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Well, I am ready to be the guinea pig here! I just gotta figure out HOW! I am willing to test the effects of different sweeteners on my insulin response. My hypothesis is that sugar, honey, agave will elicit the highest rise in insulin. And splenda will be next. And xylitol, erythritol and stevia will cause the smallest insulin response.
I am thinking that I could do a 24hr fast (to eliminate any other carbs in my body), then eat a tsp of the sweet poison and measure my glucose with a glucose meter before ingestion and every 20mins after (for maybe 100 minutes?). It would take many days of fasting, but eventually, I would gather some preliminary data to see how these different sweeteners affect my insulin response.
You can search pub med for tons of articles on stevia releasing insulin (OnTheBayou... go look)
MamaSofi, it would be a pain in the butt to try to do an self-test, but I think the way to check is get a blood glucose meeter and test strips, etc. Then fast for probably 12 hours or so. Reintroduce one artificial sweetener and don't eat anything with it (maybe dissolve it in water) So splenda would HAVE to be the pure liquid kind, same with Pure stevia. Measure the blood glucose directly before you consume the one serving equivalent of the sweetner, then measure glucose levels again at set times after until two hours or so have passed (like 10 min, 20 min, 40 min, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 2 hours after ingestion without any other food) and record. Do this entire process again a few days or a week later untill you have tested all the sweeteners you want to. If your blood glucose goes down, then the sweetener evoked an insulin response.
This is assuming that the substances are is completely indigestible and won't taint the test levels by slightly raising blood sugar. If you are really up to doing this, try it with coconut oil too becasue I think it causes insulin release as well.
Sorry if the answer you were looking for involved eating baked fake foods or artificially sweetened ice cream. I don't think eating the sweeteners with food would make for an accurate test unless you ate the item with no sweeteners over and over and measured to get averages (because your body reacts to food differently all the time, even if it is the exact same food), then ate it with the sweetener over and over to get more averages to compare (and determine statistical significance, t-test, etc.).You would need to fast for these also, and you'd need a food scale.
Our bodies might also behave differently eating a stevia muffin than drinking a glass of water with stevia in it than eating ice cream with stevia in it... so it wouldn't be that accurate, but I still would like to see what happens.
In my opinion the Glycation effect of sugars is the one really problematic part of sugars. This is why I prefer glucose over the other sugars. It causes the least amount of glycation.
If anybody can show that erythritol, sugar alcohols, stevia, etc do not cause glycation then I would consider them safer.
The whole insulin resistance and leptin resistance problem arises from glycation of these receptors. Fructose is the major agent causing these. I am not sure the others will not do this.
With fructose we know what the safe limits are, about 20gm per 8hours for a person with healthy liver. I am not sure what the safe limit is for the other sugars. This does include the fructose from fruits and vegetables, so don't use the whole at once.
I am particularly wary of sugars that are not recognized by the body, and for that reason are zero calories, because it means that they are free to cause glycation.
Just use maltose and glucose to sweeten your stuff. Honey and other natural sweeteners are not that bad within limits. I would think you should avoid ingesting unknown agents.
Our research labs are not doing a very good jobs, we already know from their recommendation. They will give pro-sweetener advice when the sweetener company is sponsoring the research and anti-sweetener when some other lobby is sponsoring the research.
In paleo stick to natural stuff, that was available to our paleolithic ancestors, and eat it sparingly, as did they. Don't get too much enamoured by low carb as an end in itself.
What do you mean by "glycation" Anand? That is not the process of binding triglycerides... I know about HbA1c levels, etc. and AGE products. The inflammation due to sugar/fructose consumption isn't the only problem here...
Glycation is the process of sugar binding to proteins or triglycerides without enzymatic control.
AGE is Advanced Glycation Endproducts. So yes AGE is due to glycation.
High glucose levels are a problem because of this glycation. When the level is too high, the body cannot control it well. That is one reason why I think that it is better to have a short high spike than a longer small high.
Glucose is a necessary evil. It will cause glycation and will cause us to age. But our body needs it, there is no way to get rid of that need. Other sugars are worse. Our body can control glucose quite well, fructose and a few other sugars somewhat. Others not at all.
I would think if we crave sweet things, its better to eat something that our body can control than something that it cannot. And then limit it to small portions.
It's not necessarily insulin by itself that's the problem.
If it were, then Agave would be considered "great" because it has a low Glycemic Index.
The reason *why* it has a low Glycemic Index is because it's mainly fructose, which goes straight to your liver, causes all sorts of problems like what you mentioned with Glycation, creating AGEs, insulin resistance, leptin issues, etc.
So if you're going to use sweeteners, my opinion is that you should probably avoid sweeteners with a significant amount of fructose, and opt for Glucose instead.
Even though glucose spikes your insulin, if you're fairly healthy to begin with, a short spike in insulin is probably much better than all the havoc fructose causes under the disguise of "low insulin."
No, I agree with the higher glucose sweeteners over the fructose ones. As I said, the artificial ones are probably better than the caloric. I have used them myself... but I wouldn't touch agave unless you had a gun to my head.
I also do agree that the glycation is more of a problem than the insulin release, but you aren't "off the hook" no matter what you use.
Sean, do you recommend any specific brand of glucose? I've seen corn fructose in powder form in the local co-op but am yet to find glucose. I'll be making dessert for friends in a few days and gluscose might be a better option than raw sugar/honey/ maple syrup.
By necessary evil you mean the inevitable need of dietary glucose or our dependence on glucose as an essential metabolite?
“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.” -Oscar Wilde "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -George Bernard Shaw "The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass." -Martin Mull
Pure "corn syrup" in America is glucose made by enzymatic breakdown of the corn starches. However, you won't find any on the local shelves. In the south, you might find Alaga syrup, it's mostly that but it also has some cane syrup, i.e., sucrose type sugar.
Glucose is also available at shops specializing in baking. (Talk about the Belly of the Beast!) It is available in syrup or powder. This stuff is usually European and comes from grapes.
I, too, am of the opinion that a bit of glucose here or there doesn't matter. I'm using the Alaga in BBQ sauces to get that carmelizing. In the context of a bunch of greasy, meaty ribs, the GL is inconsequential.
Thanks for everyone's comments. I am still wrapping my head around "glycation", but I get the general idea of what you all are saying. I just wish I could test my insulin response to different foods, even different fruits and anything. It seems it's not as easy to test for insulin as it is to test for glucose. I can go to the drug store and but a glucose meter, but that doesn't really tell you what is going on with your insulin. It's all very complicated, obviously.