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Old 03-03-2013, 09:39 PM   #1
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Artificial sweetners;The Controversy

So, I still keep hearing how bad artificial sweetners are for you. That they cause cancer etc etc......Of course we all know that regular sugar also has some bad health effects as well. But are we trading one bad thing for another?

Since cutting out regular table sugar, I use Splenda or Stevia. If I drink SF drinks they contain sucrolose. (or some other artificial sweetner)

What about Agave Nectar? Some say good because it has a low glycemic index,and it is a natural product. Others say bad.

Should we just avoid ALL sugars? It sure seems that way. On one hand sugar is an all natural product. Artificial is chemically made.

Would love to hear opinions. Especially since I now use artificial sweetners now in my low carb baking.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:35 AM   #2
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yeah, agave is bad. the woman at About low carb just had a little article on that. same as other sugars.

I think sucralose and erythritol are fine, myself. When you say "all sugars" please don't mean artificial sweeteners in that! they are NOT sugars. they are just a variety of compounds that happen to taste sweet to humans.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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I think the problem with sweeteners is when you replace all the sweets you were eating while higher carb with equal amounts of artificially sweetened versions.

The whole Idea of doing An Atkins induction is to ween yourself off sweets by limiting the sweeteners to 2 packets a day. Most will find that when they introduce too many new sweets even in the artificial version they will stall or gain. Treats should be kept to a minimum and really enjoyed as yo not over indulge.

However if you want to use natural sweeteners as mentioned above there are ways of eating that incorporate them like primal diets...I hope I didn't confuse paleo and primal...check it out for yourself tho.
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanlover66 View Post
So, I still keep hearing how bad artificial sweetners are for you. That they cause cancer etc etc......Of course we all know that regular sugar also has some bad health effects as well. But are we trading one bad thing for another?

Since cutting out regular table sugar, I use Splenda or Stevia. If I drink SF drinks they contain sucrolose. (or some other artificial sweetner)

What about Agave Nectar? Some say good because it has a low glycemic index,and it is a natural product. Others say bad.

Should we just avoid ALL sugars? It sure seems that way. On one hand sugar is an all natural product. Artificial is chemically made.

Would love to hear opinions. Especially since I now use artificial sweetners now in my low carb baking.
there is an awesome podcast on the jimmy more website by david getoff - i cant link to it, but do a google search on the truth about artificial sweetners. It changed my thinking!

i try to use stevia as much as possible. It's an herb. This is less scary to me than a lab created chemical concoction. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:01 PM   #5
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I think it would be ideal to cut out BOTH sugar and all artificial sweeteners.

Unfortunately, I'm weak, and need something sweet to make me happy eating... so I use artificial sweetners as my crutch to help me stick to an overall healthier way of eating.
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Old 03-04-2013, 03:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lterry913 View Post
The whole Idea of doing An Atkins induction is to ween yourself off sweets by limiting the sweeteners to 2 packets a day. Most will find that when they introduce too many new sweets even in the artificial version they will stall or gain. Treats should be kept to a minimum and really enjoyed as yo not over indulge.


I've been reading a book about food addiction and realize now that I do have one and it dawned on me after reading it that when you eat sugar or wheat you are feeding an addiction and your body is looking for that chemical reaction it gets from those items and is satisfied for a while until it needs another fix.

When you use artificial sweeteners your body senses the sweet taste but doesn't get the chemical reactions it is craving so it sends out more and even strong cravings so that why AS can cause cravings.

I also think that's why low-carb replacements for high-carb foods can be lacking. They don't feed the addiction.

Maybe I'm crazy to look at it this way but to me it makes sense and when something finally makes sense I can better control it.

Last edited by PaminKY; 03-04-2013 at 03:25 PM..
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:03 PM   #7
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I avoid artificial sweetners. I use stevia in coffee & tea. That is all I have that is sweet.

Agave nector is very unhealthy stuff despite the health food marketing.

I have been hearing about natual sweetener from Monk Fruit but I don't know if it is actually healthy. I've read some info that it is good for us and even healing but every sweetener I have seen with it also contains ingredients I won't consume.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:19 PM   #8
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I am fortunate insofar as anything with a sweet taste is a trigger for me and inevitably results in overeating.

Thus, several years ago, I eliminated all sugar and artificial sweeteners--and it's one of the best things I've ever done for myself. Total abstinence works to actually curb my world-class sweet tooth. I truly don't miss sweet things, since they're totally off my radar.

I heard horror stories about artificial sweeteners all my life, and despite that, I consumed my share of Diet Coke, and then moved on to sodas with Splenda when I heart terrible things about aspertame. Now I'm happy not to have to worry about any of those sweeteners any longer.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #9
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Like Leo, I've given us all regular and artificial sweeteners. That may be a factor in why cravings haven't been much of a problem for me on a low carb WOE. I can taste the natural sweetness of foods like cream and vegetables now, and in general my palate is more sensitive without sweeteners. I don't do desserts, but I have no problem leaving the sweetener out of other sorts of recipes, such as for salad dressings and sauces; I don't mind things tasting a little tangy sometimes.
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Old 03-04-2013, 04:50 PM   #10
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Splenda is my poison of choice... I drink it with my herbal rasberry about a quart. Then lemonaid. I have cut the Splenda in half.
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:48 PM   #11
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I don't trust them and only use them occasionally -- such as in a special low-carb dessert for a birthday. They make food taste "fake" to me.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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If you are in ketosis, you have less of a chance of developing cancer anyways because cancer eats blood sugar to grow. It does not eat nutrasweet. The problem with nutrasweet/aspartame is that there is some evidence that it may be converted into several things inside your liver, including methanol and formaldehyde. This sounds scary, but the amount is much less than what is normally formed if you are eating a diet high in fructose. Peter Attia said that aspartame has been the most rigorously tested substance by the FDA and it has passed every test with flying colors. They can't figure out why it's bad for us if it is and I haven't found any evidence especially for people who eat low carb diets.

Having said that, I have found that I get more pain in my liver area when I drink a ton of diet soda, but this is also caffeinated, so it's hard to tell what is causing the symptoms I feel.

Sugar free sweeteners can cause dehydration as your body tries to flush it out and it can put a strain on your liver and kidneys in that regard. But I believe that sugar and carbohydrates are far worse and will actually worsen any of the effects of sugar free sweeteners in combination, whereas without the sugar in your system, your liver can tolerate it much better.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:11 PM   #13
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Well, besides water everything is going to have artificial sweetners in them. (Or milk). I like to drink Crystal Light, or SF French vanilla creamer in my coffee, or flavored carbonated drinks(sucralose).

I think I should stay away from Splenda and use Stevia. From what I hear, it is natural, not a chemical. I just read SO many recipes that say Splenda. Was wondering why that was the artificial sweetner of choice.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:52 PM   #14
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Other than lo han guo, stevia is the most natural non-caloric sweetener that I can think of.

I think Splenda is preferred in many recipes because it has less of an aftertaste than saccharin and aspartame. You can also substitute it "cup for cup" for sugar, so it's easier to switch over.

Splenda causes bladder irritation for me.
I thought/hoped for a long time that it was harmless, but I do much better without it!

Agave is definitely unhealthy. It's high in fructose. It doesn't cause an immediate blood sugar spike, but will cause one later because it's metabolized through the liver. And if it's in a baked good or dessert, then you can get a quick spike from other ingredients (like flour) with another one later from the agave. (PS: If I really needed a natural sweetener, I would just use a little bit of honey or maple syrup in a recipe before I bought a bottle of agave.)

I've heard good things about coconut sugar but I did an experiment a few days ago and it raised my blood sugar more than white sugar. Maybe the time of day I tested wasn't ideal, but I'm a little leery now.

I found lo han guo as a single ingredient and bought a pound of it.
You can eat some of the powder straight and it doesn't taste bitter or horrid like stevia.
It actually has a slight caramel or fruity flavor--maybe dates?
I can't quite place it, but it's pleasant. I really like it in iced tea.
It doesn't have an intense sweet taste or dissolve super-easily, so I mix it in water with a little erythritol and keep it in a squeeze bottle in the fridge.

Tagatose is another sweetener on the market that isn't exactly an artificial sweetener and I don't think it's a sugar alcohol. Some people find it upsets their stomach like sugar alcohols, but other people love it. And it caramelizes like sugar.
http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/lo...-tagatose.html
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:37 PM   #15
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IMO, stick to Stevia, Monk Fruit, and Erythritol.

Anything with carbs in it regardless of its glycemic index will add up and potentially boot you out of ketosis (majority of sugar alcohols, agave, splenda, etc...).

Anything made by a company who holds a patent on it, and got the product approved by the FDA through self-funded testing and lobbying is questionable IMO. Especially considering the history of how these substances were discovered (oil industry components, insecticide research and testing, etc...).

IMO, I would use Stevia, Swerve, Erythritol, Chicory Root, Inulin, Just Like Sugar, Monk Fruit Extract.

IMO, I would avoid all other sugar alcohols and glycerine b/c actually breaks down into carbs which can kick me out of ketosis.

IMO, I would avoid Saccarin, Acesulfame K, and sucralose, b/c my intuition tells me not to trust the makers of products discovered by accident in non-food related industries.

IMO I would never use Aspartame.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:32 AM   #16
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What brand of artificial sweetner uses asparteme?
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:33 AM   #17
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What brand of artificial sweetner uses asparteme?
Equal and nutrisweet. Lots of diet soft drinks contain asparteme.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:09 AM   #18
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That's great information Jenny, Creseis, and Taxbane -- thank you.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:19 AM   #19
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What brand of artificial sweetner uses asparteme?
Usually it's the blue "Equal" packets. But I have bought a bulk box of Equal that was yellow and is sucralose - essentially Equal's version of Splenda. So you really just have to check the labels.
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Old 03-05-2013, 08:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaminKY View Post
I've been reading a book about food addiction and realize now that I do have one and it dawned on me after reading it that when you eat sugar or wheat you are feeding an addiction and your body is looking for that chemical reaction it gets from those items and is satisfied for a while until it needs another fix.

When you use artificial sweeteners your body senses the sweet taste but doesn't get the chemical reactions it is craving so it sends out more and even strong cravings so that why AS can cause cravings.

I also think that's why low-carb replacements for high-carb foods can be lacking. They don't feed the addiction.

Maybe I'm crazy to look at it this way but to me it makes sense and when something finally makes sense I can better control it.


I am one of these people...and I could not white knuckle it and give up the sweeteners...although, Severely limiting them did help me not to crave as much, so I don't know if what you said pertains to me. I do believe I have other triggers one of them being the combination of wheat with the sweet taste that totally wrecks me. One doughnut or piece of cake, french toast, pancakes...is never enough...see how I can go on about foods that combine wheat and sugar. I just can't stop...I think we all need to find our triggers. I think what you mention above can be absolutely true and is somewhat in my case.

Control is the key and we all have to find out what we can tolerate and control it.

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Old 03-05-2013, 08:48 AM   #21
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On one hand sugar is an all natural product. Artificial is chemically made.
A lot of people who argue sugar is better for you than non-caloric sweeteners will use this line of reasoning, but don't let them fool you. Sugar is NOT a natural part of the human diet, nor is it any more "natural" a product than the non-caloric sweeteners. It is a highly refined and isolated chemical. I definitely believe that the non-caloric sweeteners are the lesser of two evils, because while there's a lot of talk about them causing cancer, I've yet to see any real evidence that they do, despite the fact that they've been studied pretty extensively. Meanwhile, the evidence that sugar is toxic continues to grow every day.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:56 AM   #22
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IMO, stick to Stevia, Monk Fruit, and Erythritol.

Anything with carbs in it regardless of its glycemic index will add up and potentially boot you out of ketosis (majority of sugar alcohols, agave, splenda, etc...).

Anything made by a company who holds a patent on it, and got the product approved by the FDA through self-funded testing and lobbying is questionable IMO. Especially considering the history of how these substances were discovered (oil industry components, insecticide research and testing, etc...).

IMO, I would use Stevia, Swerve, Erythritol, Chicory Root, Inulin, Just Like Sugar, Monk Fruit Extract.

IMO, I would avoid all other sugar alcohols and glycerine b/c actually breaks down into carbs which can kick me out of ketosis.

IMO, I would avoid Saccarin, Acesulfame K, and sucralose, b/c my intuition tells me not to trust the makers of products discovered by accident in non-food related industries.

IMO I would never use Aspartame.



Good post, Taxbane. I've searched your posts out before regarding AS because I respect and agree with your opinions.

I would take it farther and add that I stay away from Truvia and Purevia (sp?). They may be erythritol/stevia blends but the stevia has been highly refined. The Crystal Light Pure Fitness line of drink mixes whose label reads No artificial sweeteners uses Truvia but the first ingredient is evaporated cane juice.

I would also stress that Acesulfame K is more evil and insidious than people may think. Almost all diet drinks also contain Ace-K.


Taxbane, what do you think of Tagatose.


I am trying to eliminate as may AS's as I can from my diet but I not going to try to totally eliminate them. I will use the ones I feel are safe but I now know to control any cravings they may cause. Knowledge is power.
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:09 AM   #23
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A lot of people who argue sugar is better for you than non-caloric sweeteners will use this line of reasoning, but don't let them fool you. Sugar is NOT a natural part of the human diet, nor is it any more "natural" a product than the non-caloric sweeteners. It is a highly refined and isolated chemical. I definitely believe that the non-caloric sweeteners are the lesser of two evils, because while there's a lot of talk about them causing cancer, I've yet to see any real evidence that they do, despite the fact that they've been studied pretty extensively. Meanwhile, the evidence that sugar is toxic continues to grow every day.
THIS!!^^^^
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:30 AM   #24
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From the book I'm reading:

"Every addictive substance has been through the refinement process. All addictive substances start as something natural. After all, herion is nothing but a chemical. They take the juice of the poppy and refine it into opium and then refine it into morphine and finally to heroin. Sugar is nothing but a chemical. They take the juice of the cane or beet and refine it to molasses and then to brown sugar and finally to strange white crystals."


I do recommend reading this book to everyone but I don't agree with everything in it and I don't especially like her food plan because even though she advises against using any sweeteners she does state if you are going to use any that it be saccharine. She considers stevia a refined carb.

There is some useful info, you just have to use your own common sense in places and while she does discuss eating disorders quite a bit I was shocked to find that I do quite a few things that qualify as a food addiction.

The book is "Food Addiction - The Body Knows" by Kay Sheppard.

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Old 03-05-2013, 12:43 PM   #25
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Good post, Taxbane. I've searched your posts out before regarding AS because I respect and agree with your opinions.

I would take it farther and add that I stay away from Truvia and Purevia (sp?). They may be erythritol/stevia blends but the stevia has been highly refined. The Crystal Light Pure Fitness line of drink mixes whose label reads No artificial sweeteners uses Truvia but the first ingredient is evaporated cane juice.

I would also stress that Acesulfame K is more evil and insidious than people may think. Almost all diet drinks also contain Ace-K.


Taxbane, what do you think of Tagatose.


I am trying to eliminate as may AS's as I can from my diet but I not going to try to totally eliminate them. I will use the ones I feel are safe but I now know to control any cravings they may cause. Knowledge is power.
Thanks

I have not tired Tagatose yet, and just saw reference to it this week. I will look into it.

I agree that Truvia isn't a great source for stevia or erythirtol since it is derived from GMO crops.
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:24 PM   #26
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If you are in ketosis, you have less of a chance of developing cancer anyways because cancer eats blood sugar to grow. It does not eat nutrasweet. The problem with nutrasweet/aspartame is that there is some evidence that it may be converted into several things inside your liver, including methanol and formaldehyde. This sounds scary, but the amount is much less than what is normally formed if you are eating a diet high in fructose. Peter Attia said that aspartame has been the most rigorously tested substance by the FDA and it has passed every test with flying colors. They can't figure out why it's bad for us if it is and I haven't found any evidence especially for people who eat low carb diets.

Having said that, I have found that I get more pain in my liver area when I drink a ton of diet soda, but this is also caffeinated, so it's hard to tell what is causing the symptoms I feel.

Sugar free sweeteners can cause dehydration as your body tries to flush it out and it can put a strain on your liver and kidneys in that regard. But I believe that sugar and carbohydrates are far worse and will actually worsen any of the effects of sugar free sweeteners in combination, whereas without the sugar in your system, your liver can tolerate it much better.
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Old 03-05-2013, 03:12 PM   #27
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Thanks

I have not tired Tagatose yet, and just saw reference to it this week. I will look into it.

I agree that Truvia isn't a great source for stevia or erythirtol since it is derived from GMO crops.

I visit a site that promotes process free and I asked the owner of that site what her opinion was of tagatose and I received a response today. I did order a bag of it but have been leary of trying it and now I regret the purchase.

Here is her response:


The tagatose used in the product you are asking about is not really natural. It's kind of the same line that companies give about crystalline fructose being natural because fructose is found in fruits, even though the commercial versions of fructose don't come from fruits at all. They're "created" in laboratories.

Although Tagatose is naturally found in "small" amounts in fruits, cacao, and dairy products, that is not where the tagatose in PreSweet is derived. Tagatose is commercially produced through an enzymatic process, starting with lactose which is hydrolyzed to glucose and galactose. The galactose is isomerized (another chemical process using a corrosive compound called calcium hydroxide) to D-tagatose. The resulting mixture is then purified and crystallized into solid tagatose.

That doesn't sound natural to me!

Furthermore, while searching around for information on tagatose, I came across a study showing the effects of d-tagatose in men. Apparently, d-tagatose breaks down slowly and is only incompletely absorbed (a feature that is hyped by the Nu Naturals website), however because of this slow degradation, it accumulates in the liver and causes high uric acid levels and severe depletion of liver ATP. ATP is a compound involved in the energy transfer between cells. High uric acid levels can cause gout, kidney stones, or kidney disease.

In simpler terms, the study showed that d-tagatose alters the body's metabolism and energy balance, and increases the risk of developing gout or kidney disease. According to the study "These results suggest that a moderate intake of D-tagatose may affect liver metabolism despite the fact that the sugar may only be incompletely absorbed in the gut."

I found another study that showed that dietary fructose (from high fructose corn syrup) has been linked to the same issues. D-tagatose is chemically similar to d-fructose.

Hmmm....

Best to stay away from this one.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:31 PM   #28
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Wow, there is a lot of information here to process. I went from 3tbsp of sugar in my coffee to none or SF French Vanilla. I went from drinking sweet tea all day long to Crystal Light and flavored carbonated drinks. I went from 2 packages of Reese's PB Cups, to eating low carb crackers and hummus. It was a HUGE change for me.

I am still very confused over which AS is the "safest". I do not like water. I do not even like water with Lemon. So, my drinks do need to be diet.

If I am baking however, I could probably get buy without adding in the AS. But I don't think I would enjoy it very much.

So out of all these posts, am I correct in saying that besides going SF and AS free, the "safest" one would be Stevia?

ETA: Since cutting out sugar, and only eating very low carb bread, I started this way of eating the first week of January. I am 5'3". I weighed 143. With quite the belly. I am down to 135. My goal is to get to 130. I am upping my exercise routine becaue I have been dancing more, with practicing at least 4 days a week with an addl 45 minute class. And I need to start toning because my belly is looking a little flabby now.

Last edited by oceanlover66; 03-05-2013 at 07:34 PM..
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:40 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by oceanlover66 View Post
So out of all these posts, am I correct in saying that besides going SF and AS free, the "safest" one would be Stevia?
In my opinion, YES, absolutely! I think stevia is very safe.
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Old 03-05-2013, 09:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Gretalyn View Post
In my opinion, YES, absolutely! I think stevia is very safe.
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