Search Term: " Stevia "
Stevia leaves: Health benefits and uses for diabetes
December 18, 2018 04:04 PM
Stevia, a sweet extract from the plant Stevia Rebaudiana, has been used as a sugar substitute for years. Roughly 40 times sweeter than sugar but low in calories, Stevia can help in weight loss and blood sugar control. Stevia leaves also contain antioxidants, including kaempferol, which can, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, lower the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%. Stevia has also been reported to lower blook pressure, and is used in Brazil to treat diabetes. Stevia plants can be grown at home. The leaves can be stored like other herbs.
"Stevia is low-calorie, and much sweeter than sugar. If used as a substitute, it helps in weight-loss and controlling blood sugar levels, which may be beneficial for people with diabetes."
Read more: https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/stevia-leaves-health-benefits-and-uses-for-diabetes/331510
12 Things That Will Happen If You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Daily
August 30, 2017 04:14 PM
Diluted apple cider vinegar packs a health punch of which you may not have been aware. There are numerous benefits to drinking ACV, including the following: improved digestion, regulation of blood sugar, stenthened immune system, weight loss, improved skin, and higher stamina. To achieve the benefits provided by ACV it is recommended that people drink it daily, approximately 15 minutes before each meal. The recommended starting dose is 1 teaspoon to start but the dosage can be increased to 2 to 3 tablespoons after a few weeks. To combat bitterness, add Stevia or sugar sweetener.
"The mother is the cloudy strings of naturally occurring pectin and proteins that form during fermentation."
Read more: https://www.healthambition.com/apple-cider-vinegar-drink-daily-better-health/
Natural Recipe To Improve Heart Function!!
May 24, 2017 12:14 PM
Beginning with a message prompting the viewer to check the "warning" section on the channel description, as well as a disclaimer regarding the information presented, the video details a natural remedy for heart health consisting of boiling herbs, oils, and lemon juice into a concoction for daily use. The recipe is given in a bulleted list, though at some points the English seems broken. It ends with a recommendation to like the video and subscribe to the channel.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5XKtIF5sTY&rel=0
"You want to keep your heart healthy, Today's recipe is simple and can help you reduce any disorder due to a certain heart disease."
The Holiday Sugar Trap; All There is to Know
The festive season can be a tempting affair to any healthy eater. Hopping from one party and family gathering to another might easily see you indulging in unhealthy dishes and drinks. It is quite difficult to hold back on the wide varieties of delicious treats unless your will is exceptional. Counting the calories in the food you eat when in the middle of a conversation with a long lost friend or family members isn't easy. What you regard as 'just a once off affair' might ruin the rest of the year for you. There is a lot of hidden sugar in holiday treats such as; syrup, cakes, flavored pop corn, cookies, soda, juices, lemonades and ice cream.
Reasons to Avoid Sugar During the Festive Season
Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay. Plaque, a harmful bacteria responsible for tooth decay, uses sugar as a form of energy. This way, the plaque multiplies and becomes thick hence making it difficult for it to be washed away by saliva. Sugar is also used as a form of glue for the bacteria to firmly stick to the teeth.
Added sugar for instance fructose corn syrup contains a lot of empty calories with zero nutrients.These calories do not contain any protein, minerals, vitamins nor any essential fats. It is purely energy which is converted into fats in the body hence weight gain.
Did you know that indulging in all that sweetness at the Christmas table might be the beginning of your sugar addiction? Sugar shuttles tryptophan in the brain which further converts to serotonin hence having a physiological addictive effect.
When the refined sugar intake is high, the body might be forced to produce more leptin and insulin. This is due to the high carbohydrate and processed food diet. When these two rise, blood pressure might go up leading to leptin and insulin resistance. Insulin is responsible for the storage of magnesium meant for the relaxation of muscles in the body. When the insulin is interfered with, the lack of magnesium in the cells may lead to the inability of your your hearts' vessels to fully relax hence narrowing them. This overworks your heart hence increased blood pressure.
Refined sugar has been proven to cause diabetes, obesity as well as other conditions that put your heart at risk. New studies have linked sugar with unhealthy cholesterol and increased triglyceride levels. When you consume a lot of refined sugar, the excess is stored in the liver as tryglecirides (a form of fat that sticks to your arteries). This fat travels through the blood stream and may clog it up.
That extra can of soda might leave you struggling with life altering health conditions. It is important to consider healthy alternatives to refined sugars. A perfect example in this case would be unsweetened or Stevia calorie free sweetners. Sweet leaf and Truvia are made of Stevia which is a natural herbs that are commonly found in South and Central America. Stevia is 40 times sweeter than sugar yet contains no empty calories which makes it a suitable alternative. These sweeteners are easily available in local stores and can be used in almost anything; tea, coffee, cereal, yogurt and even fruit.
STEVIA – BETTER THAN SUGAR
Stevia is a natural sweetener that originates in South America – Paraguay and Brazil, mostly – with no calories and is remarkably much sweeter than sugar. The Stevia plant Stevia Rebaudiana derives its sweetness from steviol glycocides. The extract is then processed for sale in the form of Truvia and PureVia around North America. It is not yet approved as an additive due to possible side effects of male infertility and genetic mutations.
Benefits of Stevia over Sugar
The yeast we hear about being in our bodies is called Candida albicans and it can ferment sugar in the body, causing the candidiasis infection with treatment involving cutting sugar out of your diet. Stevia does not react with the yeast and can also keep your food sweet.
Stevia is a safer and healthier option to sugar. It is natural and sweeter than sugar making it a great option to combat obesity and sugar level problems the world is constantly facing.
What Can Stevia Do For Me?
February 08, 2014 09:31 AM
Morning Sugar Crave!
Does that early morning blueberry muffin leave you craving another sweet treat only hours later? Or do you find that you need a candy bar or soda drink in order to make it through the afternoon. If so you are not alone. The unfortunate fact is that many of us have become addicted to sugary treats.
This leads us on a roller coaster ride of sugar highs and lows, where we are constantly trying to give our body the energy demands. Not only does this make it difficult for a us to be productive, it also causes health problems and makes it difficult to maintain our weight.
There is a natural solution that can help you out – Stevia.
Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia plant. It's a natural sweeter which contains no sugar and no calories. People with a sweet tooth also love the fact that Stevia is 100 times sweeter than sugar in some cases.
Here are some of the benefits of making the switch from sugar to Stevia.
Protect Your Waistline
In 1700 it was estimated that the average person only consumed about 7 pounds of sugar a year. Flash forward to 2014 and the average person is consuming 150 pounds a year. That's 20 times as much sugar! Of that sugar approximately 5% will be used for energy later on, 60% will be metabolized by the body and incredible 35% will be stored as fat so it can be used for energy if required. This is having a huge effect on people's waistline is and is contributing to the massive obesity epidemic which is seen worldwide abysses levels doubled since 1980. Stevia contains no calories but is sweeter than sugar. Even more importantly it does not cause blood sugar levels to rise after it is consumed. Having stable blood sugar levels prevents people from over eating and makes it much easier to maintain a healthy weight.
Prevents high blood pressure
High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer. Often people are unaware that they even suffering from high blood pressure until it is too late. In the United States 67 million American adults have high blood pressure. That's approximately a third of the population. The consequences of this are very severe including increased risk of stroke and heart disease. These are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. According to the medical website WebMD Stevia can be used to reduce high blood pressure and heart burn.
Bacteria feeds on the sugars that you consume and this in turn creates acids. A little acid can help to control the bacterial environment in your mouth. But if there is too much acid over a prolonged period of time it can cause serious problems for your oral health. These acids can destroy the tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Stevia does not feed the bacteria in the mouth in the same way as sugar, so it protects your teeth while still providing you with the same delicious sweet taste.
Stevia is a great way for you to enjoy the sweet tastes of the foods that you love without having to worry about your waistline, high blood pressure or destroying your teeth. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth without damaging your health why not try Stevia?
Benefit Of Stevia
October 06, 2012 08:09 PM
Stevia is one of the herbs that have been in use for a long period in the past to sweeten food and drinks. It has no calories, side effects and it does not contain sugar. Stevia is very helpful to pre-diabetics and diabetics because it does not cause spike of blood sugar. As a natural sweetener, it can also be useful to other carbohydrate-controlled meals.
The research has shown that Stevia is very beneficial to the pancreas by improving the sensitivity of the insulin as well it promotes the production of insulin. Stevia also helps to reverse metabolic syndrome and diabetes. If Stevia is consumed before meal, it will reduce postpradial level of insulin as compared with sucrose.
Stevia has been used for many years and it is argued by many experts to be safe as it has no harmful effects. It's leaves have been used for the treatment of diabetes mellitus. You should use Stevia to sweeten your coffee or tea instead of sugar. It has no effect on the level of blood glucose and it maybe involved in enhancement of glucose tolerance.
The Benefits of Stevia for Diabetics
February 05, 2012 08:38 PM
No herbal sweetener in the world packs the punch that Stevia does. Derived from the plant Stevia rebaudiania, ground Stevia leaves have ten to fifteen times the sweetness of sugar, and purified Stevia extract has 200-300 times the sweetness of sugar.
Stevia is very popular in many countries, especially among diabetics. Diabetics love Stevia for a variety of reasons: its safety, its lack of any effect on blood sugar, the fact that Stevia has almost zero calories, the wide variety of products it is included in, and its unique ability to enhance citrus flavors and ice cream.
Unlike artificial sweeteners, Stevia is perfectly safe. Stevia has been used in Japan for decades, and the Japanese have very strict standards governing the use of dietary supplements. They have conducted numerous studies on Stevia, and no study to date has ever uncovered any harmful effects. Research conducted in the United States and other countries has also failed to find anything hazardous about Stevia. In addition, Stevia has been consumed for thousands of years in Brazil and Paraguay with no reported negative effects.
Stevia has zero effect on blood sugar. It does not effect insulin secretion in any way, and no diabetic has ever experienced difficulties with Stevia. Contrast this with the effects of table sugar and it is clear that Stevia is a clear winner.
Unlike table sugar--which is notorious for being calorie laden--Stevia contains virtually no calories, which means that no one on a diet has to worry about consuming too much Stevia.
There are a wide variety of products available for dieters interested in consuming Stevia. Liquid Stevia extract is quite popular and can be found in flavors like chocolate, vanilla, peppermint, and more. It is relatively inexpensive, because a little Stevia goes a very, very long way.
If you are a diabetic worried about artificial sweeteners but not yet willing to give up diet soda, Stevia is the solution to your problem. While usually only available at health food stores and a few supermarket chains, Stevia soft drinks exist. If you can find them, you should give them a try, and if you like them, then you can easily subsitute them for the less healthy aspartame diet drinks.
For those interested in ice cream, Stevia makes wonderful ice cream. Unlike granulated sugar, which adds a grainy texture to ice cream, Stevia adds no irritating textures and leaves ice cream perfectly smooth. If you make your own Stevia ice cream you are going to be in for quite a treat, and even more so if you decide to make citrus flavored Stevia ice cream.
No one yet understands why Stevia enhances citrus flavors, but it undoubtedly does. It is difficult to describe, but Stevia has a way of intensifying flavors like lime and lemon in a way that makes those flavors more delicious. Of course, individual tastes vary, but it is generally agreed that Stevia lemon sorbet is a treat par excellence.
Don't hesitate to give Stevia a try. This ancient herb is the perfect modern solution for diabetics with a sweet tooth.
April 08, 2010 04:31 PM
Comments by Craig Gerbore, CEO of Madhava:
Reading through the attack articles and blogs that have surfaced recently one could think that using agave is bad for one's health. These claims are utterly false and misleading. They are extreme views drawn from extreme examples and applied way out of context. They are propagandizing and clearly designed to frighten, not educate. All of the fears and concerns associated with the overconsumption of sugars and calories in general have been unfairly cast on agave.
What is a "healthy" sweetener? One that you use moderately and sensibly.
Health concerns related to fructose and caloric sweeteners are all dependant on the overconsumption of them. All foods have calories and it is the overall consumption of calories that lead to obesity and related issues, not any one food source.
Agave's caloric value is comparable to the other sweeteners in the category. Due to its greater sweetness though, less agave is used compared to the others, so agave actually can reduce caloric consumption per serving. This is due to a higher fructose content. The higher content does not mean higher consumption though, due to the smaller portion used. But, it is not the single serving that matters, it is the number of servings which lead to the overconsumption issues which may result in health concerns.
As a reference point, 9-10 teaspoon servings of agave would be the approximate caloric equivalent of one 16 oz soft drink. With this perspective, is agave really being overconsumed as a choice of sweetener for home use?
Every single health issue which the attackers have tried to associate with agave is really the result of a caloric overconsumption issue. There are no documented issues with normal, moderate consumption of agave or sweeteners in general as part of our everyday diet. For reasons unknown, some have attempted to isolate agave from the real world and real world conditions with the goal of inhibiting agave's use. They play on people's fears, reference false information and fail to address health issues in any meaningful way.
The purpose of this article is to debunk the controversial misinformation surrounding agave. All information debunking the myths and misinformation is based on current science and facts. It is our goal to provide you with useful information so that you can make your personal nutritional choices in a well-informed, science-based manner.
The Agave Controversy: Exposing the fraudulent article by Rami Nagel
By Dr. Susan Kleiner, PhD, RD, FACN, CNS, FISSN
And Craig Gerbore, CEO Madhava
The controversy about agave syrup was manufactured by the publication of a single article on the internet, which has been reproduced and adapted for virtually every other article produced on the internet and other media venues. That article, written by Rami Nagel and published on Naturalnews.com, was highly biased and full of inaccuracies, half-truths and misinformation about agave. Since the Naturalnews.com article has been the sole source of nearly all other popular articles in public media, we want to set the record straight with science-based, reliable information to offer a more balanced resource to those interested in learning more about agave syrup. Who is the author, Rami Nagel?
According to the description on the Naturalnews.com website, Rami Nagel is a "citizen journalist". This means that Mr. Nagel is self-employed, and not employed as an in-house journalist by the website. He wrote and published the article without any editorial or content oversight, and the editor of the website, Mike Adams, makes it clear that the article was not checked for incorrect or inaccurate information or facts. The introduction to the article, written by Mr. Adams, states that readers had written to comment that Mr. Nagel's resources were biased with conflicts of interest due to their financial interests in competing sweeteners, such as brown rice syrup. So even the website editor himself states that the article is not fact-checked, and it is biased and unbalanced.
Who is Russ Bianchi?
The sole resource interviewed for the article is Russ Bianchi, identified by the author as Managing Director and CEO of Adept Solutions, Inc. Mr. Bianchi has clear conflict of interest ties to the sweetener industry. We have documentation of the fact that Mr Bianchi had plans to market a product named Replace. It was to be touted as a low calorie alternative sweetener composed of natural and artificial ingredients! Mr Bianchi was prevented from marketing this sweetener as the result of a lawsuit against him by the owner of the formula.
Mr Bianchi is quoted by Nagel extensively and exclusively. Many, if not all, of his statements are blatantly false or misrepresentations of fact. He is clearly propagandizing against agave nectar.
Was anyone else interviewed for this article?
Yes. Craig Gerbore, president and owner of Madhava Agave Syrup, was extensively interviewed by the author but no parts of that interview were included in the article.
It is important to note that neither Mr Nagel or Mr Bianchi have not made themselves available for questions on their statements since the articles appearance. They remain out of sight and have entirely avoided the controversy their statements created.
What is agave nectar?
The opening line of this paragraph in the article by Mr. Nagel states:
"The principal constituent of the agave is starch, such as what is found in corn or rice."
This is absolutely false. There is no starch in agave. The source of carbohydrate in agave syrup is inulin, a polysaccharide made up primarily of strings of fructose units. Starch is a polysaccharide made up of strings of glucose molecules. They are significantly different, and this difference is why agave syrup is naturally sweet.
The very basis of the argument presented by Mr. Nagel is false.
The agave plant is a succulent, similar to a cactus. The agave sweetener comes from both the Salmiana agave plant and the agave Tequilana (Blue Agave) which are both organically farmed in Mexico and certified organic by USDA approved certifiers. As the salmiana plant grows it produces a stalk called the "quiote" and when this is removed, a natural liquid called "aquamiel". The liquid is collected from the plant, while Blue agave pinons are harvested and shredded to remove the similar juice. Either can be naturally processed thermally or by enzymes into agave nectar.
The juice of the plant is not naturally sweet. The string of connected fructose units that makes up the major proportion of inulin does not have a sweet taste, but when the fructose units are separated (the process is called hydrolysis) by the addition of an enzyme, similar to digestion, or thermally for most blue agave, the syrup becomes quite sweet. That is the entire processing chain for agave nectar. There are no additives, other ingredients or chemicals in Madhava agave nectar. It is absolutely pure and organic and GMO free.
? Mr. Nagel claims that agave syrup is a "refined corn fructose" similar to high fructose corn syrup. This is absolutely false. There is no relationship between agave syrup and high fructose corn syrup in any way, including the source of the product, or the manufacturing process.
? Mr. Nagel refers to a "confidential FDA letter" from Mr. Martin Stutsman, claiming that agave is fraudulently labeled. We contacted Mr. Stutsman at the United States Food and Drug Administration, and his response made it clear that there was never a "confidential FDA letter". He did publish a public letter referenced in an FDA document as "FDA letter from Martin Stutsman to Dr. Eric
Wilhelmsen (Wilhelmsen Consulting), May 8, 2000", regarding evaporated cane juice, a topic wholly unrelated to agave syrup.
? He continued in his response to us that the paragraph in Mr. Nagel's article inaccurately reflected the substance of his comments in the document.
This link will take you to the original document in which the letter was referenced (reference #2):
In fact, Mr. Nagel fabricated the entire story of the letter. Mr. Stutsman is a lawyer, not a doctor. The quotes were completely taken out of context from the document, and the quotes never referred to agave syrup at any time. Nagel goes on to further misrepresent Mr. Stutsman's intent in the published document by weaving in other inaccurate information that is thoroughly unrelated to the original document. Mr Bianchi's subsequent statements on labeling issues are false and without merit.
Mr. Nagel is clearly caught red-handed. He has misrepresented the words of a government official, lied about the facts, and twisted the information to achieve his own agenda. This strategy is repeated throughout the article.
? Mr. Nagel continues his deceptive writing by referring to a quote by the late Dr. Varro Tyler in his book, The Honest Herbal. The first line of the paragraph is a direct quote from the book. Nothing else in that paragraph remotely resembles anything else found in Dr. Tyler's book. Mr. Nagel is trying to claim that agave syrup contains large quantities of saponins, and that they can be harmful to health. Here is the debunking of that paragraph:
1. Dr. Tyler does not include the variety of agave plant used for agave syrup.
2. The entire discussion is about the use of the sword-shaped leaves and the stem. Agave syrup is produced from the natural liquid in the plant. The saponins are isolated from the leaves of the plant.
3. There is no documented evidence to suggest agave syrup contains worrisome levels of saponins and the entire rest of the discussion about health dangers is fabricated and false.
People are going to continue to consume sweet food and drink. There are only three categories of choice to sweeten food. Those are artificial sweeteners, Stevia, or caloric sweeteners from natural sources, sugars.
Most people will not choose artificial. Many will not choose Stevia. That only leaves the category of sugars. In this group, agave is a good choice due to its organic quality, ease of
use, neutral flavor, low glycemic index and the fact that less is used to equal the sweetness of the others in the category.
The sweeteners in this category are composed of three primary sugars used to sweeten foods: glucose, fructose and sucrose. These sugars belong to a class of compounds known as carbohydrates. "Saccharide" is a term that denotes sugar, or substances derived from sugar. Monosaccharides are simple or single sugars; disaccharides are derived from two joined monosaccharides and when they are hydrolyzed, or separated, they yield two molecules of simple sugar. Strings of more than two sugar molecules are called polysaccharides. This category includes compounds such as starches, cellulose and inulin.
Glucose and fructose are monosaccharides. Glucose and fructose are found abundantly in nature in fruits and plants. Sucrose is the disaccharide formed by the joining of glucose and fructose, also known as table sugar. When comparing their relative sweetness, glucose is the least sweet tasting, sucrose is next, and fructose is the sweetest of the three sugars, measured as 1.4 times sweeter than table sugar. Because it is so sweet, people typically use less fructose when sweetening foods compared to sucrose.
? In the article by Mr. Nagel he states , "fructose is not what is found in fruit. Commonly, fructose is compared with its opposite and truly naturally occurring sweetener, known as ‘levulose' (made by nature)..."
Another fabrication. In fact, levulose is just another name for fructose. There are various nomenclatures used in the scientific naming of compounds. Fructose and levulose are exactly the same thing; the names are interchangeable. It is no different than if you called your father, "dad", and your sibling called your father, "father". He would still be the exact same person. Fructose and levulose are different names for the exact same thing: a sugar found in nature.
Mr. Bianchi also is quoted to say that the body does not recognize the fructose in agave. This is another false piece of propaganda which demonstrates just how far he is reaching. If this were true, it would have no impact on us. He immediately contradicts himself with the claims of detrimental effects caused by the overconsumption of fructose.
Sugars can be compared to each other in their ability to raise blood sugar levels by using the Glycemic Index. The scale is set from zero to 100, where low numbers do not have much impact on blood sugar levels, and high numbers raise blood sugar levels quickly. Fructose is very low on the scale. Because agave syrup is high in fructose, it has a rating of 32 or lower. Honey, which has a higher proportion of glucose to fructose, has a Glycemic Index of 58. Sucrose has a Glycemic Index of 68, and glucose, serving as the index standard, is 100.
All sugars, whether fructose, glucose, sucrose or others, contribute 4 calories per gram to our total diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar = 4 grams = 16 calories
In addition to calories, sugars sweeten our foods offering a desirable taste and adding enjoyment and pleasure to our dining. During cooking and baking, sugars allow for browning and the unique consistencies of syrups, candies, frostings and frozen desserts. The varieties of sugars, such as crystallized table sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, honey and agave nectar, among others, contribute different properties and flavors to foods.
When you add your own sugar to foods you are in control of how much sugar you use. Most people would never add as much sugar as do the food manufacturers. Moderate amounts of sugar can certainly be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet for an active individual. Natural sugars are easily metabolized and utilized by the body, offering a very efficient source of fuel for physical and mental activity.
Of course, sugars should be used in moderation in the diet. This can control calories and help create a diet that is dense in nutrients.
Impact of sugar on health and disease
? The remainder of Mr. Nagel's article works to link agave syrup with the increased incidence of obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and the general rise of morbidity and mortality in the population. This is an overconsumption issue involving far more than the occasional use of agave. Here are the facts:
• Rats that are fed a high fructose diet become obese and will develop the chronic diseases associated with obesity: insulin resistance, diabetes and metabolic disease.
• No one should eat a diet that reflects this type of experimental diet.
• Too much sugar in the diet, whether from fructose, glucose or sucrose, can be unhealthy. Diets high in sugar promote tooth decay and periodontal disease; create an overabundance of calories and a deficit of nutrients. This scenario typically leads to weight gain and the development of chronic disease.
• Active individuals can include a moderate amount of added sugar in their diet without negative health consequences. When calorie intake is balanced with physical activity, sugar serves as an efficient source of fuel for muscles, the brain and the central nervous system.
• According to the World Health Organization (2003), individuals can healthfully include 10% of their daily calories from added sugars. This translates into 200 calories for a 2000 calorie diet, or 12½ teaspoons of added sugar daily. Clearly, one can safely add a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to a cup of tea or coffee, or have a little sweetened food without worrying about their risk of developing disease.
• Agave syrup, which is sweeter than other sugars and low on the Glycemic Index scale, is a good choice to include as one of the added sugars in your diet because you will use less sugar (and therefore fewer calories) and minimally raise blood sugar levels.
Just a teaspoon of agave: the healthy use of sweeteners in your diet
We all want to live healthier and longer lives. Diet and nutrition plays a key role, impacting our health and our ability to perform physically and mentally now and into the future. Food offers us not only sustenance, but also pleasure and enjoyment. Food is present in so many parts of our lives: at celebrations, business events, family events, religious and spiritual occasions, sports outings, the focus of our family meals, intimate dinners, and sometimes just the excuse to socialize.
Sweet foods make us feel good. Sugar allows for the elevation of serotonin in our brains, the "feel good" neurotransmitter that elevates mood, helps us focus, and in the evening, helps us relax and sleep.
Sugar is a source of energy for our muscles, brain and central nervous system. Without sugar our bodies will not function at peak capacity.
Too much sugar, however, is not good. In small amounts sugar energizes us, but in large doses, repeated throughout the day, day in and day out, sugar puts stress on the body. The extra calories can lead to weight gain and obesity, which in time can lead to chronic disease. In the short term, high sugar intakes can lead to a nutritionally deficient diet and a sense of being on an emotional roller coaster.
So be selective about your use of sugars and use them in moderation in your diet. Just like all foods, a variety will enhance the nutritional content of your diet and the flavor and tastes that you can enjoy. Since sugars come in different forms and have different flavors, they can be used most effectively in specific foods and beverages. For instance, agave syrup is liquid and less viscous than honey, making it easy to mix into cold liquids like iced tea and coffee, and is great to add to cold unsweetened cereals for a little sweet taste. Agave's mild flavor allows chefs and bakers to sweeten foods lightly, without overpowering the taste of the dish.
Pay attention to how much sugar is added to your diet every day. Read labels so that you know when sugar is added to manufactured foods. Keep the consumption of added sugars in your diet to no more than 10% of your total daily calorie intake so that you have plenty of room for nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, protein-rich foods, nuts, seeds and healthy oils.
Remember that nutrition is a science based on facts. We are making great advances in our understanding of the science of foods and nutrition. Beware of people with hidden agendas using fear tactics to influence your choices. Don't take their opinion at face value. What are their credentials? What conflicts of interest do they have? If they do not disclose conflicts, then assume that they are manipulating the truth.
Most of all enjoy food. Think about what you need to eat to promote whole health. Don't overindulge, but don't deprive yourself of the bounty of wonderful tastes, either. Use celebrations as occasions to enjoy your favorite foods and try new ones. A teaspoon or two of sugar easily fits into the diet of an active, healthy person. Agave syrup offers an organic low-glycemic choice for those looking for that option.
Resources for this article:
Charley H. Food Science, 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York, NY, 1982.
Figlewicz DP et al. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Physiology and Behavior 98:618-624, 2009
Johnson RK et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 2009
Tyler VE. The Honest Herbal, Third Edition. Pharmaceutical Products Press, New York, NY, 1993.
April 08, 2010 04:15 PM
There are only 3 categories to choose from when sweetening: sugar sweeteners from plant sources, artificial sweeteners, and Stevia.
Most people will not use artificial sweeteners and many will not use Stevia. This only leaves the sugar sweeteners category, and among these, agave has some advantages and is a good choice.
All sweeteners in this category also have some similar characteristics and all add to the overall total consumption that can have an impact on health. Moderation in the overall consumption of sweeteners in ones diet is the important point.
People may not realize that sugars are essential to our body and are an important part of one’s diet. The problem being that affinity for sweets leads to overconsumption.
What is overconsumption?
It is based on caloric intake and includes all caloric foods and is also related to the level of physical activity. The USDA recommends an average diet consumption of 2000 calories. As a portion of this overall consumption, added sweeteners should constitute approx 10% of that intake, 200-250 calories daily.
Agave has 20 calories per teaspoon. The caloric value is similar to other sweeteners, but less agave is required to reach the same sweetness level, so relatively fewer calories are consumed per serving.
Natural Sweeteners Vs. Artificial Sweeteners
April 30, 2009 10:16 AM
Artificial sweeteners are food additives intended to replace the sweetness of sugar without the calorie intake. There are also natural sweeteners that can replace sugar, so which should you choose? Natural sweeteners such as sugar, honey and grape juice are well known, although there are also the less well known, but much more effective, sucanat and Stevia.
Sucanat is dried unrefined cane sugar, and unlike refined sugar retains the molasses. Stevia, on the other hand, is a shrub, native to Paraguay, the leaf of which contains a non-sucrose sweetener, 300 times the sweetness of sugar, and which is not absorbed by the body. It is a sweetener pure and simple, with no proven health issues. It is also Japan's most popular sugar substitute.
Artificial sweeteners have been known for many years, the first and best known being benzoic sulfanide, known to you as saccharin. The health risks of saccharin have been the subject of debate for over 100 years and have yet to be resolved. Studies had shown it to cause cancer in rats, and it was placed on a list of known or suspected carcinogens.
It has been banned for use in the USA, but that was lifted by the FDA in 1991, and in 2000 saccharin has no longer required a health warning label. The issue appears to have been resolved by rats metabolizing saccharin in a way not possible in humans. However, many are still suspicious of it, and if you don't trust a food additive then do not voluntarily consume it.
The top two artificial sweeteners in the USA are sucralose and aspartame. Sucralose, discovered in the UK in 1976, is the less emotive of the two, and is chemically the chlorocarbon trichlorogalactosucrose, produced by chlorination of sucrose and 600 times as sweet. It should be stressed that a chlorocarbon is totally different to a chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is generally considered safe to use, although it is very slow rate of degradation in waste water has raised concerns that concentrations could increase with increasing popularity of the sweetener.
According to' Sweet Deception', the book states sucralose to be discovered during the search for an insecticide, and is produced when sugar is treated with acetic anhydride, hydrogen chloride and trityl chloride among others in the presence of toluene, MIBK and dimethyl formamide among other solvents. Although marketed as coming from a natural source, it is anything but natural.
Aspartame was developed by G.D. Searle, and its approval by the FDA has been a matter of concern for many years. Promoted by Donald Rumsfeld, then CEO of Searle, he "called in his markers" to have the substance approved, which was not one of the more glorious moments in America's history.
It is used in over 6,000 products, most household names, yet was based on "inconclusive and incompetent science" according to detractors. In 1981, on the day of his inauguration, Ronald Regan suspended the powers of the FDA on aspartame, and then a month later appointed a new FDA head, Arthur Hayes, who immediately licensed the substance. Donald Rumsfeld was on President Regan's team.
There is a strong body of evidence that aspartame is toxic to humans, although the official evidence has discredit such studies. Recent evidence that linked aspartame to cancer has been stated as irrelevant to humans. In spite of the concerns, the substance has been approved, not only in the USA but also by the European Union. This might call into question the relevance of studies to humans, but many still believe that commercial considerations are behind these decisions.
In fact, an extensive study carried out by the Italian European Ramazzini Foundation, showed that aspartame can cause a significant increase in cancers and leukemias in rats at well below the doses allowed by the EU or the US. This substance required further study by bodies with no vested interest in the outcome.
Those that believe so point to the Stevia situation. This natural sweetener is banned for use as a food additive in the EU, and cannot be sold as sweetener due to the FDA not recognizing it as such. It has also been banned in Hong Kong, even though it is the sweetener of choice in Japan, with no apparent side-effects becoming endemic in that country. The USA might not approve Stevia as a sweetener, but it is considering lifting its ban on cyclamate.
Cyclamate was banned by the FDA due to tests on rats indicating a possibly carcinogenic effect, but no more positive than those on aspartame. Cyclamate is permitted in Canada, where saccharin is not, and also in the UK, but not throughout the EU.
It is obvious, then, looking at the various claims and counter-claims, and the conflicting legislation between civilized countries, that the artificial sweetener industry is wrought with uncertainty. In the past, it is almost certain that commercial considerations have come before the health of the nation, and that does not engender confidence.
In fact, the only sane approach to take at this time would be to avoid artificial sweeteners altogether, and stay natural. That is not to claim that natural products are safe to eat - far from it! Many of the most virulent poisons are natural, but the well-used natural sweeteners appear to be safer at this time than any of those artificially manufactured.
There might be objections to this where diabetes is concerned, and Canada, while banning saccharin for normal use, still allows it for use by diabetics. This is the one of the two major bodies that promotes the use of artificial sweeteners: the diabetic lobby and the weight loss lobby.
It is difficult to question the obesity and weight problem that America has while at the same time arguing against the use of artificial sweeteners. However, don't forget that Stevia is widely used in Japan with no reported health problems, and Stevia is a natural sweetener that is permitted for use as a food additive, and that is not absorbed by the body.
However, there is also a recent 2005 study that has indicated that diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners might fool your body into believing that the sweet taste is promising energy, and when it doesn't materialize, you feel hungry and eat more. This has been supported by animal studies.
These have shown convincingly that the sensation of sweetness induces the production of insulin with resulting hypoglycemia because there is no actual increase in blood sugar. This induces increased food intake. This has been proved with rats, and also proved was the fact that the natural response of eating less at the next meal, after sugary food, was gradually diminished in animals fed non-calorific sweeteners.
The choice is yours, but it would seem advisable to stick to natural sweeteners for the time being, at least until the studies carried out are in concurrence as opposed to offering conflicting results depending upon who is doing the testing.
Natural Sweeteners: Which One Should You Take?
December 09, 2007 03:23 PM
There are many natural sweeteners to choose from if you want to avoid sugar, but don’t want any of the artificial sweeteners over which there are a few questions. You can choose from xylitol, luo han, Stevia and others, but before discussing these, let’s have a look at the problems with sugar, artificial sweeteners and the American sugar industry.
Sugar as most people know it originates either from sugar cane or sugar beet, though by far the biggest American industry is in the cane. There are many different types of sugar, though that obtainable from cane sugar is sucrose. Sucrose is a disaccharide and carbohydrate, stored by plants as a reserve energy source to be used when needed. Humans cannot directly use sucrose, and it is metabolized in the body to glucose which needs the hormone insulin to help convert it into energy.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and a lack of it, or the body’s failure to use it properly, is referred to as diabetes. There are two types of diabetes:
Type 1: A total lack or deficiency of insulin due to the pancreas producing insufficient quantities of insulin, or even none at all. This is often seen in young people and is generally cause by the immune system attacking the insulin-producing sells in the pancreas. The treatment for type 1 diabetes is to introduce insulin to the blood, normally by means of injections, plenty exercise and the adoption of a high carbohydrate low fat diet.
Type 2: This is strongly associated with obesity and weight, and is due either to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas (but not as deficient as for Type 1 diabetes) or an inability of the cells of the body to properly use insulin. Type 2 diabetes does not always require insulin injections, and can be treated by exercise, diet and weight control. However, there are occasions where insulin injections are also required. It tends to affect people older than those with Type 1 diabetes and 90% of cases are of this type.
Both types, however, are connected with an excess of glucose in the blood, into which most sugars are converted. A diet low in sucrose will go a long way towards helping people that suffer from either type of diabetes, and control of carbohydrate intake should include a reduction in the intake of sucrose in the form or beet or cane sugar. This accepted, then if you need a sweetener, a saccharide free natural sweetener would appear to be the logical choice.
You could opt for a synthetic sweetener, but they also have their problems. There is evidence that saccharin could be a carcinogen, and ‘aspartame’ disease is not a myth. The other artificial sweeteners also have sufficient questions that natural sweeteners would appear to be the obvious choice. But which? That is the question. Let’s have a look at some and check out their pros and cons.
The first is Stevia. This is a South American herb that is 400 times sweeter than sucrose and yet is very low in calories and does not affect diabetics. Used throughout most of the world, it has not been approved by the FDA as a food additive due mainly, it would appear, to lobbying by the American sugar corporations. This is understandable, since mass substitution of sugar by Stevia in processed foods is entirely possible, but would cost the sugar corporations billions.
However, it is available to purchase from health food stores, and does not appear to possess the problems that aspartame does. Unlike that sweetener, it can be used in baking and cooking, and is ideal for diabetics and people suffering from yeast infections such as candida. Such infections are aggravated by sugar in the colon, since yeasts love sugar, but they cannot survive on Stevia. The safety of Stevia has been proven through hundreds of years of popular use without any problems.
However, there are others. Luo Han Guo is a sweet Chinese fruit of which extracts are marketed as a natural sweetener. The plant it comes from is the Momordica grosvenori, a member of the cucumber squash family that grows in the mountainous areas of southern China. The sweeteners it contains are called mogrosides that are terpene glycosides, of which there are five different forms, the main one being termed mogroside-5.
The extract is available in the form of a powder consisting of around 80% mogrosides, and possesses around 250% of the sweetness of sucrose. This, too, can be used in cooking; because it is stable to heat and contains about 2% of the calories of ordinary sugar (one half teaspoon is equivalent to 25 teaspoons sugar). You can help 50 medicines go down for the same calories of getting one down using sugar!
Not only that but, like Stevia, there are no known side effects. It has been used for many centuries in Chinese medicine in the treatment of gastrointestinal conditions and conditions of the respiratory tract. Unlike natural sweeteners, luo han has been found to be useful in helping to manage diabetes since it does not cause insulin levels to rise and are not involved in energy production, so have no effect on your weight. The mogrosides from luo han are also under study as inhibitors of certain tumors, and might be able to inhibit skin tumor growth. Other possible medical advantages include helping to reduce atherosclerosis and heart disease, so would appear to be a useful sweetener to use in your coffee!
Finally, xylitol. It was during World War II that Finnish scientists rediscovered xylitol that had been previously used in Germany as a sweetener in the late nineteenth century. The sugar shortage resurrected this substance that can metabolize without the need for insulin.
Xylitol is a substance that is found in some fruits and vegetables and also in corn cobs. In fact, it is a product that appears in animal metabolism, and so is perfectly safe. It is known to help support the immune system, and to help reduce the effects of aging. It possesses antibacterial properties due to its 5-carbon ring and has been approved by the FDA. Xylitol can replace sugar in most of its domestic uses, including in baking and as a natural sweetener. It is also used extensively in chewing gum as a sweetener that does not cause dental cavities due the acid caused by bacterial attack on the sugar.
However, one use to which xylitol cannot be put, nor any of the other natural sweeteners mentioned here, is in fermentation. Try these for your wine or beer and you will be very disappointed at the low alcohol level of your brew! This is also, however, one of the benefits of xylitol: it cannot feed the yeasts that cause candida or any other yeast infection. Although it is a saccharide, it is the same as the others in this respect.
So, which of these natural sweeteners should you take? The choice is yours since each has its own benefits with very few disadvantages and certainly no recorded side effects that we know of. Use Stevia for superior sweetening effects, and make up a concentrated solution of it in water for your cooking. Use luo han if you have gastrointestinal problems, and use xylitol if you want fresher breath and to protect your teeth.
Use none for brewing or winemaking, and use any of them if you are diabetic. The choice is yours. These sweeteners are available at your local or internet health food store.
Stevia: Sweeten Your Life With Out The Weight Gain
November 13, 2007 02:55 PM
It is possible to sweeten your life with Stevia, and without any weight gain, since it as exceptionally sweet herb. In fact it is member of the sunflower family, and is native to parts of South and Central America where it has been used as a sweetener since time immemorial. Also known as sugarleaf, it is a commercial crop, and is available as a dietary supplement.
Extracts of Stevia have been found to be up to 300 times as sweet as cane sugar, although does not metabolize in the body to glucose. In fact it is thought to enhance the glucose tolerance of some diabetics, and can be used by people suffering from that condition as a natural sweetener, thus dispensing with the need for artificial sweeteners.
It is also useful for those on diets, especially carbohydrate controlled diets, and any other sweet-toothed person wanting to lose weight and still enjoy their favorite drink or desert. Many recipes have been published using Stevia for the preparation of delicious sweets. So why is Stevia so sweet and what other uses does it have?
Basically the sweet taste comes from glycosides, which are molecules in which a sugar is bonded to another molecule. The two main glycosides in Stevia are called stevioside and rebaudioside. These are formed through glucose combined with the diterpene steviol in different ways, though some minor glycosides also contain rhamnose. Although they contain glucose, the glucose is not released into the bloodstream during digestion and the subsequent biochemistry.
Japan began the cultivation of the plant in the 1970s rather than produce artificial sweeteners that were suspected carcinogens (saccharin and cyclamate). Japan is now the world’s biggest consumer of Stevia, even being used in the Japanese Coca Cola plants. Around 40% of Japan’s total sweetener volume is Stevia. However, apart from its use as a natural alternative sweetener to sugar, Stevia has specific properties, already alluded to, that renders it of particular attraction to certain groups of people, and we shall now take a closer look at these.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential to regulate the glucose content of the blood. It stimulates the cells of the body to take in blood glucose and convert it to glycogen that can be used for energy. Without insulin the blood sugars would increase in concentration without regulation leading to very serious health issues that would eventually result in death.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either does not produce sufficient insulin, does not use the insulin it produces properly, or produces no insulin at all. Hence, a sweetener that did not exacerbate this situation by being eventually metabolized to glucose, as most sugars are in the body, would be of great benefit to diabetics. This is exactly what Stevia is. It is a very powerful sweetener, 250 – 300 times sweeter to the taste-buds than sucrose, normal table sugar, and it does not metabolize to glucose. It is heaven-sent sweetener for diabetics that have a sweet tooth.
It is very safe for them and has been consumed for centuries without any side effects. In fact, studies have indicated that Stevia might even regulate the pancreas and help to stabilize the levels of blood glucose in the body, rendering it an effective and safe supplement for those suffering from hypoglycemia (excess blood sugar), diabetes and candidiasis, a yeast infection that thrives on sugar.
Apart from that, Stevia is also popular with those who are on a calorie controlled diet – or any other diet for that matter, since an excessive sugar intake invariably leads eventually to weight increase. The 21st century western diet is drowning in sugar, with up to 10 spoonfuls of sugar in every small bottle of cola. There is sugar in cookies, hot dogs, bread, soy sauce, ketchup, cans of beans and peas, and even sugar in cigarettes, though that is the least of the health worries there!
For the first time in history, there are now more overweight and obese people in the world than hungry people, yet the sugar corporations claim that there is no scientific proof that sugar leads to weight increase. Worldwide, diabetes kills 6 people every minute, and obesity caused by the consumption of too much sugar leads to Type II diabetes. It had been shown that fructose is a major player in that corn syrup (fructose) is contained in many soft drinks and foods.
One of the major problems with refined sugars is that they contain nothing but pure carbohydrate. All the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients have been removed, so that when they are consumed, your body has to provide these nutrients needed to metabolize the sugar to glucose and then to energy. Humans cannot live on sugar alone, and in fact you are better drinking water than corn syrup or cane sugar solutions since at least water does not make demands on your existing nutrient store.
It was noted in 1929 by Sir Frederick Banting, one of those scientists credited with the discovery of insulin, that there was a significantly large proportion of diabetes among the sugar plantation owners that ate large quantities of refined sugar, whereas there was none detected in the cane harvesters who were able to chew on only the raw cane. The raw cane contains the minerals and vitamins needed to metabolize the sucrose.
Stevia is a potential answer to this problem, and it is such an obvious one that there are a lot of politics regarding its use. The big USA sugar corporations will undoubtedly be opposed to it, and the FDA has refused to allow its use as a food additive, only as a dietary supplement, yet its use in Japan has been very successful. It is also used throughout East Asia, including China, Korea and Taiwan, and also in South America, Israel and some areas of the Caribbean. It is available as a green powder in its crude form, and also brownish syrup redolent of licorice, but also as a more refined white powder that is likely best used as weak solution due to its sweetness.
It is totally free of calories; this may come as a surprise to many since it tastes so sweet. It is an excellent sweetener for children’s drinks since it does not cause cavities: unlike sugar it is not degraded by bacteria to produce the corrosive acid that eats into the enamel. It does not metabolize to a burst of energy that is practically addictive, since that generally then leads to tiredness and the need for more sugar to make up for it.
Stevia does not cause diabetes in any form, is not a food for yeast and it is beneficial to the pancreas. In short, it is a completely safe food supplement that has been used for centuries without ill effect, and if you want to prevent yourself from adding weight and protect against the possibility of Type II diabetes in particular, then Stevia should be your sweetener of choice.
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.
In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.
In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.
Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.
Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Q. What exactly is blood pressure?
A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”
Q. What is considered high blood pressure?
A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.
However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.
Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.
To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.
For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.
Q. What courses high blood pressure?
A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:
Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.
Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.
Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.
Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.
Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.
Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.
Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.
As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.
Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.
Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?
A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?
A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.
However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, Stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.
Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Let’s take a look at each:
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in
The leaf of Stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.
In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, Stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.
And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, Stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!
Despite its role as a sweetener, Stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of Stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.
A clinical study showed that Stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in Stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that Stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that Stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.
The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.
The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.
And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.
Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.
Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.
Olive leaf extract:
Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.
But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.
Dandelion leaf extract:
Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.
Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient
They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.
The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.
If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.
And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.
So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.
Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?
A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.
Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:
-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.
-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.
-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.
-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.
-Sit, don’t stand.
-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.
High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.
In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.
The Fizzy Comparison (Airborne Vs Wellness Fizz)
February 26, 2007 03:02 PM
The Fizzy Comparison
(Lonicera, Forsythia, Schizonepeta, Ginger, Chinese Vitex, IsatisRoot, Echinacea)
(L-Glutamine, L-Lysine HCL)
Also Contains: Sorbitol, Mineral Oil, Sucraloseand Acesulfamepotassium (artificial sweetener)
Wellness Fizz Ingredients
Vitamin A (as beta carotene) 5000 I.U.
(Forsythia, Japanese honeysuckle, Platycodon, Chinese Mint, Lophatherum, Chinese Licorice, Schizonepeta, Soy bean, Burdock, Phragmites)
Also Contains:Stevialeaf, natural flavors, honey
Stevia Conversion Chart
June 15, 2006 11:24 AM
Use this chart to measure Stevia powder and liquid out for cooking. Each measurement is based on how much Stevia one needs compared to its equivalent of sugar used in a receipt. You might have to adjust the dosage based on personal taste.
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July 15, 2005 12:56 PM
If you fall into the category of a consumer who is searching for an excellent natural sweetening agent which is safe, powerful, and calorie-free, Stevia extracts should be first on your list. Ironically, while enormous quantities of aspartame and saccharine continue to be consumed in this country, a sweetening substance that poses less risk and is more effective continues to be rigorously regulated. Fortunately, restrictions are easing and it is now possible to purchase Stevia as a supplement. Both xylitol and saccharine have been linked to tumor development and aspartame continues to prompt controversy in its reported wide range of negative side effects, yet all of these products enjoy unrestricted marketability. It is rather ironic that chemical compounds that have the capability of wreaking all kinds of havoc with human physiology have the advantage over natural substances that are certainly much more benign. It’s hard to imagine that a safe, natural herb which offers concentrated sweetening power and may also actually normalize blood sugar and pre vent tooth decay remains relatively unknown.
Stevia will inevitably emerge as one of the best non-caloric sweeteners available. It’s just a matter of time before American consumers discover its extraordinary attributes. In the meantime, learning to use Stevia dietary supplements can provide us with the ability to “sweeten” our lives without compromising our health. (NOTE: Linda Bonvie, Bill Bonvie and Donna Gates have written a comprehensive and engaging book on Stevia called The Stevia Story. They have done extensive research and have put together a well written treatise on the subject. In addition, there are over fourteen current clinical studies on Stevia listed in Medline which discuss various biochemical attributes of the herb’s glycosides.)
PRIMARY APPLICATIONS OF STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:55 PM
PRIMARY APPLICATIONS OF Stevia
July 15, 2005 12:54 PM
The FDA has not given Stevia the “generally recognized as safe” label; however, the herbal compound has been used for hundreds of years without any recorded side effects. Japanese studies found that the sweetener consistently yielded a nontoxic status, even after extensive toxicity trials. The Japanese have used Stevia for years with the approval of Japanese control agencies, and in Paraguay the herb has enjoyed hundreds of years of consumption with no reports of detrimental side effects. No anomalies have ever been observed in cell, enzyme, chromosomal or other significant physiological parameters during these toxicity tests. Stevia has not been associated with any form of cancer or birth defects. Stevia consumption in Japan was approximated at 170 metric tons in 1987 with no cases of documented side effects (Bonvie, 38).
Scientific Toxicology Studies
Comprehensive and tedious clinical studies in Japan have more than established the fact that Stevia can be taken safely. One such study used over 450 rats who were fed Stevia for up to two years with doses many times greater than human consumption.
No changes were observed in organ weights, blood biochemistry, growth, appearance, or cellular function (Bonvie, 38). The Japanese have found no indication that Stevia affects fertility or unborn children and have never linked it to cancer or other cellular mutations. (NOTE: Diabetics and people with other medical conditions should always consult their physician before using this or any other dietary supplement and should never alter or stop their medication unless advised to by their physician.)
HOW TO USE STEVIA?
July 15, 2005 12:52 PM
HOW TO USE Stevia?
The most frequent mistake people make with powdered Stevia is measuring out too much. Very tiny amounts of the powder can greatly sweeten. Liquid extracts can be measured out in drops until the right amount of sweetening is achieved. Often just one half to one teaspoon of the liquid achieves the same effect as one cup of white sugar. If a powdered form is used, mixing it with hot water is recommended in order to create a more workable concentrate. Hot liquids seem to release the sweetening power of Stevia more rapidly. This concentrate should be refrigerated and measured out with an eye dropper. Baked goods sweetened with Stevia do not brown as much, and using Stevia in recipes with distinct flavors like lemon, cinnamon, carob, etc. achieves better results than adding it to blander food items. Baking with Stevia takes some getting used to. Stevia can also be added to other sweeteners like honey to lower their caloric content. People who cook with Stevia often add it to honey or molasses to potentiate sweetening power in smaller quantities.
Stevia works particularly well on dairy products, fruit dishes, beverages and fresh desserts. It can be combined with other sugars such as molasses, honey, maple syrup, fructose etc. in order to minimize their use. (NOTE: Stevia does not work well with yeast breads which require caloric forms of sugar to rise.
FORMS OF STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:51 PM
FORMS OF Stevia
Stevia has traditionally been used in either a powder or raw liquid form. Powdered forms can either be crude green or fine and white. Powders come in bulk or in tea bags. White Stevia powder is the most common type and usually has more sweetening power than other forms. Countries like Japan use a filler substance along with Stevia powder in order to give it more substance and make it easier to package. Powdered forms can be somewhat difficult to measure, although they are considered quite practical. Liquid formulas which are often brown in color frequently add other compounds to counteract bitterness. Alcohol based extracts are also available, as well as new concentrated liquid varieties. White Stevia powder is the most popular form of the sweetener, although the leaf, ground or whole, can be purchased loose or in tea bags. Fresh leaves can be chewed but they are not practical for sweetening other foods. Dried leaves can used used for teas or in tea blends. Stevia tablets are also available for those who want to use the herb as a therapeutic rather than sweetening agent. Ground Stevia can be sprinkled over cereals, salads, and other ready-toserve foods. (NOTE: Stevia powders can vary in their sweetening strength, which is determined to a great degree by the refining process and the plant quality.) If you choose to buy Stevia leaves, they can widely vary in their quality and content depending on their cultivation and environmental conditions. The stevioside and rebaudidoside contents can also differ and bacterial or fungal contamination can be a problem. For this reason purchase Stevia products only from reliable sources. Buying Stevia in white powder or liquid extract forms from reliable distributors is also recommended.
Stevioside is the most powe rful form of the Stevia glycoside and is usually available in either a white powder or liquid extract. It is the isolated glycoside form of Stevia and is used specifically for its sweetening ability and not for any therapeutic applications. Japanese consumers use stevioside extensively.
STEVIA: THE IDEAL SWEETENER?
July 15, 2005 12:51 PM
Stevia: THE IDEAL SWEETENER?
For anyone who suffers from diabetes, hypoglycemia, high blood pressure, obesity or chronic yeast infections, Stevia is the ideal sweetener. It has all the benefits of artificial sweeteners and none of the drawbacks. Stevia can be added to a variety of foods to make them sweet without adding calories or impacting the pancreas or adrenal glands. It can help to satisfy carbohydrate cravings without interfering with blood sugar levels or adding extra pounds.
Using Stevia to create treats for children is also another excellent way to avoid weight gain, tooth decay and possible hyperactivity. While it may take some getting used to initially, Stevia products are becoming easier to measure and better tasting.
Stevia’s Unique Taste Sensation
When the whole leaf extract or powdered forms of Stevia make contact with the tongue, the resulting taste can be described as a sweet flavor, with a slight licorice-like and transient bitter flavor. If Stevia is used correctly with hot water or some other liquid, both those flavors will disappear. At this writing, researchers are working on a new extraction process that will preserve Stevia’s sweetening potency while minimizing any aftertaste associated with the herb.
Additional Therapeutic Benefits
Consider the following quote: Stevia . . . is not only non-toxic, but has several traditional medicinal uses. The Indian tribes of South America have used it as a digestive aid, and have also applied it topically for years to heal wounds. Recent clinical studies have shown it can increase glucose tolerance and decrease blood sugar levels. Of the two sweeteners (aspartame and Stevia), Stevia wins hands down for safety. (Whitaker) Stevia has a long history of medicinal use in Paraguay and Brazil and while many of the therapeutic applications of Stevia are anecdotal, they must be considered in that they have spanned generations. Experts who work with indigenous cultures frequently find that traditional applications of folk medicine can be verified with scientific data.
Stevia and Blood Sugar Levels
Clinical tests combined with consumer results indicate that Stevia can actually help to normalize blood sugar. For this reason, the herb and its extracts are recommended in some countries as an actual medicine for people suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemia. Recent studies have indicated that Stevia can increase glucose tolerance while decreasing blood sugar levels. Paraguayan natives have traditionally used Stevia tea to regulate blood sugar. Stevia decoctions for diabetes are common and are usually prepared by boiling or steeping the leaves in water (Bonvie, 53). While scientific studies are certainly warranted, it is thought that disturbed blood sugar levels respond to Stevia therapy while normal levels remain unaffected.
Stevia and Weight Loss
Stevia is an ideal dietary supplement for anyone who wants to lose or maintain their weight. Because it contains no calories, it can satisfy cravings for sweets without adding extra pounds. It is also thought that using Stevia may decrease the desire to eat fatty foods as well. Appetite control is another factor affected by Stevia supplementation. Some people have found that their hunger decreases if they take Stevia drops 15 to 20 minutes before a meal. While scientific studies are lacking in this area, it is presumed that the glycosides in Stevia help to reset the appestat mechanism found in the brain, thereby promoting a feeling of satiety or satisfaction. Much of our nation’s obesity epidemic is due to the over consumption of sugar-containing foods. Unfortunately, most sugary snacks are also loaded with fat, compounding the problem. When a sugar craving hits, anything will usually do. Doughnuts, candy bars, pies, pastries and cookies are considered high calorie, fattening foods. Using Stevia to sweeten snacks and beverages can result making weight loss and management much easier.
High Blood Pressure
It is thought that taking Stevia can result in lowering elevated blood pressure levels while not affecting normal levels. This particular application has not been researched, but its potential as a treatment for hypertension must be considered when assessing the value of herbal medicines for disease.
Stevia is thought to be able to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and other infectious organisms. Some people even claim that using Stevia helps to prevent the onset of colds and flu. Tests have supported the antimicrobial properties of Stevia against streptococcus mutans (Bonvie, 54). The fact that Stevia has the ability to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria helps to explain its traditional use in treating wounds, sores and gum disease. It may also explain while the herb is advocated for anyone who is susceptible to yeast infections or reoccurring strep infections, two conditions that seem to be aggravated by white sugar consumption.
Stevia can be used as an oral tonic to prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. Stevia extracts are sometimes added to toothpaste or mouthwashes to initiate this effect. Stevia is used in some Brazilian dental products with the assumption that the herb can actually help to prevent tooth decay and retard plaque deposits (Bonvie, 53). Stevia offers the perfect sweetener for oral products like toothpastes and mouthwash, enabling them to be more palatable without any of the drawbacks of other sweeteners.
Brazilians have used Stevia to boost and facilitate better digestion (Bonvie, 53). Again, while this therapeutic application remains unresearched, the fact that Stevia has a long history of use as a gastrointestinal tonic must be acknowledged. Plant glycosides can exert numerous therapeutic actions in the human body.
Stevia and Skin Care
Whole leaf Stevia or its by-products have been used to soften and tone the skin and to ease wrinkles and lines. Facial masks can be made by adding liquid to the powder, and liquid elixirs can be used as facial toners to help tighten the skin. Stevia concentrate in the form of drops has also been used directly on sores or blemishes to promote healing. For this reason, some advocates of Stevia use it on other skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, or minor cuts or wounds. Stevia tea bags can be placed over the eyes to ease fatigue and to tone the skin. Stevia skin care products are available in clay bases, masks, and water-based creams. Liquid extracts can be directly applied to the skin.
THE FDA AND STEVIA
July 15, 2005 12:45 PM
THE FDA AND Stevia
While Stevia in no way qualifies as an “artificial sweetener,” it has been subject to rigorous inquiry and unprecedented restraints. In 1986, FDA officials began to investigate herb companies selling Stevia and suddenly banned its sale, calling it “an unapproved food additive.” Then in 1991, the FDA unexpectedly announced that all importation of Stevia leaves and products must cease, with the exception of certain liquid extracts which are designed for skin care only. They also issued formal warnings to companies and claimed that the herb was illegal. The FDA was unusually aggressive in its goal to eliminate Stevia from American markets, utilizing search and seizure tactics, embargoes and import bans. Speculation as to why the FDA intervened in Stevia commerce points to the politics of influential sugar marketers and the artificial-sweetener industry.
During the same year, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) began their defense of the herb with the goal of convincing the FDA that Stevia is completely safe. They gathered documented literature and research on both Stevia and other non-caloric sweeteners. The overwhelming consensus was that Stevia is indeed safe, and the AHPA petitioned the FDA to exempt Stevia from food additive regulations.
Food Additive vs. Dietary Supplement
FDA regulations of Stevia were based on its designation as a food additive. The claim was that scientific study on Stevia as a food additive was inadequate. Ironically, extensive Japanese testing of Stevia was disregarde—regardless of the fact that this body of documented evidence more than sufficiently supported its safe use. Many experts who have studied Stevia and its FDA requirements have commented that the FDA wants far more proof that Stevia is safe than they would demand from chemical additives like aspartame.
Stevia advocates point out that Stevia not a food additive, but rather, a food. Apparently, foods that have traditionally been consumed do not require laborious and expensive testing for safety under FDA regulations. The fact that so many toxicology studies have been conducted in Japan, coupled with the herb’s long history of safe consumption, makes a strong case for Stevia being accepted by the FDA as a safe dietary substance. Still, it was denied the official GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status and designated a food additive by the FDA.
The FDA Reverses Its Position
As a result of the Health Freedom Act passed in September of 1995, Stevia leaves, Stevia extract, and stevioside can be imported to the United States. However, ingredient labels of products that contain Stevia must qualify as dietary supplements.
Stevia had been redesignated as a dietary supplement by the FDA and consequently can be legally sold in the United States solely as a supplement. Its addition to teas or other packaged foods is still banned. Moreover, Stevia cannot, under any circumstances, be marketed as a sweetener or flavor enhancer.
SUGAR, SUGAR EVERYWHERE
Ralph Nader once said, “If God meant us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.” The average American eats over 125 pounds of white sugar every year. It has been estimated that sugar makes up 25 percent of our daily caloric intake, with soda pop supplying the majority of our sugar ingestion. Desserts and sugar-laden snacks continually tempt us, resulting in an escalated taste for sweets.
The amount of sugar we consume has a profound effect on both our physical and mental well-being. Sugar is a powerful substance which can have drug-like effects and is considered addictive by some nutritional experts. William Duffy, the author of Sugar Blues, states,“The difference between sugar addiction and narcotic addition is largely one of degree.” In excess, sugar can be toxic. Sufficient amounts of B-vitamins are actually required to metabolize and detoxify sugar in our bodies. When the body experiences a sugar overload, the assimilation of nutrients from other foods can be inhibited. In other words, our bodies were not designed to cope with the enormous quantity of sugar we routinely ingest. Eating too much sugar can generate a type of nutrient malnutrition, not to mention its contribution to obesity, diabetes, hyperactivity, and other disorders. Sugar can also predispose the body to yeast infections, aggravate some types of arthritis and asthma, cause tooth decay, and may even elevate our blood lipid levels. Eating excess sugar can also contribute to amino acid depletion, which has been linked with depression and other mood disorders. To make matters worse, eating too much sugar can actually compromise our immune systems by lowering white blood cells counts. This makes us more susceptible to colds and other infections. Sugar consumption has also been linked to PMS, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease.
Why Do We Crave Sweets?
Considering the sobering effects of a high sugar diet, why do we eat so much of it? One reason is that sugar gives us a quick infusion of energy. It can also help to raise the level of certain brain neurotransmitters which may temporarily elevate our mood. Sugar cravings stem from a complex mix of physiological and psychological components. Even the most brilliant scientists fail to totally comprehend this intriguing chemical dependence which, for the most part, hurts our overall health.
What we do know is that when sugary foods are consumed, the pancreas must secrete insulin, a hormone which serves to bring blood glucose levels down. This allows sugar to enter our cells where it is either burned off or stored. The constant ups and downs of blood sugar levels can become exaggerated in some individuals and cause all kinds of health problems. Have you ever been around someone who is prone to sudden mood swings characterized by violent verbal attacks or irritability? This type of volatile behavior is typical of people who crave sugar, eat it and then experience sugar highs and lows. Erratic mood swings can be linked to dramatic drops in blood sugar levels.
Hypoglycemia: Sign of Hard Times?
It is rather disturbing to learn that statisticians estimate that almost 20 million Americans suffer from some type of faulty glucose tolerance. Hypoglycemia and diabetes are the two major forms of blood sugar disorders and can deservedly be called modern day plagues. Hypoglycemia is an actual disorder that can cause of number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. More and more studies are pointing to physiological as well as psychological disorders linked to disturbed glucose utilization in brain cells. One study, in particular, showed that depressed people have overall lower glucose metabolism (Slagle, 22). Hypoglycemia occurs when too much insulin is secreted in order to compensate for high blood sugar levels resulting from eating sugary or high carbohydrate foods. To deal with the excess insulin, glucagon, cortisol and adrenalin pour into the system to help raise the blood sugar back to acceptable levels. This can inadvertently result in the secretion of more insulin and the vicious cycle repeats itself.
A hypoglycemic reaction can cause mood swings, fatigue, drowsiness, tremors, headaches, dizziness, panic attacks, indigestion, cold sweats, and fainting. When blood sugar drops too low, an overwhelming craving for carbohydrates results. To satisfy the craving and compensate for feelings of weakness and abnormal hunger, sugary foods are once again consumed in excess.
Unfortunately, great numbers of people suffer from hypoglycemic symptoms. Ironically, a simple switch from a high sugar diet to one that emphasizes protein can help. In addition, because sugar cravings are so hard to control, a product like Stevia can be of enormous value in preventing roller coaster blood sugar levels. One Colorado internist states: People who are chronically stressed and are on a roller coaster of blood sugar going up and down are especially prone to dips in energy at certain times of day. Their adrenals are not functioning optimally, and when they hit a real low point, they want sugar. It usually happens in mid-afternoon when the adrenal glands are at their lowest level of functioning. (Janiger, 71) Our craving for sweets in not intrinsically a bad thing; however, what we reach for to satisfy that craving can dramatically determine how we feel. Stevia can help to satisfy the urge to eat something sweet without changing blood sugar levels in a perfectly natural way and without any of the risks associated with other non-nutritive sweeteners.
Diabetes: Pancreas Overload?
Diabetes is a disease typical of western cultures and is evidence of the influence that diet has on the human body. Perhaps more than any other disease, diabetes shuts down the mechanisms which permit proper carbohydrate/sugar metabolism. When the pancreas no longer secretes adequate amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, that sugar continues to circulate in the bloodstream causing all kinds of health problems. The type of diabetes that comes in later years is almost always related to obesity and involves the inability of sugar to enter cells, even when insulin is present. Diabetes can cause blindness, atherosclerosis, kidney disease, the loss of nerve function, recurring infections, and the inability to heal. Heredity plays a profound role in the incidence of diabetes, but a diet high in white sugar and empty carbohydrates unquestionably contributes to the onset of the disease. It is estimated that over five million Americans are currently undergoing medical treatment for diabetes and studies suggest that there are at least four million Americans with undetected forms of adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is the third cause of death in this country and reflects the devastating results of a diet low in fiber and high in simple carbohydrates. Most of us start our children on diets filled with candy, pop, chips, cookies, doughnuts, sugary juice, etc. Studies have found that diabetes is a disease which usually plagues societies that eat highly refined foods. Because we live in a culture that worships sweets, the availability of a safe sweetener like Stevia, which does not cause stress on the pancreas is extremely valuable. If sugar consumption was cut in half by using Stevia to
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
July 15, 2005 12:26 PM
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS: CAUSE FOR WORRY
Among some of the most troubling food additives that we routinely ingest are artificial sweeteners, also referred to as non-nutritive sweeteners. Having received the FDA stamp of approval, they are liberally ingested with little thought to what their actual health risks may be. Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book Natural Health Natural Medicine, writes: More worrisome than preservatives are artificial sweeteners. Saccharin, a known carcinogen, should be avoided. Cyclamates, banned some years ago for suspected carcinogenicity, are not being reconsidered for use in food. They taste better than saccharin but cause diarrhea in some people. Avoid them too. Recently, aspartame (NutraSweet) has become enormously popular. The manufacturer portrays it as a gift from nature, but, although the two component amino acids occur in nature, aspartame itself does not. Like all artificial sweeteners, aspartame has a peculiar taste. Because I have seen a number of patients, mostly women, who report headaches from this substance, I don’t regard it as free from toxicity. Women also find that aspartame aggravates PMS (premenstrual syndrome). I think you are better off using moderate amounts of sugar than consuming any artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. A natural sweetener that may cause some people problems is sorbitol, originally derived from the berries of the mountain ash tree. Sorbitol tastes sweet but is not easily absorbed form the gastrointestinal tract and is not easily metabolized. It is a common ingredient of sugarless chewing gums and candies. If you eat a lot of it, you will probably get diarrhea. People with irritable bowel syndrome or ulcerative colitis should avoid sorbitol.
Ann Louise Gittleman, in her book, Super Nutrition for Women, writes: In 1977, a Canadian study indicated that when pregnant rats were fed large doses of saccharin, their male offspring developed bladder cancer. As a result, the Canadians banned saccharin and the U.S. Congress ordered warning labels on all saccharin products like Sweet ‘N Low. The national Academy of Sciences in 1978 evaluated the evidence and concluded that saccharin was primarily a promoter of other cancer-causing agents, a cocarcinogen. In the meantime, G.D. Searle developed aspartame, a combination of two amino acids and methanol (wood alcohol) . . . Few long-term studies of the effects of aspartame have been done. However, reports to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control indicate that, as more people consume the substitute in large quantities, health may be affected. In some circumstances, individuals may be getting high levels of methanol; for example, it is estimated that on a hot day after exercise, an individual drinking three 12-ounce cans of diet cola could easily consume as much as eight times the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit for methanol consumption. The most common complaints are dizziness, disorientation, tunnel vision, ear buzzing, loss of equilibrium, numbing of hands and feet, inflammation of the pancreas, high blood pressure, eye hemorrhages and seizures. Artificial sweeteners can stimulate hunger or cause additive allergies, just as sugar does. In other words, we get the disadvantages of sugar, along with the proven or suspected disadvantages of artificial sweeteners. While thousands of Americans continue to consume aspartame in unprecedented amounts, controversy surrounding its safety lingers. Dr. Richard Wurtman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has reported that abnormal concentrations of neurotransmitters developed when he fed laboratory animals large doses of aspartame. He believes that the phenylalanine content of the sweetener actually manipulates and alters certain brain chemicals which could initiate behavioral changes and even seizures. He also purports that while small quantities of aspartame may be safe, the cumulative effects of the compound—particularly if consumed with high carbohydrate, low protein snacks—could be serious (Wurtman I, 799-801, Wurtman II, 429-430, Wurtman III, 1060).
In spite of serious concerns, saccharine and aspartame packets sit in restaurant sugar bowls all over our country, while in Japan, natural Stevia powder enjoys popularity as one of the best and safest non-caloric sweeteners available.
STEVIA (Stevia rebaudiana)
July 15, 2005 12:24 PM
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana)
SYNONYMS: sweet herb, honey leaf
PARTS USED: leaves
Stevia is a small perennial shrub with green leaves that belongs to the aster (Asteraceae) or chrysanthemum family of plants. They grow primarily in the Amambay mountain range of Paraguay but over 200 various species of Stevia have been identified around the globe. Stevia rebaudiana is the only species at present which possesses an inordinate ability to sweeten. Its common form is known as stevioside, a fine white powder extracted from the leaves of the plant. Phytochemistry STEVIOSIDE/REBAUDIDOSIDE COMPOUND DUO: The leaves of the Stevia shrub contain specific glycosides which produce a sweet taste but have no caloric value. Stevioside is the primary glycoside involved in this effect. Dulcoside and rebaudioside are also major glycosides contained in the herb. Glycosides are organic compounds which contain a sugar component (glycone) and a non-sugar component (aglycone). The glycone constituent may be comprised of rhamnose, fructose, glucose, xylose, arabinose etc. The other portion may be any kind of chemical compound such as a sterol, tannin, carotenoid, etc.
Stevia leaves also contain protein, fibers, carbohydrates, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, sodium , magnesium, rutin (flavonoid), iron, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A. Human physiology cannot metabolize the sweet glycosides contained in Stevia leaves, therefore they are eliminated from the body with no caloric absorption. Stevia, unlike aspartame, can be used in baking because its sweet glycosides do not break down when heated. Definition Stevia is an herb with incredible sweetening power. Its ability to sweeten is rated between 70 to 400 times that of white sugar. Typically, it has a mild licorice-like taste and is completely natural in its biochemical profile. What makes Stevia so intriguing is that unlike other natural sweetening agents, its is completely calorie-free, never initiates a rise in blood sugar, and does not provide “food” for microorganisms like bacterias and yeasts.
Stevia may well be the most remarkable sweetener in the world and yet its recognition in this country remains relatively low. Consider the extraordinary attributes of the Stevia plant and its extracts:
A Brief History
Stevia is a plant indigenous to mountainous regions of Brazil and Paraguay. For centuries, this herbal sweetener has been used by native cultures to counteract the bitter taste of various plant-based medicines and beverages. The Guarani Indians of Paraguay have used this potent sweetener in their green tea for generations. The name they designated for Stevia leaves was “sweet herb.” In addition, these native peoples have historically used Stevia as a digestive aid and a topical dressing for wounds and other skin disorders.
In the sixteenth century, Europeans became aware of the herbal sweetener through the Spanish Conquistadors. In the late 1880s, Moises S. Bertoni, director of the College of Agriculture in Asunción, Paraguay, became extremely intrigued by the Stevia plant. Its reputation was that it was so sweet that even just a small leaf part could sweeten an entire container of mate tea. Be rtoni wanted to find out if this was true. After several years of studying the plant, he wrote about it in a local botanical publication. In 1905, Bertoni published an important article about the incredible sweetening power of the Stevia plant, which he considered superior to sugar and extremely marketable. Other articles written by Bertoni note that Stevia is unquestionably superior to saccharine because it is nontoxic and has significant therapeutic benefits. It sweetens with unprecedented potency and can be used in its natural state.
The first Stevia crop was harvested in 1908 and subsequently, Stevia plantations sprang up in South America. In 1921, the American Trade Commissioner to Paraguay, George S. Brady, wrote that although the herb is an extraordinary sweetener with remarkable properties, little had been done to commercially cultivate the plant. He suggested that Stevia may be an ideal sugar product for diabetics and strongly advised that American companies pursue its importation.
During the decade of the 1970s, the Japanese developed a new method which could better refine the glycosides contained in the Stevia leaf. The result was a compound called ste-vioside which is from 200 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. The Japanese approach artificial sweeteners with great caution and they believe stevioside to be safer and more effect i've than other non-nutritive, chemical products. Stevioside is considered superior in its ability to sweeten; however, it does not exhibit some of the other therapeutic actions found in whole Stevia leaves .
Stevia enjoyed substantial popularity during the 1980s as a natural sweetener and was found in a variety of consumer products. In 1986, however, the FDA abruptly seized Stevia inventories and in 1991 claimed it was not suitable as a food additive. Advocates for Stevia claim this happened because the herb is a natural, powerful, inexpensive and non-patentable sweetener, and therefore poses a threat to pharmaceutical sweeteners and sugar-alcohol sweeteners like mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol. At this writing, Stevia has received approval by the FDA to be sold only as a dietary supplement, not as a sweetening agent.
Currently, Stevia is commercially grown in Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Central America, Israel, China, Thailand, and the United States. It is considered an important natural sweetener in both Japan and Korea, and has been safely used in these countries for decades. Extracts of Stevia and related products make up a considerable portion of the Japanese market for natural sweetening agents. They use Stevia in sweet sauces, pickles, beverages, etc., making Japan one of the largest single consumers of Stevia in the world. Today, because the demand for Stevia is escalating, several Paraguayan organizations are looking to expand the commercial cultivation of the plant. Currently, Canadian researchers and chemists are working to provide even better Stevia supplements and may even end up teeming with governmental agencies to raise Stevia crops as economic replacements for tobacco leaves (Bonvie, 64). Stevia has not been officially approved by Canadian agencies, but it is still available for purchase in tea form.
July 15, 2005 12:15 PM
While aspartame and saccharine continue to dominate the non-caloric sweetener scene, a remarkable herb called Stevia remains relatively obscure. Why would a substance that is much sweeter than sugar, can be used in baking (unlike aspartame), is diabetic-safe and calorie- free remain unknown and unused? Unfortunately, the FDA has managed to unfairly keep Stevia out of the American market due to a long history of unwarranted regulation. Recently, however, due to the passage of specific legislation, limited purchase of Stevia products is now available.
Anyone who suffers from blood sugar disorders or who needs to limit their caloric intake should know about the remarkable properties of Stevia. Stevia offers an ideal alternative to other sugars or sugar substitutes. Moreover, the herb has numerous therapeutic properties and has proven its safety and efficacy for hundreds of years. In spite of FDA efforts to ban this herbal sweetener, Stevia’s comeback has begun amidst a glut of approved artificial, pharmaceutical products that pose significant health risks. The story of Stevia illustrates the struggle which many natural products have experienced in gaining the FDA stamp of approval. Patents, politics and profits are all involved in determining the selection of products we are allowed to purchase. The history of Stevia’s use in this country epitomizes the sad fact that effective natural supplements are often suppressed, while much riskier artificial chemicals are praised and aggressively marketed.
Stevia, Xylitol Sugar alternatives ...
June 09, 2005 06:15 PM
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels Energy Times, January 4, 2002
Sugar Solution by Kristin Daniels
Low blood sugar-a blood sugar recession-can make the good times recede. While you can't live without blood sugar, too much or too little wreaks havoc on your body and mind. And when blood sugar dips low enough to cause hypoglycemia you may feel like your emotions have been shredded. Knowing how the body regulates blood sugar allows you a measure of control in keeping blood sugar in the proper groove, and makes life a little sweeter. Hypoglycemia occurs when you feel dragged out because of low blood sugar. Ironically, this low blood sugar syndrome may be caused by an overabundance of sugar in your meals and snacks. Those who point to hypoglycemia as a widespread problem claim that up to two of three women in America suffer from hypoglycemia. That would make it an epidemic of monstrous proportions. In a survey of 1000 folks complaining of hypoglycemia, published in the Hypoglycemia Support Foundation's winter 2000 edition, researchers found that low blood sugar sufferers complained of hypoglycemic discomforts in several main categories: 94% of the people in the study reported nervousness, 89% mentioned irritability, exhaustion affected 87%, depression struck 86% and drowsiness hit 73%. Other miseries included fatigue, cold sweats, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), rapid heart rate, blurry or double vision, confusion, sudden hunger, convulsions, sweating, sleeping problems, paleness, muscle pain, memory loss, crying jags, fainting and dizziness.
Body of Evidence
Diary of a Maddening Condition
Stevia Sweetleaf with FOS - A Healthy Choice for Balanced Blood Sugar Levels
June 06, 2005 09:08 AM
Since the first sugar cane was brought from exotic South Pacific and Caribbean islands generations ago, Americans have had a love affair with foods that are super sweet but lack true nourishment. This has led to the development of literally thousands of good tasting but nutritionless foods that have contributed to childhood and adult obesity, energy depletion, mood swings, decreased brain function, and countless other negative effects on human health. Nature has also provided help in the form of an amazing herb from Paraguay, Stevia rebaudiana. Now Planetary Formulas brings you this beneficial herb with its introduction of Stevia SWEETLEAF WITH FOS.
Stevia SWEETLEAF contains a concentrated extract of Stevia leaves and fructooligosaccharides (FOS) derived from the roots of the Chicory plant (Cichorium intiba). Stevia leaves have been used as a staple in the diet of the Gaurani Indians for more than 1500 years. One of Stevia’s greatest attributes is that it contains no calories and no fat. Traditionally, it was used in foods and as a digestive tonic. Modern research has shown that Stevia can help to balance blood sugar levels through an enhancement of insulin production. Balanced blood sugar levels in turn can help maintain stable energy levels, proper brain function, and emotional stability, while also reducing sugar cravings.
Planetary Formulas Stevia SWEETLEAF WITH FOS contains a highly potent Stevia extract containing 90% steviosides, the primary active components of Stevia. Stevia has been used historically to improve digestion and gastrointestinal function. A healthy gastrointestinal tract is important for digestion, assimilation, the efficient burning of calories, the elimination of toxins, and healthy immune functions. The steviosides in Stevia pass through the digestive process without chemically breaking down, so the body obtains no calories from it and it does not contribute to swings in blood sugar levels in the way that consumption of simple sugars do. Modern research suggests Stevia has a positive effect on the pancreas, the primary sugar regulating organ of the body.
Unlike many Stevia extracts, which are made with toxic extracting solvents, Planetary Formulas uses a water extraction process to avoid the presence of potentially toxic compounds. This is also more ecologically sound: a perfect supplement for people and planet.
FOS is a delicious, fiber-rich group of compounds that also serve as an herbal intestinal prebiotic. Prebiotics are substances that promote the body's natural production of friendly flora, most specifically, lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. The magic of FOS is that–like the steviosides–it passes through the stomach and small intestine undigested. Once in the colon, it helps to create a healthy bacterial environment. Part of its action in the colon is its ability to increase the production of short-chain fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on fat metabolism that are similar to fiber. The results are improvements in gastrointestinal function, bowel regularity, fat metabolism, and a cleansed colon--all of which are integral to health overall.
This combination of delicious flavor, fiber, blood sugar-balancing, and prebiotic activity makes Stevia SWEETLEAF WITH FOS an ideal dietary supplement for healthy blood sugar levels, digestion, and colon health and as part of a healthy weight management program.
PLANETARY FORMULAS—YOUR SOURCE FOR ADVANCED HERBAL NUTRITION
Planetary Formulas is dedicated to bringing you the finest herbal supplement modern research has to offer. And now compelling research shows how the ingredients in Stevia SWEETLEAF WITH FOS can help maintain normal blood sugar levels and a healthier lifestyle. Available in 2 oz, 4 oz and 8 oz sizes.
NutraSpray in Melatonin, Proanthodyn, and St. John's wort
June 03, 2005 05:35 PM
NUTRASPRAY represents a quantum leap in the evolution of supplementation, an elegant combination of convenience, fast action, bioavailability, and sustained release delivery. Source Naturals has long championed the sublingual delivery system, and our Super Sublingual™ is the latest step in the science of nutrition. A quick spritz of NUTRASPRAY under the tongue delivers thousands of microscopic lipid spheres, each full of nutrients. These lipospheres are readily absorbed and retained by the mucosal tissue of the mouth. Here they release their nutrients quickly, but steadily, into the bloodstream – creating a Super Sublingual, the most bioavailable supplement today.
Nutrient delivery systems include tablets, capsules, softgels, and liquid extracts. Their purpose is to ensure the cells in your body get the nutrients they need from the supplements you take. Sublinguals bypass the digestive system – and its potentially destructive juices – by dissolving under the tongue to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Tests show that the NUTRASPRAY liposome sublingual delivery system is more efficient than traditional sublinguals.
The First Timed Release Sublingual
Due to the multi-layered structure of the tiny lipospheres, nutrients are gradually released for extended periods of time, maintaining optimal dosage throughout the day or night. This combined with a faster onset of the active ingredients – usually within 15 minutes – makes NUTRASPRAY the most bioavailable delivery system for nutritional supplements today, and the first truly timed release sublingual.
NUTRASPRAY incorporates a simple, non-aerosol spray pump that’s easily carried in purse or pocket. Its modern functional design is a perfect complement to today’s active lifestyle. It’s easy to regulate nutrient amount, because the convenient pump delivers a specific amount of nutrient-rich liposomes with every spray, and each 2 fl. oz. recyclable plastic bottle can deliver 80 full sprays. Stevia is added as an ingredient in each NUTRASPRAY product.
The lipid micro-encapsulation process is based on years of research in liposomal technology. The result is NUTRASPRAY, a proprietary system to deliver nutrients in the most efficient manner. This sublingual oral spray is a liquid suspension of liposomes, which are nutrients encased in very complex microscopic lipid spheres, 1/50th the diameter of a human hair. A highly purified natural lecithin forms the membrane of these lipid spheres, which are able to move easily through the lipid environment surrounding the capillaries in the mouth. Lipospheres then gradually release their nutrients into bloodstream.
Nutrients That Go To Your Head
The Source Naturals NUTRASPRAY line includes natural supplements that are particularly well-suited to this Super Sublingual delivery system, such as Melatonin, Ginkgo Biloba, Coenzyme Q10, Grape Seed extract, and Kava. That’s because these nutrients need to reach the brain for maximum benefit. Also, they’re usually taken for reasons that the fast-acting quality of NUTRASPRAY satisfies. Another unique reason NUTRASPRAY is so bioavailable is that its nutrients bypass the liver on their first pass through the circulatory system. This ensures the nutrient is available to the brain for maximum potency. Source Naturals NUTRASPRAY MELATONIN delivers 1.5 mg of the finest quality Melatonin with each full spray, easily allowing customers to control their intake. Melatonin is ideally suited to the fast-acting nature of NUTRASPRAY, which maintains a more balanced release of Melatonin throughout the night. Source Naturals NutraSpray GINKGO-24™ provides 60 mg of Ginkgo Biloba per full spray. This makes Ginkgo’s beneficial constituents readily available to the capillaries in the blood-brain barrier, facilitating oxygen flow to the brain. CoQ10 is fat soluble; therefore encapsulating it in a lipid is the perfect way to ensure its bioavailability. Each full spray of Source Naturals NUTRASPRAY™ COQ10 yields 30 mg of CoQ10. Furthermore, this popular metabolic enhancer is very experiential with the NUTRASPRAY delivery system. NUTRASPRAY GRAPE SEED extract delivers 50 mg per spray of proanthocyanidins standardized to 95%. These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, offering potent antioxidant protection to precious neurons. NUTRASPRAY KAVA KAVA is a potent extract standardized to a potent 40% kavalactones, the active constituents of this traditional root from the Polynesian cultures of the South Pacific. The relaxing action of Kava works through the brain’s limbic system, which regulates emotions related to survival issues, including the “fight or flight” response. Each spray yields 60 mg of Kava. Look for other fine products soon to come out in the Source Naturals line of NUTRASPRAYS. Source Naturals built its reputation on bringing the latest nutritional research to market, using the finest ingredients in substantial quantities – for an experience of wellness and vitality you can feel. Source Naturals NUTRASPRAY is a major step toward empowering people to achieve optimal health in a challenging world.