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Andrew Weil’s Sugar Substitutes

This ariticle was originally printed in Open Exchange Healthy Living Magazine
October-December 2006 (www.openexchange.org) which is distributed for free
in the Bay Area.

Andrew Weil’s Sugar Substitutes

Andrew Weil, M.D., is nationally recognized for sound advice on holistic medicine.
According to Dr. Weil, it’s better to consume moderate amounts of sugar than any
artificial sweeteners. “Sugar is okay in moderation, and it’s relatively low in calories
(about 15 per teaspoon.) For diabetics and others who can’t tolerate sugar, I
recommend natural sweeteners like stevia and tagalose.”
Dr. Weil recommends steering clear of most artificial sugar substitutes because
of lingering health concerns, as well as inferior taste.
Regarding Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), he notes tat rats given modest amounts
throughout their lives had elevated rates of lymphomas, leukemias, and other cancers
(Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2006) Many people also report
dizziness and headaches, suggesting an effect on the central nervous system.
Of saccharin (Sweet’N Low), a study by the National Cancer Institute found some
evidence of increased risk of bladder cancer in heavy consumers.
Sucralose (Splenda) is now the best selling artificial sweetener probably because it
tastes most like sugar. However according to the nonprofit organization Citizens for
Health, numerous consumers have reported adverse effects ranging from stomach pains
and headaches to skin rashes. Dr. Weil would avoid it pending more extensive research
to validate its safety.
Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, erythritol, and others) may be beneficial to diabetics
because they do not raise blood sugar levels in modest amounts. However, they can
aggravate irritable bowel syndrome and even cause diarrhea. So, Dr. Weil says use with
caution.
We’d like to add that it’s wise to stay away from foods and drinks sweetened with high
fructose corn syrup, now implicated in elevated blood sugar and obesity. Try cutting back
on your sweetener and enjoy the flavor of the food itself. Over time you’ll find your sugar
cravings subside.

Source: Andrew Weil’s Self Healing Newsletter, June 2006

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