Navigating the Sticky World of Sugar

There are dozens of names for sugar, how are you supposed to know which kind is safe to eat? JJ answers this common question with the dangers of the different types of artificial sweeteners, the type of sugar that can lead to health challenges like fatty liver disease and elevated triglycerides, the flavor that can help take your sweet tooth away, and her top ingredient choices for adding sweetness without the blood sugar spike.

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ATHE_Transcript_Ep 501_Which Sweeteners Are Ok? I’m So Confused!
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Sweeteners, which ones are okay? I am so confused.
This is JJ Virgin four-time, New York Times bestselling author, celebrity nutrition expert, and fitness hall of famer. I've been on a lifelong quest for answers to the toughest health. And now I'm sharing what I found with you. Welcome to ask the health expert,
Joanne from Instagram asks sweeteners which ones are okay. I'm so confused. All right, well, let's clear that confusion up, Joanne, because it actually comes down to some pretty simple choices and I will be right back.
Okay, so sweeteners there's [00:01:00] a lot to unpack here, but first of all, I'm gonna start with the the, the big answer, number one. in the Virgin diet when I have you pulling out, swapping out the seven foods, that can cause food intolerance for healing foods. One of the things, of course, I have you swap out.
are sugar and artificial sweeteners. Then after I wrote that book, there were so many questions about sugar that I went and wrote the Sugar Impact Diet because I found that sugar was sneaking into all these places and people were just confused. And again, just like you asked Joanne, they were like, Well, what about honey?
It's all natural. . And what about, you know, artificial sweeteners? They don't have any calories, so let's unpack all of it. First, let's take on artificial sweeteners and for artificial sweeteners. Here's the answer. No, don't do it Now, Stevia, monkfruit, allulose those are not artificial. Artificial sweeteners are artificial means they got created in the lab.
Those are things like Splenda aspertame, [00:02:00] acesulfame k, nutrasweet. I'm thinking of all the different names for them. Sucralose oh gosh, Saccharin. So, and, and where did these all start? They started so that we could basically have our cake and eat it too, so that diabetics could use these sweeteners and not create problems for themselves.
Here's the problem. It had the exact opposite effect. Number one, one of the things we know about artificial sweeteners now this was specifically done on Nutrasweet, is they can change your gut gut microbiome. By the way. They can change it in a week. One week. Uno. Samana, what do you think of that?
They can change it one week to make you more glucose intolerant. That is why we see people who are regularly using artificial sweeteners have a higher risk of diabetes. Like this is the very reason we created 'em in the first place. Hello, fail. Second thing, they can cause calorie dysregulation if you're using artificial sweeteners.
Rat studies showed that rats that were Allowed to eat [00:03:00] sugar. Sugar water would have sugar water and they'd, they'd eat what they needed of their kibble to maintain their normal weight. Then they had artificially sweetened water. Then they went to their kibble and ate what they needed to maintain their weight.
Then they went back to the sugar water and overate cuz they lost that ability to correlate the degree of sweetness. with the amount of calories. So calorie dysregulation. I'm gonna go a little deeper in that because I believe that that could happen with some of these natural sweeteners too, sadly. So that's why it's not a free lunch.
The next thing is what happens when you eat sweet? We are hardwired to seek out sugar. Right to survive Famines. Think about it. When do we have access to most sugar, the summer? All that fruit. And we are more insulin resistant during the summer. More light up later. Up longer, right? Not sleeping as much.
Storing more of the sweet as as fat so we can survive the winter. That would've worked really well 10,000 years ago. Don't need that anymore. So when you [00:04:00] eat sweet, what do you want? More sweet. And so that is my challenge with any of these types of sweeteners, not just artificial, is that they light you up.
And if you are genetically a sweet taster or a have a sweet tooth, boom, you're like, Ooh, where do I get more of that? I'm, I was I'm adopted and my adopted mom, my real mom, my adopted. has a sweet tooth. I don't now. She raised me on Pop Tarts and Captain Crunch and Cocoa Puffs and those spin hard cinnamon rolls and we had donuts on Sundays and dessert every night after dinner at 12.
I was like, I don't want any more of this stuff. And she was like, What are you talking about? Like I just, it's like, I'll eat a little sweet now and then, but it's not like if said to me. You can have salty and crunchy or you could have sweet, I'm gonna pick the salty crunchy. And even when I do sweet, I don't want the over sweet.
It's like ick, so, there is a genetic component in here too. Too sweet. And so if you are eating sweet, you'll [00:05:00] crave more. Sweet. Yikes. All right, so where does that leave us? So we don't want the artificial sweeteners. Those are a fail. That was a science experiment. Gone bad, you would be better off having a regular soda than artificially sweet sweetened soda.
Case in point, I did a cool podcast with one of my heroes, Dr. Richard Johnson, and he was talking about how just the shift in the sweetener in the United States, where in Mexico they use cane sugar. In this, in in Coca-Cola. Here we use corn syrup. Just that alone, that elevation in fructose caused more fatty liver weight gain, elevated triglycerides insulin resistance, right?
So, This isn't don't eat artificial sweeteners. Go eat regular sugar instead. . No, that's not why I'm saying don't do either of those. We don't need to use added sugar. Like let's just decide no artificial sweeteners artificial. Hello, and we don't need to put in added sugar. There are other options here.
So in the Sugar Impact Diet, I teach you how to retrain your taste buds to [00:06:00] appreciate savory and unami and salty and sour, and in fact, sour can take your sweet tooth away and eating by the plate where you get clean, lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber keeps your blood sugar balance so you don't have those sugar cravings.
But what could we use, cuz that was the original question. Let's get to it. Here's my. Allulose is my ultimate favorite. If you look at my, my shakes and bars right now, we are working to replace any sweeteners with allulose. Why? Cause it actually has some nutritive value can help with insulin sensitivity, but bigger than that, it's got a couple calories.
So it's not fully absorbed by the small intestine. It's called a rare sugar. It's from I think like dates and figs. So it's, it's comes from nature. It doesn't get fully absorbed, It doesn't raise your blood sugar and insulin, and so it, it, it will limit that calorie dysregulation, but also super sweet.
So it's a good one to use. But here's the thing. Don't go crazy with [00:07:00] this stuff because when you eat sweet, you want more sweet use. If you're gonna use a sugar, Allulose is my favorite, followed by monk fruit and stevia, and then also the sugar alcohols xylitol. But generally, I'm trying to limit these things now.
Like example, I'm going to make my ultimate dairy free pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving. And the holidays and it's so amazing and I make it with Kite Hill, Almond Ricotta Cheese and Kite Hill Almond Cream cheese. And then I use Whole Foods, Organic pumpkin, canned pumpkin. And then I take Catalina Crunch, Graham Cracker Crunchies cuz it's gluten-free keto.
And I use that with ghee to make the crust. I do use pastured eggs in this. I'm not egg. and then I'll use some allulose and it is so good. Oh, and I use pumpkin pie spice. This is like so good. It is so good. So that's where I'll use [00:08:00] that type of thing, but don't like all of a sudden go, I'm eat sweet every single day.
Right? Like I grew up, my mom put literally put sugar on strawberries. I was like, Why would you, why would you put sugar on sugar? So those are the ones monkfruit, allulose, Stevia, rital xylitol. By the way, vanilla and cinnamon work well here too. Vanilla can boost serotonin, cinnamon can balance blood sugar, but they're both naturally sweet.
So work with those first and and last and work with those and dump the rest. There you go. Thanks for checking in and check out by the way, at my website cause I have some really amazing recipes that we will, that will comb your sweet tooth down. So I got you covered. Take care.
This is JJ with Ask the Health Expert. I answer your questions weekly. Plus I interview the top experts in health and wellness, so make sure you never miss a show by going to Yep, it's that [00:09:00] easy. I'll see you next time.


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