OK, what is all this glycemic index nonsense anyway? Basically, any food with a high glycemic index (including sugar, honey, molasses, most syrups, white bread and potatoes) pumps a megadose of sugar into your bloodstream quickly after being consumed. Your pancreas must compensate to break down all this sugar by producing a large surge of insulin. Or, if you are an insulin dependent diabetic you must give yourself a shot to compensate for the surge. The result is that well known sugar-buzz, which, of course, is followed by that also well-known sugar crash.
So what if you have sugar ups and downs? Well, it might be more than just ups and downs. Newer studies are showing us that the pancreas gets fatigued with regular sugar overloads, and that a habit of sugar overloads might actually bring on a case of adult diabetes. Plus, even if you don’t get diabetes from it, the research is showing it is not optimal for health.
There are alternatives. You can go with the “artificial” sweeteners, such as aspartame, splenda, or saccharine, but I don’t recommend any of them. Remember the cyclamates that were banned in the 70’s but not before some folks had ingested massive quantities of them! Aspartame has been linked to neurological side effects, and the fact is that none of the artificial sweeteners seem to help anyone lose weight. They all have funny aftertastes anyway. Why use them when there are better alternatives
Stevia is a low-cal sweet herb. It also has an aftertaste but apparently, unlike the artificial sweeteners, one can get used to it. It can be made into tea, or bought in processed packets such as Truvia or SweetLeaf.
Sugar alcohols such as Xylitol, sorbitol, and that ilk, do not incur the glycemic load of sugar or corn syrup. They do have calories, though, and if you overdo please be aware that large doses can cause a laxative effect. Who knows, maybe you want that!
My favorite low glycemic sweeteners taste the best. These are agave syrup and brown rice syrup. Agave syrup is made from a cactus. It is about 20% sweeter than sugar so you will use less. It can be used in baking but since it is a liquid, the liquids in the recipe must be adjusted. Brown rice syrup is NOT as sweet as sugar, so you would use about 25% more in recipes and you must really be careful about liquids. Yes, these both have calories, but unlike the artificial sweeteners, they taste satisfying so you do not go craving more and more sweets after eating them.
As you see there are a large number of alternatives to our old standby, sugar, which just looks worse and worse the more nutrition research you do.