Dr Oz: Artificial Sweetener Alternatives: Truvia, Stevia, Agave & Honey

By on October 20, 2010

Dr Oz did a segment called Artificial Sweeteners: Are They Dangerous? Fact vs Fiction.  Can Artificial Sweeteners cause Cancer?  Plus, Doctor Oz gave three alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners.  Dr Oz Truvia

Dr Oz: Artificial Sweetener Dangers

Dr Oz said that artificial sweeteners began in the 1950’s with Saccharin, which made soda taste sweet with no calories, which was perfect for dieters.  By 1977, Saccharin was at its peak and even though scientists thought it might cause cancer, the demand was so high that it kept it from being banned.  Today we have Aspartame, Neotame and Sucralose.  Soda is the most common place to find Artificial Sweeteners, but it can be found in 6000 products including baby food, frozen dinners and yogurts.  In fact, 15% of Americans use Artificial Sweeteners regularly.

FDA Approved Artificial Sweeteners

Dr Oz said that there are three main groups of Artificial Sweeteners approved by the FDA.  Aspartame products like Equal, Sucralose products like Splenda and Saccharin products like Sweet and Low.

Dr Oz was joined by Christine Gerbstadt and Alan Greene to discuss the potential dangers of Artificial Sweeteners.  Gerbstadt said that Artificial Sweeteners are 10x to even 1000x sweeter than natural sweeteners, so we have trained our taste-buds to only like super sweet.

Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain?

Zero calories is not a free pass to eat whatever you want.  By eating something that tastes sweet, you are telling your body that energy is coming, and when you don’t actually get the energy, your body goes looking for it which can make you even more hungry and can cause you to eat more.  Dr Oz showed what happens when you drink a can of diet soda.  The soda goes into your stomach and esophagus, where you have receptors to taste and then the pancreas sends messages to your brain to let you know if you have really had calories or not.  If your esophagus senses something sweet, but your brain gets the message that there were no calories obtained, then you begin to crave food even more.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Addictive?

Christine Gerbstadt said that Artificial Sweeteners have all of the features of an addiction.  Some people cannot live without Artificial Sweeteners.  Your tastebuds get reset and become immune to sweetness levels, so your tolerance builds up, which is another sign for addiction.

Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Diabetes?

Alan Greene said there are two ways that Artificial Sweeteners may be linked to Diabetes.  One is through weight gain that Artificial Sweeteners can cause.  The second is through insulin resistance that causes Diabetes.  Artificial Sweeteners are like the ultimate “crying wolf” to your body that causes big spikes in insulin.  When Gerbstadt counsels a Diabetes patient, she tells them that they can have 0-2 servings of Artificial Sweeteners a day and that they need to reset their tastebuds to appreciate the natural sweetness found in milk, vegetables and fruit.  Dr Oz pointed out that a serving size of Artificial Sweetener is one packet.

Can Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer?

Alan Greene told Dr Oz that studies were done to show that animals fed Artificial Sweeteners over an extended period of time had an increase in getting cancer.  However, nothing has been shown with respect to humans yet.  Greene said that the only product that has not show an increase in cancer is Sucralose products like.

Dr Oz: Artificial Sweeteners Alternatives

Dr Oz gave three natural alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners: Honey, Agave, and Truvia or Stevia.  Dr Oz also said that since they are sweeter, we can use less of them.  Alan Greene said that honey is great because it is a complex food that is found in nature and there are as many as 25 compounds found in honey.  The glycemic index for honey can vary a lot, so look for ones with less sugar.  Greene told Dr Oz that Truvia or Stevia are low calorie, but there really is not enough research on them yet.  Agave is a distilled sweetener, but it is not that different than sugar or corn syrup, it is just that agave has a low glycemic index.

Dr Oz said that the bottom line is that Artificial Sweeteners are not a get out of jail free card, so it is best to get eat something else!

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Comments to Dr Oz: Artificial Sweetener Alternatives: Truvia, Stevia, Agave & Honey

  1. I didn’t get to see the end of the artificial sweetners show, did you suggest one product over
    another? I currently use Splenda!

    Thank you for all you do to keep America healthy!

    Portland, OR

  2. He said no to splenda! Splenda is bad because of all they do to make it into splenda. he says to use Stevia inatead. I buy truvia which is a brand name for stevia. I add that to agave for cookies and yummy!

    Agave straight taste like pancake syrup some and is great for pancakes too! both stevia and agave are wonderful for weightloss because it does not go to the hips and great for diabetics because the glucose levels are great for glycemic

    I have post-menopause and taking stevia and agave have caused the glucose levels NOT to flucuate like carbs and sugars do

    Love the stuff

  3. Truvia is more than a brand name of stevia, it uses a very small portion of rebiana (an extract of stevia) but is mostly Erythritol (a sugar alcohol) to remove the stevia aftertaste.

    Agave nectar is starting to also get a really bad rep in health circles as it is processed in a similar manner to high fructose corn syrup but trumpeted as a great natural alternative. As people become more health conscious it’s reasonable to expect a lot of ‘wolves in sheeps clothing’ when it comes to alternative products… it’s good to do fact checking even on what health promoters tell you. Natural foods and medicines are a *huge* multi-million dollar industry… always take what they say with a grain of salt or sodium substitute 😉

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