ace-K, (Sunette®), or acesulfame potassium, was discovered in 1967 in Germany. It was approved in 1988 by the FDA as a tabletop sweetener and for use in baked goods, frozen desserts, beverages, and candies. Consisting of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, sulfur, and potassium atoms, acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. Acesulfame K is not digested, so it contributes no calories to the diet. Some animal studies suggest a possible cancer-promoting effect. (Cancer causing in rat thymus Do Not USE !!!)
Agave syrup (also called agave nectar) is a sweetener commercially produced in Jalisco, Mexico, from several species of agave, including Agave tequilana (also called Blue Agave or Tequila Agave), and the Salmiana, Green, Grey, Thorny, and Rainbow varieties. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey, though less viscous. Agave syrup is produced in the Mexican States of Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas, according to Mexican laws pertaining to certificate of origin. To produce agave nectar, juice is expressed from the core of the agave, called the piña. The juice is filtered, then heated, to hydrolyze carbohydrates into sugars. The main carbohydrate is a complex form of fructose called inulin or fructosan. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrup-like liquid a little thinner than honey. Agave syrup consists primarily of fructose and glucose. One source gives 92% fructose and 8% glucose; another gives 56% fructose and 20% glucose. These differences presumably reflect variation from one vendor of agave syrup to another. As a sweetener, Agave syrup is notable in that its glycemic index and glycemic load are apparently lower than most if not all other natural sweeteners on the market ( Recent studies have shown this to be an elevator of insulin and making one insulin resistant)
Alitame Like aspartame, Alitame is made from amino acids. Alitame is 2,000 times sweeter than sugar. Pfizer, a pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of this sweetener, petitioned the FDA in 1986 for approval. ( Toxic do not USE!!!)
Aspartame You might recognize aspartame as the product contained in the blue packet with ―Nutra Sweet‖ printed on the front. Once saccharine began to lose its luster, aspartame gained popularity. While aspartame might be popular in diet soft drinks, coffee and tea, its not recommended for baking as it can lose its flavor after being exposed to heat for a certain period of time. Adding it to foods once they stop cooking, however, is fine. There currently is concern with aspartame as it has been linked to cancer by studies in both the United States and Europe. (Toxic Do Not USE!!)
Brown Rice Syrup is a natural sweetener with a mild, buttery flavor and a delicate sweetness that makes it ideal for use in baking and desserts. Unlike simple sugars, such as monosaccharide‗s and disaccharides, Brown Rice Syrup is a polysaccharide, or a complex sugar. The unique structure of complex sugars allows them to be absorbed and broken down more slowly than simple sugars, avoiding rapid spikes in blood glucose. Slower absorption also allows the body to utilize complex sugars for energy instead of having to store them as fat for later use. Brown Rice Syrup is made by fermenting brown rice with special enzymes that break down the natural starch content of the rice. This process produces a translucent syrup that's an alternative to white and brown sugar. ( Again use Sparringly, will promote yeast )
Cellulose is something we don‗t normally think of as sugar but it ends in ose so is therefore a sugar. Cellulose is an excellent source of insoluble fiber derived from plant sources. Insoluble fibers may regulate bowel transit time and support the health of the GI tract. Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber does not feed undesirable bacteria well and is not readily fermented into short chain fatty acids.* It has no effect on cholesterol levels and inactivates many intestinal toxins.* High intake of insoluble fiber is associated with a decreased risk of unfavorable conditions of the colon, potentially supporting balanced intestinal microbiology. ( Prebiotic forming, meaning it will assist in furthering health bacterial growth in the tract….Make sure it is NON GMO!!! )
Corn Syrup (HFCS) is a sweetener made from corn and can be found in numerous foods and beverages on grocery store shelves in the United States. Contrary to its name, HFCS is not high in fructose. At the time HFCS was developed, the only sweetener in all other corn syrups was glucose; none contained fructose. So the name "high" fructose corn syrup, in comparative terms, makes sense and is entirely appropriate. But when compared to table sugar (sucrose), HFCS is not at all "high" in fructose. In fact, HFCS is nearly identical in composition to table sugar (sucrose), which is composed of 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose. HFCS is composed of either 42 percent or 55 percent fructose, with the remaining sugars being glucose and higher sugars. HFCS is used in foods and beverages because of the many benefits it offers. In addition to providing sweetness at a level equivalent to table sugar HFCS makes foods such as bread and breakfast cereal "brown" better when baked, and gives chewy cookies and snack bars their soft texture. (Toxic Do Not USE!!!)
Cyclamate This is the sugar substitute used by Weight Watchers. It‗s used for cooking and baking. It‗s sweeter than sugar, about ten times sweeter, so keep this in mind when opening a package of ―Sugar Twin.‖ Cyclamate was synthesized in 1937 at the University of Illinois by a student who accidentally discovered its sweet taste. The patent for cyclamate was first purchased by DuPont and then later sold to Abbott Laboratories. In those days, Abbott‗s reported interest was to use the product to mask the bitter taste of an antibiotic and a pentobarbital elixir. Cyclamate was initially marketed as tablets that were recommended for use as a tabletop sweetener for people with diabetes and others who had to restrict their intake of sugar. Although it is approved for use in many countries, cyclamate is banned in the United States due to concerns over potential carcinogenicity. ( Mixed reports on this sweetner…Use at own Risk !!!! )
Dextrose, occurs naturally in food, and is moderately sweet. It is a monosaccharide (basic unit of carbohydrates, C6H1206) and has a high glycemic index (digested carbohydrates ability to raise blood glucose levels, also called Gl) ranking at 100. Dextrose is labeled a simple carbohydrate Other Names: D-Glucose; Anhydrous dextrose; Cartose; Cerelose; Corn sugar; D-(+)-Glucose; Dextropur; Dextrosol; Glucolin; Grape sugar; Sugar, grape; α-d-glucose; component of Kadalex; D-Glucose, anhydrous; Dextrose, anhydrous; GLUCOSE (D); Syrup; Glucose, anhydrous; Glucose liquid. Also called corn sugar and grape sugar, dextrose is a naturally occurring form of glucose. (Can Be yeast forming)
Diabetisweet Diabetic Sugar Substitute for Baking and Cooking Looks, tastes, and bakes just like sugar. Maintains its taste at high temperatures, so it‗s ideal for baking and cooking. DiabetiSweet® has the same granulated texture as sugar, DiabetiSweet® is sweetened with Acesulfame-K, a high intensity non-nutritive sweetener. It also contains Isomalt, a heat-stable bulking agent that adds volume to cakes, breads, and other recipes. DiabetiSweet® does not contain aspartame, saccharin, sucrose, fructose, sorbitol, maltodextrin, or dextrose. (Toxic Do Not USE!!!)
Equal® Equal is an artificial sweetener containing aspartame, dextrose, and maltodextrin. Major concern would be the aspartames recent link to cancer. (Toxic Do Not USE!!!)
vvvErythritol a polyol (sugar alcohol), is a sweetener which is suitable for a variety of reduced-calorie and sugar-free foods. It can be used as a sugar substitute in most sugar-free recipes. Erythritol has been part of the human diet for thousands of years due to its presence in foods such as pears, melons, grapes and mushrooms. Erythritol is derived from a corn source. Erythritol resembles sugar in consistency and taste but has a caloric value near zero. It is also a sugar alternative for diabetics. Eyrthritol, like Xylitol, may also inhibit cavities by denying plaque bacteria the fuel (sugar) it needs to erode tooth enamel. Low in calories: Erythritol has a very low caloric content; its value is 0.2 calories per gram for food labeling purposes in the United States and 0 (zero) calories per gram for food labeling purposes in Japan. Foods containing substantial amounts of erythritol are very unlikely to cause gaseous and laxation side effects. Clinical studies conducted in people with diabetes conclude that erythritol may be safely used to replace sucrose in foods formulated specifically for people with diabetes.
vvvFructose, Also known as ―fruit sugar, fructose is roughly 50% sweeter than ordinary sugar, tastes wonderful, and does not raise blood sugar levels like table sugar. When taken in moderation, fructose can be taken by diabetics after first consulting with their physician. Fructose is derived from corn and is approximately 1.8 times sweeter than regular table sugar. Unfortunately we cannot supply an exact equivalency for substituting Fructose for table sugar. Experimentation will yield the best results, keeping in mind how much sweeter Fructose is. In general, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, a little over a 1/2 of a cup should be close. Sweeten to taste is the best advice! Fructose's chemical name is levulose. Fructose is also called the fruit sugar. Fructose is found in fruits and honey. ( It can be stored as fat)
Galactose is a simple sugar derived from the breakdown of the milk sugar lactose. Because galactose is toxic to the lens of the eye, infants lacking the enzyme needed to metabolize it develop cataracts at a young age. Epidemiologist Paul F. Jacques has now compared levels of this enzyme, called galactokinase, with dairy food consumption in 106 persons aged 40 to 70 - 73 of them with cataracts. The just-completed study offers the first strong indication that galactose may play a role in adult cataracts.
Glucose this sugar is the chief source of energy in the body. Glucose is chemically considered a simple sugar. It is the main sugar the body manufactures. The body makes glucose from all three elements of food, protein, fat and carbohydrates, but in largest part from carbohydrates. Glucose serves as the major source of energy for living cells. It is carried to each cell through the bloodstream. The cells cannot, however, use the glucose without the help of insulin. Glucose is by far the most common carbohydrate and classified as a monosaccharide, an aldose, a hexose, and is a reducing sugar. It is also known as dextrose, because it is dextrorotatory (meaning that as an optical isomer is rotates plane-polarized light to the right and also an origin for the D designation. Glucose is also called blood sugar as it circulates in the blood. Glucose is initially synthesized by chlorophyll in plants using carbon dioxide from the air and sunlight as an energy source. Glucose is further converted to starch for storage.
vvvHoney( Unpasteurized) is a source of simple carbohydrates. Its composition on average is 17.1 percent water, 82.4 percent total carbohydrate and 0.5 percent proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The average carbohydrate content is mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars. Honey supplies energy at 64 calories per tablespoon. Honey appears to be a carbohydrate source that is relatively mild on its effects upon blood sugar compared to other carbohydrate sources Honey contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants. The vitamins found in honey may include (depending on floral variety) niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid; minerals present include calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Just as the color and flavor of honey varies by floral source, so does the vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and amino acid content. Honey has a phytochemical profile which includes polyphenols that can act as antioxidants. Antioxidants perform the role of eliminating free radicals, which are reactive compounds in the body. The use of honey as a wound dressing goes back to ancient times and has now been ―rediscovered‖ by modern medicine. The antibacterial properties of honey may help clear infection in wounds, and the anti-inflammatory action of honey may reduce pain and may improve circulation, which hastens the healing process. Honey stimulates the re-growth of tissue involved in healing, making healing faster and reducing scarring.
Lactose is made from galactose and glucose units. Lactose or milk sugar occurs in the milk of mammals - 4-6% in cow's milk and 5-8% in human milk. It is also a by-product in the manufacture of cheese. An acetal oxygen bridge in the beta orientation joins the galactose and glucose units. To recognize galactose look for the upward projection of the -OH on carbon
vvvLo Han Guo (Siraitia grosvenorii) has been used as a food, beverage, and traditional medicine. It is from the plant family, Cucurbitaceae. The cucumber, melon, squash, and gourd are also a part of this family. The most unique component of Lo Han Guo is the triterpene glycoside. These non-caloric sweeteners are known as mogrosides. Lo Han has traditionally been used as an analgesic, expectorant, antitussive, and to treat infiltration of the lungs. The Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends it for lung complaints including dry coughs and as a laxative. The fruits are used in Chinese medicine for heat stroke with thirst, acute and chronic throat inflammation, aphonia, chronic cough, constipation in the aged, and as a sugar substitute for diabetics.
vvvMaple syrup is a 100% natural food, processed by heat concentration of pure maple sap. This sap is a sterile, clear liquid, which provides the trees with water and nutrients prior to the buds and leaves opening in the spring. In the boiling, concentrating, and filtering processes, all the nutrients remain in the syrup. There are some quantitative differences in maple syrup's nutritive composition due to metabolic and environmental differences among maple trees. The main sugar in pure Maple syrup is sucrose. The darker grades, especially Grade B syrup, contain small and variable amounts of fructose and glucose. In pure filtered maple syrup the main minerals present are: calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron. In pure maple syrup trace amounts of vitamins are present, mainly B2 (Riboflavin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), PP (Niacin, B1), Biotin, and Folic Acid. Many amino acids are present in trace amounts. The total solids in pure maple syrup amount to 66.5%, with the remaining 33.5% consisting of water. The table below represents the main elements within the total solids. Maple syrup is 88-89% sucrose and about 11% glucose. There are also trace amounts of other sugars. Diabetics and others concerned with sugars should treat maple syrup the same as table sugar.
Maltodextrin is a sweet, easily digested carbohydrate made from cornstarch. The starch is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes (a process similar to that used by the body to digest carbohydrates) are used to break the starch into smaller chains. These chains are composed of several dextrose molecules held together by very weak hydrogen bonds. Maltodextrin digestion starts right when it enters the mouth, beginning the reduction of maltodextrin into smaller linked glucose molecules. (This will come from GMO Corn)
Maltose Barley malt is a common version of maltose and technically refers to malt sugar, which is a buff-colored crystalline powder. Evaporating the water out of barley malt syrup makes malt sugar. Malt sugar is becoming increasingly available in health food stores as a sugar replacement that is less sweet but adds a better texture and pleasing nutty flavor to baked goods. Liquid barley malt is available in barley extract and barley-corn malt. The extract is 100 percent barley malt and usually tastes as strong as blackstrap molasses. Barley malt is mostly carbohydrate although it contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals. Maltose is made from two glucose units. Maltose or malt sugar is the least common disaccharide in nature. It is present in germinating grain, in a small proportion in corn syrup, and forms on the partial hydrolysis of starch. It is a reducing sugar.
vvvMaltitol Sugar-free Sweetener is available in syrup, crystalline and powder form. It is used in place of common sugar (sucrose) in cooking and baking. Maltitol is a member of a family of bulk sweeteners known as polyols or sugar alcohols. It has a pleasant sweet taste--remarkably similar to sucrose. Maltitol is about 90% as sweet as sugar, it is claimed to be non-cariogenic, and significantly reduced in calories. Maltitol is made by the hydrogenation of maltose which is obtained from starch. Like other polyols, it does not brown or caramelize, as do sugars. Maltitol may also be used to replace fat as it gives a creamy texture to food. Maltitol is slowly absorbed. Therefore, when maltitol is used, the rise in blood glucose and the insulin response associated with the ingestion of glucose is significantly reduced. The reduced caloric value of maltitol (2.1 calories per gram versus 4.0 for sugar) is consistent with the objective of weight control. Mannitol is also used as a sweetener for people with diabetes. Mannitol also has a negative heat of solution. For this reason, mannitol is a sweetener in "breath-freshening" candies, the cooling effect adding to the fresh feel. In doses larger than 20g it acts as a laxative, and is sometimes sold as a laxative for children. It is sometimes used as a dilutant for heroin or other illicit drugs
Molasses / Cane Molasses There are three major types of molasses: unsulphured, sulphured and blackstrap. There are also three major grades of molasses: first molasses, second molasses, and blackstrap molasses. Unsulphured molasses is the finest quality. It is made from the juice of sun-ripened cane and the juice is clarified and concentrated. Sulphured molasses is made from green (unripe) sugar cane and is treated with sulfur fumes during the sugar extraction process. Each season, the sugar cane plant is harvested and stripped of its leaves. Its juice is then extracted from the canes (usually by crushing or mashing), boiled until it has reached the appropriate consistency, and processed to extract the sugar. The results of this first boiling and processing is first molasses, which has the highest sugar content because comparatively little sugar has been extracted from the juice. Sugar Beet Molasses Molasses from the sugar beet is different from cane molasses. Only the syrup left from the final crystallization stage is called molasses; intermediate syrups are referred to as high green and low green. It is about 50% sugar by dry weight, predominantly sucrose but also containing significant amounts of glucose and fructose. The non-sugar content includes many salts such as calcium, potassium, oxalate and chloride. As such, it is unpalatable and is mainly used as an additive to animal feed or as a fermentation feedstock. It is possible to extract additional sugar from beet molasses through a process known as molasses desugarisation. This technique exploits industrial scale chromatography to separate sucrose from non-sugar components. The technique is only economically viable in areas where the price of sugar is supported above the world market e.g. in areas with trade barriers, and is prevalent in the US and is also seen within the European community. The non-sucrose elements in the beet sugar production process are called molassegenic because they take equal amounts of sucrose with them to the molasses stage where it cannot normally be economically extracted. ( Not to be USED By Diabetics)
Polydextrose Litesse®* is a water-soluble specialty carbohydrate which is manufactured from glucose. Developed and manufactured by Danisco Sweeteners, Litesse® is unique in being only partially metabolized by the body. The result is that Litesse® contributes only 25% 101 of the calories of sugar, and only 11% of the calories of fats. It can also improve the mouth-feel and texture of calorie reduced foods. Litesse® has been labeled as fiber in a number of countries around the world for many years. Litesse® is used in confections, beverages, frozen desserts, cultured dairy products, baked goods, nutrition bars and fruit spreads and fillings.
Saccharine The main ingredient in the popular pink-packets of ―Sweet N Low,‖ saccharine is one of the more well-known sugar substitutes. Saccharine was popular years ago but fell out of favor when it was concluded laboratory rats developed cancer after using this artificial sweetener. Its not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, however. ( Much Controversy on this Caution should be exercised with this)
Raffinose is not a sugar that you will usually associate with sweetness or see used as a sweetener. It is found in legumes and is the cause of flatulence.
vvvSorbitol, originally derived from the mountain sorberry, is a naturally occurring sweetener found primarily in fruits and berries. This product is manufactured from glucose, but is only 50-75% as sweet as regular sugar. Because it is absorbed and metabolized slowly, sorbitol has little effect on blood sugar levels. This product therefore may be useful in replacing regular sugar in recipes for diabetic diets. Use in making jams, canned fruits, and homemade candies, etc.
Sorghum syrup is a natural sweetener made by processing juice squeezed from the stalks of certain types of sorghum (Sorghum bicolor) called sweet sorghum or sorgo. Sweet sorghum is grown for syrup or forage, whereas most other sorghums, commonly referred to as milos or kafirs, are grown for grain. Specialized milling equipment is necessary to extract the juice, and evaporative pans with heating units are used to steam off excess water, leaving syrup. The correct label for sorghum syrup is "sorghum syrup" or "pure sorghum." Molasses, unsulphured molasses, cane molasses, and cane syrup are byproducts of sugarcane processing and sugar crystallization. "Sorghum molasses" is a blend of sorghum syrup and sugarcane molasses. Sorghum syrup has a unique taste all its own and is very popular in parts of the southern United States. It should be treated as sugar for diabetic purposes.
vvvStevia is a naturally sweet plant native to Paraguay that is 30 times sweeter than sugar in its unprocessed form. With more than 1,000 studies and patents on Stevia, it is known to be all-natural, contain zero calories and have a zero glycemic index. Through a patented process the pure glycosides can be extracted from the Stevia leaves and turned into an intensely sweet powder that is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is claimed to be safe for diabetics and hypoglycemics. 2 drops = 1 tsp. of sugar.
Sucralose is what is contained in a yellow packet of ―Splenda.‖ Splenda is gaining in popularity not only because it‗s made of sugar, thereby tasting almost like sugar, but because it measures the same as sugar, which makes it more convenient for baking than other sugar substitutes. Sucralose is six hundred times sweeter than sugar, however, so if one is not using the Splenda brand, one will have to do some math to figure out how much to add to your baking. Concerns have been raised about sucralose because of the chlorine in it. ( Recent studies gave come out on it’s damaging effect on health Do Not USE!!)
SweetOne is a brand of sugar substitute sweetened with acesulfame potassium, an intense sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Sweet One offers an alternative for people who are limiting their intake of sugar. Sweet One tastes like sugar and it doesn't break down in heat, so you can cook with it. It has zero calories! Each packet of Sweet One contains the sweetness of two teaspoons of sugar; this sweetness does not increase proportionately when using Sweet One in cooking and baking. In recipes for sweetened sauces and beverages, all the sugar can be replaced with Sweet One. However, recipes for most baked goods require sugar for proper volume and texture. (Toxic Do Not USE!!!!)
Trehalose is a multi-functional sweetener found naturally, for example in honey, mushrooms, lobster, shrimp and foods produced using baker's and brewer's yeast. The commercial product is made from starch by an enzymatic process. Trehalose is almost half as sweet as sucrose or table sugar. The metabolism of trehalose is similar to that of other disaccharides. Ingested trehalose is hydrolyzed to glucose and absorbed in the small intestine. The makers of Trehalose say it has been shown to elicit a very low insulin response and provide sustained energy. Trehalose protects and preserves cell structure in foods and may aid in the freezing and thawing process of many food products by assisting in the maintenance of the desired texture of the food. It is also heat stable. Because trehalose is only half a sweet as sucrose it is more likely to be used for cell preservation than for sweetness.
Whey Low™ is a patent-pending blend of all-natural sugars. The manufacturers claim that Whey Low offers the same sweetness, taste, and food properties of sugar with 70 to 80% lower glycemic index and 75% fewer calories and impact carbohydrates than sugar. Whey Low™ contains fructose, which is obtained from corn syrup (glucose), and lactose, which is obtained from whey or milk. Both the fructose and lactose that go into Whey Low™ are extremely pure crystalline sugars and contain no allergens or any proteins that could possibly be allergens. These two simple sugars are not known to cause any allergies
vvvXylitol is a natural substance derived from the xylan of birch and other hardwood trees, berries, almond hulls and corncobs. It was discovered in 1891 by German chemist, Emil Fischer, and has been used as a sweetening agent since the 1960's. Xylitol is a substance that occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables, and in fact, is produced in small amounts (5-15 grams per day) in the human body during normal metabolism. Xylitol enjoys wide acceptance in Japan, Finland, and the Scandinavian countries. In the Soviet Union it has been used for decades as a sweetener for diabetics. Numerous clinical and field studies performed over the past 30 years have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of xylitol as a healthy alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Sugar Alcohol Although these ingredients were given this consumer-friendly name because part of their structure resembles sugar and part is similar to alcohol. Sugar alcohols do not contain ethanol, which is found in alcoholic beverages. Sugar Alcohols, (Polyols) & Polydextrose occur naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables: including berries, apples, and plums, but for large-scale commercial use they are manufactured from common sugars. While they are chemically very similar to sugars, they are less sweet than sugars and have fewer calories per gram. Currently the following sugar alcohols are permitted for use as food additives: hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, maltitol syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, sorbitol syrup, xylitol and erythritol. Another food additive, polydextrose, a compound synthesized from dextrose (glucose), is also permitted. Because it has a low digestible energy value, it is used to provide bulk in foods, thereby reducing the caloric content. Unlike polyols, polydextrose is not sweet but has a slightly tart taste and thus can add texture to food without adding sweetness. It is often used as a replacement for sugar, starch, and fat in foods such as cakes, candies, pudding, and desserts. It is known that eating too much of these substances can cause gastro-intestinal discomfort and laxative effects. This is a result of sugar alcohols and polydextrose being poorly taken up from the gastrointestinal tract. The likelihood of such effects occurring is related to the amount consumed and, therefore, increases with the consumption of more than one product containing sugar alcohols and/or polydextrose. There is a wide variation, however, in sensitivity between individuals to these effects. Also, it is possible with frequent consumption of products containing sugar alcohols and/or polydextrose to develop a tolerance, and be able to increase consumption without experiencing adverse effects. Mannitol and sorbitol, along with other sugar alcohols, have been promoted as useful sugar substitutes for diabetics. Unlike sucrose and glucose, which cause quick changes in blood glucose concentration, these sugar alcohols do not produce significant changes in blood glucose concentration because, once absorbed, they are converted to energy by processes that require little or no insulin. People with diabetes, however, should consult their physician or other health professionals about the usefulness of sugar alcohols in their diet before increasing the amount of foods they eat that contain these substances. Sugar alcohols are also resistant to metabolism by the bacteria in the mouth, which break down sugars and starches to release decay-causing acids. As a result, sugar alcohols in general are considered not to promote tooth decay. Studies have indicated that xylitol in particular may actually help to prevent tooth decay. Overall, the benefits of permitting the use of sugar alcohols and polydextrose as food additives in certain foods are greater than the potential for laxative effects that could result from excessive consumption of these substances. It is important for consumers to be made aware that sugar alcohols and/or polydextrose are added to certain foods, to recognize the names of these compounds and to be aware that excessive consumption of such foods could lead to gastro-intestinal discomfort and laxative effects.
Sugar Can Be Addictive Animal Studies Show Sugar Dependence
Sugar. Rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function. (Credit: iStockphoto/Tobias Helbig)
ScienceDaily (Dec. 11, 2008) — A Princeton University scientist will present new evidence todaydemonstrating that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse. Professor Bart Hoebel and his team in the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute have been studying signs of sugar addiction in rats for years. Until now, the rats under study have met two of the three elements of addiction. They have demonstrated a behavioral pattern of increased intake and then showed signs of withdrawal. His current experiments captured craving and relapse to complete the picture. "If bingeing on sugar is really a form of addiction, there should be long-lasting effects in the brains of sugar addicts," Hoebel said. "Craving and relapse are critical components of addiction, and we have been able to demonstrate these behaviors in sugar-bingeing rats in a number of ways."At the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hoebel will report on profound behavioral changes in rats that, through experimental conditions, have been trained to become dependent on high doses of sugar. "We have the first set of comprehensive studies showing the strong suggestion of sugar addiction in rats and a mechanism that might underlie it," Hoebel said. The findings eventually could have implications for the treatment of humans with eating disorders, he said. Lab animals, in Hoebel's experiments, that were denied sugar for a prolonged period after learning to binge worked harder to get it when it was reintroduced to them. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. Their motivation for sugar had grown. "In this case, abstinence makes the heart grow fonder," Hoebel said. The rats drank more alcohol than normal after their sugar supply was cut off, showing that the bingeing behavior had forged changes in brain function. These functions served as "gateways" to other paths of destructive behavior, such as increased alcohol intake. And, after receiving a dose of amphetamine normally so minimal it has no effect, they became significantly hyperactive. The increased sensitivity to the psychostimulant is a long-lasting brain effect that can be a component of addiction, Hoebel said. The data to be presented by Hoebel is contained in a research paper that has been submitted to The Journal of Nutrition. Visiting researchers Nicole Avena, who earned her Ph.D. from Princeton in 2006, and Pedro Rada from the University of Los Andes in Venezuela wrote the paper with Hoebel. Hoebel has been interested in the brain mechanisms that control appetite and body weight since he was an undergraduate at Harvard University studying with the renowned behaviorist B.F. Skinner. On the Princeton faculty since 1963, he has pioneered studies into the mental rewards of eating. Over the past decade, Hoebel has led work that has now completed an animal model of sugar addiction. Hoebel has shown that rats eating large amounts of sugar when hungry, a phenomenon he describes as sugar-bingeing, undergo neurochemical changes in the brain that appear to mimic those produced by substances of abuse, including cocaine, morphine and nicotine. Sugar induces behavioral changes, too. "In certain models, sugar-bingeing causes long-lasting effects in the brain and increases the inclination to take other drugs of abuse, such as alcohol," Hoebel said. Hoebel and his team also have found that a chemical known as dopamine is released in a region of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens when hungry rats drink a sugar solution. This chemical signal is thought to trigger motivation and, eventually with repetition, addiction. The researchers conducted the studies by restricting rats of their food while the rats slept and for four hours after waking. "It's a little bit like missing breakfast," Hoebel said. "As a result, they quickly eat some chow and drink a lot of sugar water." And, he added, "That's what is called binge eating -- when you eat a lot all at once -- in this case they are bingeing on a 10 percent sucrose solution, which is like a soft drink." Hungry rats that binge on sugar provoke a surge of dopamine in their brains. After a month, the structure of the brains of these rats adapts to increased dopamine levels, showing fewer of a certain type of dopamine receptor than they used to have and more opioid receptors. These dopamine and opioid systems are involved in motivation and reward, systems that control wanting and liking something. Similar changes also are seen in the brains of rats on cocaine and heroin. In experiments, the researchers have been able to induce signs of withdrawal in the lab animals by taking away their sugar supply. The rats' brain levels of dopamine dropped and, as a result, they exhibited anxiety as a sign of withdrawal. The rats' teeth chattered, and the creatures were unwilling to venture forth into the open arm of their maze, preferring to stay in a tunnel area. Normally rats like to explore their environment, but the rats in sugar withdrawal were too anxious to explore. The findings are exciting, Hoebel said, but more research is needed to understand the implications for people. The most obvious application for humans would be in the field of eating disorders. "It seems possible that the brain adaptations and behavioral signs seen in rats may occur in some individuals with binge-eating disorder or bulimia," Hoebel said. "Our work provides links between the traditionally defined substance-use disorders, such as drug addiction, and the development of abnormal desires for natural substances. This knowledge might help us to devise new ways of diagnosing and treating addictions in people."
Adapted from materials provided byPrinceton University.