I recommend eating a low carb way of eating that minimizes blood sugar & insulin as a way to maximize health & wellness in midlife. This means coconut sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup, agave, and honey are to be avoided as they derange your metabolic processes and completely screw up your body's hormones over time.
Here are some explanations for those who want more information about why I don't recommend certain types of low carb sweeteners.
**Sugar Alcohols (except erythritol)**
Other sugar alcohols like sorbitol, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, and xylitol can be chemically manufactured and sometimes uses hydrogenation which is a completely unnatural way to manufacture food for human consumption. In addition to being artificially created, these sugar alcohols come with nasty side effects like bloating and gastrointestinal distress because they are not absorbed as quickly as Erythritol and tend to react badly in the intestine. Please also note that xylitol is toxic to dogs because they do not metabolize it the way humans do. (4) Do not ever give your dog or cat anything sweetened with xylitol. I avoid these types of sugar alcohols for all these reasons.
**Monk Fruit (maybe)**
Monk fruit is also called Luo Han Guo and is a fruit native to China. The sweetness of Monk Fruit is due to its antioxidant compounds called mogrosides which can vary in their level of sweetness. Mogrosides are metabolized differently by the body than natural sugars. That’s why, despite their very sweet taste, these fruits contain no calories and have no effect on blood sugar. However, it's important to remember that certain foods can stimulate insulin & blood sugar differently and although there is a lot that is great about Monk Fruit, this study showed that it DOES stimulate insulin release. I used a protein powder for many years that was sweetened with monk fruit, and during that time I struggled with unexplained weight gain. In retrospect, I believe that for me, monk fruit spikes my insulin, which is why I personally don't use it.
You should determine whether it is right for you by testing your blood sugar 30 minutes after ingesting monk fruit to determine whether it is right for you. Remeber that the best way you can become your own best health advocate is to experiment and test how certain foods react your own body.
I think we all know that there are artificial sweeteners like Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin), Xylitol, Sorbitol, & Sucralose (Splenda) that don't affect blood sugar BUT they have terrible side effects and can actually make insulin resistance, blood sugar disorders, and other metabolic conditions worse.
I avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs and have had to change my brand of chewing gum, toothpaste, and sports drinks that my kids drink in order to avoid them – which reminds me to write a post about that, too.
Take note and read your labels!