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why is stevia not more popular among paleos? (they use sugar too liberally...)

Commented on November 11, 2013
Created November 10, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I initially got into paleo because dairy was at the root of my moderate acne and because I found dr. Robert lustig's "sugar is toxic" research very compelling... he basically outlines how fructose is a significant contributor to t2d, heart disease, liver disease, obesity, etc. Other research indicates that it is also a contributor to cancer and alzheimers.

It seems to me that many popular paleo recipe websites use molasses/honey/agave/coconut sugar too liberally and frequently to really qualify as healthy or paleo. I've found that using stevia has allowed me to completely cut out natutal sweeteners while still providing a good way to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Obviously, to each their own and too restrictive a diet could damage quality of life... just my 2 cents!

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on November 11, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Speaking of which, I felt super fortunate to find this Arizona desert honey in my new Costco when I moved to the Phoenix area. It's absolutely wonderful and I will be sad when I have to move away from it some day. I can't speak too highly of a good, local, honey when compared against generic store brands. You get a good sense of just what your area tastes like (however odd that may sound).

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 10:42 PM

I'll have to give it another try. (The caveat is I don't really eat baked goods or use sugar other than to ferment or make the occasional teriyaki, which I lately use a coconut flower nectar for.) It would be cool to get a little stevia plant to grow next to my basil. I'm reading that a traditional use by the Guarani was to apply it topically for scar tissue reduction and to promote softer skin. It also works as an organic mouthwash.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 09:05 PM

That is true. That study is just an example, there are many more that show consistently that fructose is A. not worse than glucose at normal intake levels and B. not detrimental to health at normal intake levels.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 09:04 PM

Hating Lustig is justified given how he confuses and misleads the public and distorts the evidence.

Medium avatar

(238)

on November 10, 2013
at 08:46 PM

The point is that the majority of people don't do this "If you avoid PUFAs, get your fructose from fruits, a moderate sugar consumption and eat enough micronutrients, there is absolutely no evidence that it is harmful." So having people write books and lecture on the subject help bring it into focus. IMO having zero processed sugar in your diet is a major plus. Having a bit of fruit is probably a good thing. Hating Lustig is not sweet.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on November 10, 2013
at 08:29 PM

Thank you, Matt. That is, indeed, my answer.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 10, 2013
at 07:56 PM

Stevia is, however, a non-nutritive sweetener. Our bodies say "Yay, energy!" but never get it.

D371623b5671d11fa678b201ff23442b

on November 10, 2013
at 07:12 PM

Stevia is not fake sweetness. Stevia is a plant, not an artificial sweetener.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 10, 2013
at 06:16 PM

Be weary of science too, we scientists are just as biased as anybody else. Not sure I put much stock in the study you linked to.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:19 PM

Reading his book is probably as misleading as reading Colin Campbell's "China Study" and deciding to go vegan afterwards.

I've yet to find a book that really objectively summarizes nutrition science. I don't think it exists. Don't trust books, trust the evidence.

Medium avatar

(15)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:17 PM

The problem is he exaggerated and extrapolated some mice studies that used absurd doses on a questionable background diet. If you avoid PUFAs, get your fructose from fruits, a moderate sugar consumption and eat enough micronutrients, there is absolutely no evidence that it is harmful.

His hypothesis of fructose and obesity/cardiovascular disease etc. is already stuck at the beginning, given that glucose (primarly starch from grains) and fat, but not fructose intake increased in the last 40 years.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24053221

F92f0b6a3fe3d45a489e020076904f2f

(50)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:04 PM

I read his book and have been unable to find specific counter-arguments to the indepth science he describes. He is certainly not the only researcher, just one of the most vocal ones, that points out the way fructose is metabolized and the subsequent terrible health effects.

However, the amount of fructose consumed is definitly the key point of this discussion, I agee.

F92f0b6a3fe3d45a489e020076904f2f

(50)

on November 10, 2013
at 12:26 PM

I'd say it can have a kind of strange aftertaste, though I find that flavor disappears in baked goods or if mixed with fatty ingredients

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9 Answers

0
00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on November 10, 2013
at 10:46 PM

I'll out myself as a stevia supporter. I use it or a stevia-xylitol blend whenever possible, except for baking, where its physical chemistry properties are required. ButI'm starting from a point of having T2 diabetes, and having severe food cravings from starchy foods.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on November 10, 2013
at 06:06 PM

There's the old adage: the dose makes the poison. No paleo-ite is eating sucrose/fructose in such high excess that it's an issue. We are perfectly capable of digesting it. The fact that fructose is metabolized in the liver does not mean it is a toxin.

I just threw in some cane sugar to a batch of larb (I don't care if it's authentic or not!) and it came out to a mere 6 grams of added sugar per serving. I ate nearly 10 times that in terms of carbohydrate from veggies. All about perspective.

0
Medium avatar

on November 10, 2013
at 04:12 PM

Because Stevia's nasty! lol! I prefer honey.

Also, re: Lustig:

From my experience he has no hesitation saying that sugar from natural foods like fruit is perfectly fine in moderate ammounts and with the fiber and nutrients attached. His biggest beef is with HFCS saturating the processed American food supply and people putting down 3-6 sodas and 3 candy bars a day.

0
Medium avatar

on November 10, 2013
at 04:02 PM

While the use of any refined or artificial sweeteners is not really paleo, if you have a major health issue related to sugar (such as t2d) already, and just want a little sweetness in your life, stevia is a good alternative to sugar.

Really though, after a while on a paleo type diet, you will probably lose your sweet tooth. Mine was a POWERFUL adversary and I thought it's be a life long battle. Just a few months in and I find most "sweet" foods unappetizing. Ripe fruit and sweet potatoes are nice. 85% dark chocolate is pretty sweet to me.

However, I'll still put a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee or a little honey in certain recipes and sauces... No harm done if you don't make it a staple.

0
3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on November 10, 2013
at 03:35 PM

Because sugar is food too. Let's not forget this. Trying to trick our bodies (in this case with "fake" sweetness) rarely turns out in our favor. If I want something sweet then I eat something that is ACTUALLY sweet, with the fully associated caloric/insulin load and everything. It's how we work. Crave sweet - eat fruit/honey/whatever - no longer crave sweet. Thus, if you're looking under the "sweets" section, all the recipes will (and should) have some form of real sugar in them.

The thing that many Paleos are really against is the supermarket brand of sugar. That is, the casual addition of sugar to things that really shouldn't have them in the first place. High sugar salad dressing? Added sugar in yogurt? Half a pound of sucrose to an already sweet apple butter recipe? High fructose corn syrup in FREAKIN' BREAD? And the things that you will find that SHOULD have sugar in them have 3-5x as much than is really needed, making them just plain gross.

If you're fighting back pre/full diabetes then these sugary recipes should be avoided, but if you're not then they're good little hits of sugar that you can keep in your back pocket. Just, ya know, don't do Faileo and make them breakfast, lunch and dinner.

EDIT:

Also, Paleo isn't in the Jenny Craig style business of planning all of your meals for you. The community comes to a consensus that sweeteners such as honey and molasses are much more benign than the currently ubiquitous table sugar, so a subsect of the community goes out and makes a slew of recipes featuring honey and molasses. It is up to the individual to determine which, if any, of these recipes fit into their current plan. Really, I consider Paleo to be the diet version of Free Open Source Software (FOSS). You get a huge, powerful, community that provides a massive array of tools (in this case, recipes) but at the end of the day the choice is on you what to implement and how.

(I wonder what is the diet version of the guy who seriously suggests chmod -R 777 /* as a fix...)

(Answered my own question. The chmod -R 777 /* guy is totally 30bananasaday.)

D371623b5671d11fa678b201ff23442b

on November 10, 2013
at 07:12 PM

Stevia is not fake sweetness. Stevia is a plant, not an artificial sweetener.

0
C2450eb7fa11b37473599caf93b461ef

on November 10, 2013
at 02:13 PM

Stevia is bitter and gives me a headache.

0
Medium avatar

on November 10, 2013
at 12:43 PM

You have been indoctrinated by the misleading and false fructophobia of Mr. Lustig and similar fraudsters. If you stick to the plain evidence (and not only the one that Mr. Lustig cites selectively), or merely the opinion of other researchers in the field, you realize that sugar and fructose is absolutely no problem at normal intake levels.

Apart from that, stevia is probably the safest of all the non-sugar sweeteners out there. But don't think it'll benefit your health, just because you spared a teaspoon of sugar with it.

F92f0b6a3fe3d45a489e020076904f2f

(50)

on November 10, 2013
at 01:04 PM

I read his book and have been unable to find specific counter-arguments to the indepth science he describes. He is certainly not the only researcher, just one of the most vocal ones, that points out the way fructose is metabolized and the subsequent terrible health effects.

However, the amount of fructose consumed is definitly the key point of this discussion, I agee.

0
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on November 10, 2013
at 12:13 PM

Raw, local honey is the most accepted sweet option on Paleo, because, well, it's the most Paleo option. Tribes value it highly. It's also very good for health with anti-bacterial and anti-allergy properties (when raw). Stevia is rather processed, and it still spikes blood sugar for some people who are sensitive to all sweet tastes (even those with no carbs in them). Personally, agave & stevia upset my tummy. Sugar or honey don't.

3fc95bca9e723edfbbb72b172798ab49

(1354)

on November 11, 2013
at 12:57 AM

Speaking of which, I felt super fortunate to find this Arizona desert honey in my new Costco when I moved to the Phoenix area. It's absolutely wonderful and I will be sad when I have to move away from it some day. I can't speak too highly of a good, local, honey when compared against generic store brands. You get a good sense of just what your area tastes like (however odd that may sound).

0
Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57

(995)

on November 10, 2013
at 11:27 AM

I don't particularly enjoy the taste. Sugar has a much better flavor, imo.

http://paleohacks.com/questions/134250/who-else-thinks-that-stevia-tastes-nasty.html

F92f0b6a3fe3d45a489e020076904f2f

(50)

on November 10, 2013
at 12:26 PM

I'd say it can have a kind of strange aftertaste, though I find that flavor disappears in baked goods or if mixed with fatty ingredients

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