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Health and Diet Updates

May 30, 2013

Consolidating the further updates to both the sugar and carbs substitutes series

To recap, for the foreseeable future, I’m going with an alternation between erythritol/stevia mixes (or Truvia with more erythritol added) for easier to sweeten drinks like tea with milk and lemonade, erythritol by itself in drinks that already have stevia (Zevia) and xylitol for harder to sweeten caffeine without milk (iced tea and Zevia cola).
Trying to hang on to some packs of Xylosweet, because they’re good to have if I need a sweetener on the go (like if I’m taking a can of Zevia to work, or getting tea with milk outside).

The next thing I will try soon is my own bottle of liquid stevia, so see how well it goes in lemonade and iced tea, and in mixtures with erythritol.

So I got the latest blood report now, and total cholesterol (172), LDL (78) and A1C (6.3) are all in the good range, so it’s only triglycerides which are still high, at 281, but this is a big drop. It still needs to be cut almost in half, and I would like to cut the carbs (now mainly rice) at least in half, but once again, it is very difficult.
Also to cut a rather big food bill (high in part from trying to eat healthy), I’ve been suggesting just meat and salad or other vegetables most of the time. Problem is, the starches are the cheapest of the foods (hence, why they became such a prominent fixture in our diet, basically a “filler”), so it’s not saving a lot to reduce them. (Wonder if this was done intentionally to get us hooked, as Wheat Belly alludes to). The meat is the most expensive, and I could conceivably give that up and go on vegetables alone, as I essentially did in the Air Force, but it seems I need the protein now, especially with a job that takes a lot of energy.

Finally got the Santa Cruz lemon juice, along with Grateful Harvest Organic “Lemon Shot”, which is one of those things sold in a plastic lemon. This was at the Park Av.S store (Health 4 U), and a different brand than the one I saw at Whole Foods (Volcano Lemon Burst) .

The Santa Cruz had more of that “pine wax” taste than either the Lakewood or 365, while the Lemon Shot is the one that smells just like a real lemon! It’s totally clear, and I had trouble getting enough taste by itself for lemonade, but just a squirt is nearly perfect for the iced tea, with two teaspoons of erythritol, and a half spoon of Truvia. (The tea with the other juices was tasting really watery, and adding more juice made taste more like the juice than like tea, and I was beginning to wonder if the sweeteners were the problem).
So now, I’m finishing out the lemon juice for glasses of lemonade (adding water, and a half spoon or so of Truvia is good enough; not going to waste the erythritol or xylitol trying to improve the taste).

My wife also got me some Twinings Cold Brew peach tea, which of course, I don’t need the lemon for.


From → Health

  1. Finally made the soybean spaghetti I had gotten months ago

    Wife made pesto for it. It was great. a little lighter/fluffier tasting than regular angel hair pasta (think I like it even better). Far better than the shiritaki, which is like an extremely exaggerated version of the texture of this.

    Will definitely stick with this one!

    She had regular pasta, but did join me in the lemonade we made with real lemons, and an erythritol/xylitol mix. Used one teaspoon of xylitol, and we were afraid to use more, for the laxation problem (and it still being new to her. This site: points out (citing some site I can’t find) that it’s not good to use Xylitol “to sweeten soft drinks such as lemonade”, While one person likely won’t consume the whole pitcher in one day, till, you don’t really know how many grams you’re getting in a glass.

    So I added three teaspoons of erythritol.
    Was pretty good. didn’t have quite that richness of sweet, like sugar lemonade, and you still had a bit of the lemon acidity in the background. But it’s drinkable to me!

  2. Weight down to 224 today! Haven’t been in the 220’s in decades! (was about 238 last time I was weighed at the doctor!)

  3. Trying to perfect my own stevia-erythritol mixtures, and to use Truvia (which tastes too much like stevia to us) as a reference point, I tried to find out its exact ratio. As mentioned in the original article, a 3.5g serving consists pf 3g erythritol, but that’s the only amount listed. So the remaining .5g must be divided between the stevia and the “natural flavors” (which make it smell a lot like it’s vanilla flavored).

    Googling it, I found these two [critical] articles:

    The first one (which also points Reb A is just “a molecule of the stevia plant”) says: “Half of one percent of Truvia is Rebiana…if a container of Truvia was divided into 200 parts, 199 of them would be Erythritol and only one would be Rebiana”.
    I do not know where they got this figure from, but it suggests then that the Reb A is .0175g, and the “natural ingredients” are the remaining .4825g

    The second site says

    Truvia’s website says that “natural flavors are used to bring out the best of Truvia, like pepper or salt or any other spice that would be used to heighten the taste of food”. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines natural flavor as: “any product which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice … whose significant function in food is for flavoring rather than nutritional”. Sounds very natural, but look closer. Flavoring constituents derived” says what a natural flavor really is: The chemical equivalent of a natural flavor. Natural flavors are made in a laboratory. What the natural flavor is doesn’t have to be listed because they are considered to be trade secrets. The only time that you will ever see “natural flavor” listed on a food ingredient label is when there are no real natural flavors. But it is resourceful for Truvia’s to compare their natural flavor to pepper or salt. As a side note, an artificial flavor is the chemical equivalent of a flavor that is not from a spice, fruit, vegetable, etc, but also made in a lab.

    Sure enough (before reading this completely) I just called the Truvia number to ask them what the natural flavors were, and I was told it’s “proprietary”, meaning they don’t give that information out. (She also didn’t know how much of the .5g was either substance).

    Edit: here is a page on what “natural flavors” is:

  4. Ran across this article: says

    “The problem with non-nutritive, noncaloric sweeteners is that the body senses them through the same mechanisms used to sense sugar,” said Tim Osborne, professor of diabetes and obesity research at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Lake Nona.

    Our bodies not only have sweet-taste receptors on our tongues, but all through the gut and even in the pancreas, he said. “These receptors detect sweetness and tell the brain and body to get ready for something sweet.”

    When these sweet receptors get tripped, studies suggest, they turn on a mechanism that causes the body to absorb more dietary sugar and potentially convert more of that energy to fat, Osborne said.

    “This likely explains why diet-soda drinkers don’t lose weight and often gain weight,” he said.

    In the pancreas, scientists think, sweet receptors activate insulin secretion, Osborne said. Any sweetener that sets them off, whether real or fake, might affect the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.

    But it seems to be working fine for me!

    In other news, still trying my own stevia-erythritol mixes, adding a bit more stevia as it’s hard to get over the bitterness of both lemon (in lemonade) and iced tea (with lemon or peach flavor).

    Also found another erythritol-based sweetener, Lakanto, which mixes it with “the supersweet extract of the luo han guo fruit”. This is another name for monk fruit, so this is basically like Nectresse, but without the molasses added. So it is on the list to try. So I hope it doesn’t have the same null aftertaste problem of stevia and all the other supersweet ones, or if it does, they don’t have too much of it to overpower the erythritol, like Truvia and Zevia.

    edit: called the number in the link, and he said the luo han taste is “not as invasive as the stevia taste” (though it has about the same level of sweetness), and being it doesn’t have the added sugar of molasses, I definitely have to try this one, but it’s only by order, and for $35. (Comes in brown version as well. He said the brown one has more of a brown sugar aftertaste, and the regular white has more of a sugar taste).

  5. Gets worse, as far as Aspartame:

    Also, for the first time, tried my erythritol/stevia mix in orangeade. Was perfect with two teaspoons!

  6. Just got the Lakanto! They had a smaller pack (8.29oz/235g) on Amazon for $20.
    I had seen that it came in both white and brown. I ended up getting the brown, which actually seems to be the original. Didn’t see where I could select one or the other.

    [edit: the package I got looked different from the one I ordered; perhaps it was just a redesign]

    Luo han guo, aka “monk fruit” powder is even less processed than white stevia extract! It’s extracted by simply crushing the fruit, adding water filtering and separating the sugar from the sweet anti-oxidants which dry into the powder.

    So it look and smells somewhat like brown sugar, or I’ve seen it compared to turbinado sugar. (Even says you can bake from it. That must be from the monk fruit, as erythritol doesn’t seem to work by itself, at least in creaming the butter).

    My wife actually tasted it first, and said it still leaves the bitter “coating” on her tongue, like stevia. But then she’s more sensitive to that. She had begun saying my erythritol/stevia mix started giving her headaches (like stevia does), and stopped using it. But it’s been just fine for me.

    So I first tried it in some chamomile, since it was night. It’s hard to tell for me with those kind of teas. Did seem to have a bit of aftertaste, though not as much as stevia, Truvia and the rest.
    So this morning, I try it in both my iced tea I pack up for lunch, and then my hot tea with milk, for right then. (Still finishing the cup). With the iced teas, it didn’t seem to have the aftertaste, though I did have the problem I sometimes get, of it tasting watery. This happened yesterday with my erythritol/stevia blend when I used the Volcano Lemon Burst. But when I had used real lemons last week, it was pretty much perfect.

    (Also still plan to try all of these things on [homemade] unsweetened cola).

    The hot tea with milk tastes perfect; basically as good as my own sweetener mix. (Again, you can get away with more with hot tea, as the milk seems to hide some of whatever aftertaste their may be, and fill in for the “null” effect).

    Edit: remembered I had an orange, and also ran out anyway to get a lemon, and so made a glass each of orangeade, lemonade, and the iced tea with lemon for tomorrow. (For the two citrusades, the Lakanto turns the liquid a bit brown). The orangeade was pretty good, and the lemonade and iced tea could have had more taste (so these things need some working out as to how much of everything is measured), but the most important thing was that I did not taste the null aftertaste at all!. A little brown sugar flavor (will have to try again with the white version), but no “diet” chemical taste! So these too were about the same as my stevia mix.

    So it seems the guy on the phone was right; the taste of the luo han is not as “invasive” as stevia.

    So this looks like a good alternative, save for the price per amount.

    Another thing I had found a few weeks ago was “Monk Fruit in the Raw”. It is bulked with dextrose in place of erythritol, so I held off waiting to try the Lakanto, as from my experience with Stevia in the Raw (nearly a year ago now!) I felt the erythritol seems to taste better than dextrose. It was only about $4 for a box of packets, so this may be a cheaper alternative (will have to compare the taste). So now that I know what this monk fruit is like, I may try that one after all.

  7. Got Monk Fruit In The Raw, and used it in Sleepy Time Tea. Has the null effect, but not as much of the chemical taste. So again, as I was told, luo han taste is not as “invasive” as stevia (and the others).

    With hot tea with milk it’s a lesser version of the same effect, as figures.
    With iced tea, I had to add some erythritol to make it remotely enjoyable.

    Now, going back to the comparison of dextrose with erythritol:

    This site
    says “Dextrose, like pure glucose, has a very high glycemic index…averaging 100, which means that it is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream and results in a sharp increase in your blood sugar levels”. It’s even used to treat hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

    It’s roughly the same level of sweetness as erythritol (actually edging it out at 74% the sweetness of sucrose, see chart in link below).
    Still, it’s the aftertaste that matters most when using to bulk sweeter powders. Dextrose (which can be found in other alternative sweeteners including stevia and aspartame, apparently does not have as good of an aftertaste as erythritol (I have seen Dextrose sold in a container by itself in one of the Whole Foods I go to, but I’m not about to try that).

    It seems there is very little dextrose in each In the Raw packet. It lists “less than 1g” of “sugars”. Unlike Lakanto, which takes on the sugar-like granular form of the erythritol, Monk Fruit In The Raw is finer and more flour-like, like the other sweeteners.

    So with both the taste, as well as dextrose not being as neutral to blood sugar as erythritol, Lakanto is all around the better choice. The Monk Fruit In The Raw site says “Unlike some competitor products, Monk Fruit In The Raw® does not contain added table sugar, sugar alcohols (erythritol), or molasses. The main sweetening ingredient in Monk Fruit In The Raw® is simply monk fruit.” They speak as if “sugar alcohol” is a bad thing like the other sugars, and dextrose is the good alternative, and negligible as far as “sugar” is concerned. This is a common assumption. (Again, the glycemic index or net carbs/calories is what’s important).
    Again, the problem with Lakanto is the price.

    Not sure if I’ll give the remaining packets away (as I did with other packets I tried in the past year), or perhaps keep it as backup, at least for now, since I got this in place of a second bag of erythritol (I try to get two, for the whole month, at one time now).

    Another relative sweetness chart:

  8. Went to the Amish Market (near Ground Zero; right next to the site of the controversial mosque, which now looks like it’s being used as some sort of studio or something), wondering if an Amish market might have some sort of exotic sweetener.
    What I found was DiabetiSweet
    This is Isomalt + acesulfsame. Promises that it tastes like sugar, with no aftertaste. (Acesulfsame is often used with aspartame, so I associate it with the old sweeteners).

    Isomalt is one of the other sugar alcohols (polyols), but it has the warning of the bowel effects (erythritol is the only one that doesn’t have that problem, and of the others, xylitol is the next best one, and that has the effect), so that’s why this one is not worth trying..

  9. A wife’s friend (who once let me try her liquid stevia when she was at the house), now had brought over liquid monk fruit. It might have been this one:, it was that kind of little container, but I remembered it being gray, I think.Don’t know why I forgot to take down the info. Probably just excited about the new find).

    Herbal tea, was practically perfect. Hot tea with milk, like everything else, pretty fine. Iced tea, left the “null” effect, but without the aftertaste. She says this is sold at Pathmark, about $4, so I’ll probably skip the liquid stevia and go with this. Problem is, can’t mix up a batch with powdered erythritol. (Do see liquid erythritol/stevia mixes on Alibaba). So i’ll probably just alternate.

    Also, a similar product to Lakanto is Norbu:; but I don’t even see how to order this. (It seem to be in Australia only).

  10. Just used up the last of my original Vitamin Shoppe Stevia Extract in my latest batch of my stevia/erythritol mix. Lasted me an entire year, through MBTI certification class, alternate sweetener cakes, and the mix. Got the 365 version, which is the same thing.

    Also, was trying to get the liquid monk fruit for myself, and it was the Skinnygirl brand. In the Pathmark at Atlantic terminal, they had bought it all up, (but left all the stevia from that brand). Target had their stevia too.

  11. Here’s a good journal paper on A1C.

    Also, got the liquid monk fruit from the big Pathmark in Harlem.

  12. Found a new liquid stevia/erythritol sweetener under the Stop & Shop label. (Recall, I had seen one sold on the overseas trading site Alibaba, and had no idea I’d see one around here anytime soon). Since this is a store brand, I don’t know who makes it.
    In the sleepytime tea, it’s OK, but in iced tea and even hot tea, tastes like stevia or Truvia.

    Since this is liquid, and erythritol is used as a bulk agent for powder, I wonder why they put it in here, then. Perhaps to try to smooth off the taste a bit, but they really need a lot more (or less stevia) then. Again, stevia is the target substance, when maybe erythritol should be.

    Well, this will be my trial of liquid stevia, which I was planning to get next (until finding the monk fruit). The monk fruit seems much better.

    Otherwise, here’s a good plug for erythritol from this year:

  13. Another article pointing to arterial inflammation actually promoted by the low-fat diets:

  14. Just happened to see the news of this on a page from Tuesday’s Daily News lying in the train car:

    “To achieve the best balance of taste, calories and nutrition, this innovation features a proprietary blend of three natural sweeteners — monk fruit, stevia leaf extract and evaporated cane juice.”

    “Available in six flavors — Blueberry, Strawberry, Pineapple, Peach, Black Cherry and Vanilla”

    (No erythritol! Two “high intensity” sweeteners. [edit: that’s the collective term for these “super-sweet” sweeteners, as I later found out]. I wish people would trust erythritol more. Hope it’s enjoyable. Solid foods can get away with the aftertaste more than drinks).
    Evaporated cane juice is what I found in the old Keurig lemon iced teas while back, which I found is just another form of sugar, leading me to hunt down unsweetened tea and good lemon extracts to use with my own sweeteners. But inasmuch as I had been still eating the regular Chobani with sugar (my main daily source of sugar now), this will still be a good drop in sugar.
    Each 5.3-ounce single-serve cup of Simply 100 has 100 calories, 0g fat, 14 to 15g carbs, 12g protein, 5g fiber, and 6 to 8g sugars. Compare this to Chobani’s Fruit on the Bottom products, which have 120 to 150 calories, 0g fat, 17 to 20g carbs, 11 to 12g protein, 0 to <1g fiber, and 15 to 17g sugars.

  15. Hot on the heels of the Chobani announcement, Zevia now announces a line that adds monk fruit.
    And they even have a pie chart showing the percentages of stevia, monk fruit and erythritol!

    Only 3% erythritol. That explains why it doesn’t really smooth out the taste of the stevia. Monk fruit by itself is not as harsh as stevia, but still drops out to the null effect. So this mix may ease the stevia aftertaste a bit, but ti will still have that overall diet taste. They are afraid of erythritol, and had even reduced it, they once told me. People are afraid of it, because of the bad reputation the other polyols have gained.

  16. NYT puts out big article:

    The Quest for a Natural Sugar Substitute

    Doesn’t even mention erythritol, so I pitched it in the comments.

  17. With the money from selling an extra Nintendo3DS we had, Amazon give me a $70 gift card. Running low on sweeteners, I decide to finally try Lakanto white (previously, I had gotten the gold or “brown sugar” version).
    What I got was a 30 packet pack. (Didn’t realize it was packets).

    Two 3g packets was good for Winter Spice tea.

    Now, I looking into another stevia-erythritol mix, Z-Sweet. I had seen this awhile ago, and figured it was probably just like Truvia. But getting the sense that it has a different stevia-to-erythritol ratio (all 4g’s of the serving size are attributed to the erythritol!), I happened to call, and was told that it only uses a little bit of stevia —just like my mix! So this one I want to try now. amazon only had two 1 lb bags together, for $35. To get one bag, for $12, I have to sign up for Netrition.

    In other news, still not seeing the new Zevia or Chobani 100 anywhere yet.

  18. Lot of news today.

    Latest blood report (let’s see now how much 3 months of Drake’s return, plus the holidays and all the extra junk that brought has made things go up):

    Cholesterol: 200 (+28, now upper level of “ideal”)
    HDL: 42 (higher is better; this now actually puts it in the acceptable range for the first time);
    LDL (calc): 97;
    Triglycerides: 300 (+19)
    A1C: 6.3 (same)

    The report adds something saying that for the purpose of screening for the presence of diabetes:
    <5.7 consistent with absence of diabetes
    5.7-6.5 "prediabetes" (increased risk)
    6.5 diabetes.

    So again, continuing to look for new ways to try to eliminate the grains. (Thankfully, the euphoria of Drake's return has worn off, so I'm not as tempted to get them now. The other day, ran across this on TV: It shreds vegetables like squash into "spaghetti". I'm interested in trying it. Hope it can do a homemade lump of bean pasta dough, for another alternative. Now, if only they had one that could do a ziti shape (which is the form of pasta my wife makes the most).

    So hopefully, the new Chobani 100 will also help bring further progress and keep everything down. Still not seeing it anywhere. I even called, and they mentioned Target, but just went there the other day, and they still don't have it. Big supermarkets like Pathmark (A&P) and Stop & Shop (Ahold), neither.
    Also, just realized the new Zevia was not out yet. The FB page had a sweepstakes where you could be the first to taste it when it comes out.

    My wife and I have gotten into frozen yogurt parlors, with the new breed exactly like softserve ice cream (I remember us trying it 20 years ago, it it still had a more watery texture, IIRC).
    So far, we've tried
    Orange Leaf
    Off The Wall
    16 Handles
    Fruitti Yummy (which is near us)

    The latter has the vanilla as sugar free (using sucralose). Tastes just as good to me. (I see more and more that with milk products, the aftertaste is very livable. Like milk with tea is drinkable. Let' just hope this holds for the nonfrozen Greek yogurt! I've also been using my liquid stevia/erythritol and monk fruit on sweet potatoes, instead of agave or honey, to make them "candied". Even the bitterness of the stevia is fine, there).
    So I actually get mostly vanilla now, to cool it on the sugar. I’ll add a shot of a couple of others, usually cookies & creme and strawberry.

    The remaining one we want to try is Flavaboom, which I had tasted a while back (before we even got into frozen yogurt).

    I've found that the Lakanto White needs a lot (more than five packs) for iced tea. I tried helping it out with some of the liquid monk fruit, but then you need more erythritol.

    The Z-Sweet arrived (had to go through a whole production and basically camp out by the front window all day, and was lucky I was out sick, as the bell doesn’t work, and he apparently ignored the note I left on it the previous delivery attempt).
    It has that same "vanilla" smell as Truvia (it lists some proprietary "natural flavors" as well).

    It does otherwise seem to be better than Truvia, with less of the stevia aftertaste. Trader Joe’s ruby red chai tea was fine with two teaspoons (first time having it, but as these sorts of herbal”-type teas go, it’s what I expect of it when sweetened).

    For iced tea, my wife forgot and got me two of those Celestial Seasonings lemon iced teas, which I was using for awhile, but then found it had cane juice. She thought they were unsweetened. So I took them back and exchanged them for some new unsweetened tea K-Cups I saw: Lipton “INDULGE” “rich” black tea, and Twinings mixed berries iced tea. The black tea (with my more recent Sicilia liquid lemon flavoring added; when I run out of that, I had also gotten in that same exchange, True Lemon crystallized packs) with three teaspoons; the sweetness tasted OK but has the “vanilla” taste. Since this is “rich” black tea, it may even be better with regular black tea.

  19. The mixed berries iced tea tasted fine with the Z-Sweet. Again, the lemon iced tea tastes sort of like a lemon flavored dairy product (which use vanilla) —like lemon yogurt, basically. But orangeade was perfect. (Will try a real lemon and lemonade next) [Edit: regular Lipton tea with real lemon and the rest of the lemon for lemonade tasted practically perfect. Amazingly, no “vanilla” taste at all! Further edit: tried the Lipton INDULGE by itself for my hot tea with milk, and THAT was where the taste came from. That means the Z-Sweet is totally perfect after all, but the bad news was that I got that tea to use with lemon, so now I have to figure what to do about that. It is a really good flavor as hot tea with milk, so maybe I’ll just use that as iced tea, maybe will be nice other flavors like peach, but have to find peach flavoring].

    Milk tea I see also needs three teaspoons, but then tastes just like it’s sugar-sweetened. So these two are the way to go! Trying to buy two sweeteners for the month now, I’ll probably buy one of each to continue to compare. 
    Meanwhile, the True Lemon tastes fine. One pack is enough for a serving of iced tea.

    After all this time, I see the collective term for all the “sweeter than sugar” sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, stevia and monk fruit) is high intensity sweeteners”.

    And see, right on the heels of Wheat Belly was a similar book Grain Brain. Seems to be the same sort of information, so have to decide if I’ll get it.

  20. Doing some comparisons in tea, Z-Sweet edges out Lakanto a bit in aftertaste (more sweeter) but both are still good enough.

    Also, got this tiny shot of Lorann Oils peach flavoring, and it goes good with the Lipton Indulge Iced Tea.

  21. Tried Sugar Free HERSHEY’S chocolates (basically the single “panels” of a bar, individually wrapped, in a bag).
    This is sweetened by maltitol and another one I hadn’t heard of yet called polyglucitol.

    So it even has a warning on the outside about a possible laxitive effect for those “sensitive to sugar alcohols”. So, being careful with this one (a serving is five pieces, and has 20g of sugar alcohols).

    Tastes a bit like semisweetened chocolate.

    Other big news, I see they’ve finally slipped the monk fruit into the Zevia I had gotten a couple of weeks ago when they had them on sale in Whole Foods. I was looking for special new markings on the can, or even if being a whole new line, like the still missing Chobani 100.

    I had noticed that the Zevia, before adding the xylitol, had a better aftertaste. But for some reason,I kept forgetting to check the ingredients to see if they added it. Did just now, and bingo; it’s there.
    I still say more erythritol, (like using the Z-Sweet or Lakanto formulas), is what would really do the trick.

    Also, today, happened to try some of the Zevia with some of the Fruitti Yummi yogurt, and it does seem to make a decent float! (The soda was a bit flat from both dropping the can right before opening it, plus adding the xylitol. Next time, I’ll try it without xylitol, as dairy hides the aftertaste as it does with the hot tea. I even used to make floats with plain seltzer, which I could never drink by itself).

  22. Obama Administration Announces Sweeping Update To Nutrition Labels

    New nutrition labels proposed Thursday for many popular foods, including ice cream, aim to more accurately reflect what people actually eat. And the proposal would make calorie counts on labels more prominent, too, reflecting that nutritionists now focus more on calories than fat.

    For the first time, labels also would be required to list any sugars that are added by manufacturers.

    In one example of the change, the estimated serving size for ice cream would jump from a half cup to a cup, so the calorie listing on the label would double as well.

    They should add GLYCEMIC INDEX. That’s what’s ultimately more important regarding sugars, whether they’re added or not.

    Also, really going with Z-Sweet. All they had on Amazon this week was a 6 pack of the 1.5 pound bag, and I got that, so I should be set for months!

  23. Finally, saw Chobani 100, at the BJ’s.
    Tried the strawberry for now, and it does have a bit of the null taste, but not as unenjoyable as nondairy with high intensity sweeteners. Again, they should use erythritol, perhaps a ix of Z Sweet and Lakanto.

  24. FINALLY!!! Bean pasta with other shapes besides spaghetti!!product-list/c18gl

    Now, if we like it, I can finally progress in trying to further eliminate grains and see if that gets my triglycerides down more!

    Saw it at Whole Foods (was looking to get more black bean spaghetti; that was all out, but this line of products was there instead). At $8.99 a box, I got one red lentil and one black bean. There was also the rotini and fettuccine (I saw black only but they come in red lentil as well). Even the cashier said I’ll like the lentil one.

    Also, sent in my suggestion to the FDA. They sent an e-mail instructing me how to formally submit it on the site. This is what I sent:

    I think it is great that there is a proposal to revise the nutritional labels on food, such as specifying “added sugars”.
    However, I believe GLYCEMIC INDEX (GI) is what would be even more useful to be added. It tells you how much a food raises blood sugar, which is what’s ultimately more important regarding sugars (whether they’re added or not).

    “Eating pure glucose is given a ranking of 100 — all other foods are in relation to this. So a food with a glycemic index of 95 raises blood sugar almost as much as pure glucose, but a food with a glycemic index of 20 doesn’t raise blood sugar much at all. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the glycemic index does not take portion size into account.”

    I see that portion size will also be addressed in the proposed changes, which is very good. (i.e. grams measurements would no longer be divided into misleadingly small serving sizes).
    But as there are other foods besides direct “sugars” that will raise blood sugar, such as starches (which are often used in products marketed as “wheat free”/”gluten free” foods), this will be good to directly tell you if the substitute is really better, especially for diabetics. Currently, you have to figure GI from the other numbers on the nutrition label, and it’s hard to remember.

  25. Tried some of the lentil penne with spaghetti sauce with meat, and it passes completely, with me!
    But itself, it has its own taste, but with the sauce, it’s just like regular pasta to me. (The wife tasted one, but isn’t ready to replace wheat pasta 😦 ).

    At first, when boiling, it seemed to have more of that pasta slime, and once done, and strained, looked like it was already lightly covered by some cheese sauce or something. But I may have overcooked it. Once cooled, it had the normal pasta consistency. The reddish color even faded, so it was just like regular pasta.

  26. Suddenly on Fresh Direct appears this new sugar free yogurt: Sophie

    Ordered it on the spot; one of each!

    Uses xylitol and Reb A. Lists 9g of “sugar alcohols” and 5g of sugars (which it seems would be from the fruits used. The vanilla bean flavor has 0g sugars). So total carbs is 14g. It also has 0g fat!

    Trying the banana creme pie.
    Pretty good, though does drop off into the “diet” null effect though.

    Xylitol, recall, does not need help from stevia (or monk fruit) like erythritol does, but I guess they’re trying not to give too much of it. I’ll bet three of these in a day might start having an effect on you.

    Also, my wife saw Chobani 100 in the East Side health store where I got the Sicilia liquid lemon flavoring. So I won’t have to go down to BJ’s and get the bulk pack to get those.
    She suggested I show them the pack of Z-Sweet to see if they could order it. I had done that with the pharmacy in this area I had been getting NOW erythritol from (when they had it), and they said they didn’t do business with that company.

  27. Wife made the black bean penne in a chicken sausage and broccoli dish.
    Pretty much just like regular pasta, to me. Has a bit of a pastiness when being chewed by itself. But close enough for me. Also, stays black (unlike the red, which loses its color), and looks like burned crisp pasta. But doesn’t matter to me.

    Passing through Whole Foods, I see Bob’s Rd Mill has quinoa flour, garbanzo bean flour, black bean flour, flaxseed meal, and others. The almond flour was out. A lot of people had been asking for it.
    The company that makes black bean and soybean spaghetti also has other stuff like mung bean fettucine.

  28. Finally tried the Lakanto Chocolate “Vanilla Chill” bar. $6 for a 3½×2¼ inch bar, but I really wanted to try it. (It’s thicker than a regular Hershey’s, so hat’s why it’s the same weight).

    Tastes like almost unsweetened dark chocolate. I was never too big on dark chocolate anyway. I guess they should try milk chocolate.

    On the other hand, I’ve had all the Sophie’s yogurts, and the chocolate tastes pretty much OK, like pudding. The others, the same slight “diet” aftertaste, but bearable, and I would say, overall, better than the Chobani 100. So I’ll be sticking with this one!

  29. Deciding on having an extra cup of hot tea at work, I look in the cabinet for the monk Fruit in the Raw I had donated. It was there, but there was also a bag of Earth’s Pride stevia which has erythritol mixed in. It seemed to have less of the “null” effect, but the bitterness of the stevia stood out. Basically similar to Truvia.
    Seeing now that this is BJ’s brand label (trying to remember now if I saw it there and wondered about it), I imagine it is probably their own rebranding (it does have that same smell as Truvia).

  30. Getting another Sicilia lemon flavoring because Stop & Shop had run out of True Lemon, I’ve decided that Sicilia somehow cancels out the tea taste, and it tastes almost like pure water! I had sensed this wateriness before, but it was still a step up in flavor from the juices I was using before. But after tasting True Lemon, I have to be honest to say that it’s like water in comparison.
    I even stopped using Z-Sweet (down to out next to last bag. It;s going faster than I thought, because my wife has started using it!), and to save it, used the liquid stevia instead, as its bitterness actually made it more like tea.

    So I went out and found some True Lemon at Restoration Plaza. However this one is using long little 1g tube packets (like the Lakanto packets), and I find I don’t need that much lemon for one ‘thermos’ of tea. So I now make two servings at a time.
    Now I just have to decide what to do with the rest of the Sicilia. Maybe a lemonade or something?

  31. Missed this article from last winter giving the [normally “proprietary”] actual percentages of the sweeteners in Zevia:

    SweetSmart [Zevia’s sweetener mix] comprises 82% stevia3% erythritol…and 15% monk fruit extract.

    This explains why the taste is closer to pure stevia or monk fruit. To really smoothe out the “high intensity that goes null” taste and make it really taste like sugar, I found you need to basically flip that ratio, 1:250-300 in favor of erythritol. Apparently Z-Sweet and Lakanto are the only ones that do something like this.

  32. Time article covers what was pointed out here in the Wheat Belly and Great Cholesterol Myth reviews:

    Ending the War on Fat

  33. Really not looking well for Z-Sweet! With a retroactive check, I sought to order another 6-pack (that lasts for months), but that is out of stock, and so was everythign else except one three pack of 100 packet boxes. Now, there’s a two pack back in stock, but that’s $44 (which would be $22 each), and that’s a bit much, so I’m going for the packets.
    There is no answer at their number, and no activity on social media.

    That was the best one. Don’t understand why all of these other ones with too much stevia (or monk fruit) that don’t taste much different from the old aspartame are what line the shelves, and this one, which really does taste just like sugar, would be so hard to find, and then go under. Will never understand that market and people’s tastes.

  34. Should not forget to mention, what cropped up at the last minute, at WHole Foods:

    Zevia sparkling cider, both apple and pear:

    Like everything else, have to add more erythritol, though since it’s sparkling cider (which often isn’t as sweet as soda), it’s a bit more passable as is.

    Should also point out that all the Z-Sweet offers on Amazon are back in stock, so maybe it’s not going under, and that was just a slump in supply I saw awhile back.
    Still, they really should popularize themselves more, so that they could be the ones used on all these new stevia products.

  35. Finally got around to finding and trying Coke Life, the first major brand to use stevia.
    It still has sugar, but real cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

    This I believe helps save it from tasting like the regular “diet” version, and made it quite drinkable to me!
    It reduces the sugar intake for a 12oz can from 39g to 24g.

    I still wish they or someone would just try Z-Sweet (or Lakanto) by itself. You would have a sugar free soda that tastes probably just like this one.

  36. just found this page by the author of Wheat Belly listing a bunch of wheat-free (and starch-free; not just gluten free) flours:

    And here while I’m at it is an article on fructose:

  37. What a step back. A1C jumped up to 8.5 (like almost to where I began), and I may have been eating a bit more snacks (and had fallen into a daily rotation of three of the Drake’s products, Two Hostess and Little Debbie’s Banana Twins when a store is selling them individually from an open box), and an occasional splurge in cake and soda on a special occasion, but still, not much more than what I’ve been doing for the past two years, where the A1C remained in the 6 range.

    I determined it is likely from stress (also been erupting in follicle eczema on my arms, which was said to be from stress). Found the confirmation:

    The nerve and hormone signals get involved, causing the adrenal glands, above the kidneys, to release the so-called stress hormones—adrenaline, cortisol, and epinephrine. These act to elevate the heart rate and blood pressure; they also increase the level of glucose in the blood. The net effect is to increase the energy supplied to the cells, enabling the body to carry out its fight-or-flight response.

    Of particular importance to people with diabetes is the continual high blood glucose levels that are due to long-term stress. These patients already have problems with glucose utilization, so a vicious cycle ensues: an increase in the release of cortisol in response to continued mental or physical stress-causing events or conditions; followed by elevated amounts of glucose (brought about by increased levels of cortisol) to provide the energy needed for the fight-or-flight response; followed by an increased requirement for insulin (to process the glucose).

    So now, in addition to cutting back on the sweets, we’re also going to try (finally) to cut back on the starches. As the bean pastas are expensive, and it’s uncertain how much better the “gluten free” products (which still may have a high glycemic index from other starches substituted) really are, then, I’ll try more to have just meat and vegetables (the starches were like “filler, since they are the cheapest food. Funny how that works out).

    Other news, the trial run of Coke Life seems to be over. Didn’t drink it much, but it was a nice less sugary, yet good tasting alternative.

    Now, I’m trying “lemonade” flavored “liquid water enhancer” for my iced tea. I had been seeing this for years when looking for lemon flavoring, but was afraid it wouldn’t be strong enough, since, as just an “enhancer“, it sounded like it was designed to be that very slight flavor people add to water (like sticking a single unqueezed lemon slice into a glass of water. Also, those flavored waters. The taste is very subtle, and it’s nothing like lemonade). I asked the cashier if whe knew about it, and she said it “turns water into lemonade”, but when I asked if it would be good for iced tea, she said no. But I tried it anyway.
    One squirt, wasn’t strong enough, so then I overcompensated with a really big squirt, and it’s too lemony. But at least I know it will not be too weak. (I had still been using the lemon flavor packs, but as a single pack is really too much for a single serving, I was making tea for a week at a time. But now, I’ve againd found some more unsweetened iced tea K-Cups, an thus brewing fror a day at a time, whei I preferred to do anyway, and so needed a liquid flavoring again, and something easier to find the the ones I had been tryign before).

    It has sucralose (Splenda), and works well with the Z-Sweet sweetened tea that I usually end up adding a drop of stevia to anyway (to conserve the Z-Sweet).

    6 Healthy Sugars That Can Kill You

  38. Have been using liquid stevias, and finally got around to the NuNaturals I’ve always seen at Whole Foods, especially seing that it seems to be the purest, being “alcohol free”, and the only “other ingredients” being water, vegetable glycerine and natural flavors.

    This one has the best taste out of all of the “pure” stevias liquid or powder. So (having run out of erythritol) I began using it by itself in both hot tea with milk, and even other teas! It still has a “high intensity” taste, but a much better aftertaste. (Still will have to try it with iced tea and lemonades when the summer comes). I even add a shot to the Zevia (which I never used to do, not wanting to add more stevia), when out of erythritol!

    There was also Vitamin Shoppe’s “plnt”, which looks even more “pure” having only deionized water and vegetable glycerine. But while being fairly good, it does have the “licorice aftertaste” I used to hear about. Still better than other high intensity sweeteners with the total taste dropout, and I was able to use it by itself as well. I guess the “other flavors” in the Nu Naturals must be smoothing out the aftertaste. ($13 a bottle for the latter!)

  39. My wife saw the Nutri-Bullet minature blender somewhere, and decided to get one. So now we’re getting into our own home-made “smoothies” (as part of a money-saving effort, from buying stuff in eateries like the frozen yogurt we had gotten into).

    It’s surprisingly simple. There are two different cup sizes; you just fill them (making sure not to go above a line, which reportedly makes it stop working for good), screw the cap which has the blade in it on, and then place that on the base unit, which has the rotor, give a little twist, and in a few seconds, it grinds it all up.

    So we’ve been getting frozen fruit, like pineapple, peaches, bananas, etc. and she often adds vegetables like carrots, and even a bit of spinach. They taste surprisingly well (the fruit stands out much more than the vegetables), and if I want mine sweeter, I add my NuNatual stevia.

  40. I happened to stop by the NuNaturals site a while ago, and find they have a whole bunch of stuff, including flavored liquid stevias!

    So I ordered the lemon. Nice to have the sweetener and the lemon flavoring in one shot. I actually used it up by now, making my summer midday iced teas for work, and it was so hard to assess, this is why I put it off until now, to get a sense of it after multiple uses.
    It smells like real lemon, and is a bit oily. About three squirts to one serving, and it’s hard to describe, but you taste a bit of the tea’s bitterness, and the stevia’s bitterness. It’s hard to tell whether it’s not sweet enough, or not lemony enough. It almost passes, but I was afraid to add more, as to not use it up too quickly. So I would throw in a shot of the old 4C iced tea/lemon flavoring (which has sucralose) to help it out, and it would be fine. This is the first thing other than hot tea with milk I’ve used the NuNatural with.

    You can also use it by itself in water, to make a lemonade, and I actually found it somewhat enjoyable, though still not totally like regular lemonade! (But still, was saving it for the tea, and didn’t want to use up too much).
    There are other flavors, such as cherry vanilla, cherry, orange, vanilla, cocoa mint, cocoa syrup, baking blends, and “No Carbs Blend” is their own stevia-erythritol mix (which seems to be in powdered packets only. If the regular stevia tastes so good by itself, then I wonder how good the blend will be!) Have to try that soon, and interested in the cherry vanilla as well.

    • Using real lemons until I get another Nu Naturals lemon flavored; having decided that the reconstituted juices (Concordia, etc) basically cancel out the tea taste and make it taste like caffeine water.
      So this is the first time with real lemons, and it does have a bit of that “diet” taste, but not too much, so it’s still enjoyable.

    • OK, got two of the No Carbs Blend 3oz a few weeks ago now, and using it with the hot tea and the iced tea, and it was good with both. So today and yesterday, I finally got around to the “real” trial, the citrus-ade test (orange and lemon). The orange was pretty much perfect as orangeade goes, and the lemon, almost perfect, needing a bit more taste, but still being even and not having that “diet” dropout effect.

      So another great stevia-erythritol blend, to add to Z-Sweet and Lakanto.
      NuNaturals should really add this (and the lemon and others) to Whole foods and other stores.

      (And funny, not knowing anyone else who knew about these sweeteners, just today, a FB contact shared this Lakanto commercial):

  41. So now, sucralose brand Splenda moves into stevia/erythritol with “Splenda Naturals”:
    The difference they are highlighting is the addition of a Reb D to the usual Reb A, which apparently, should cut down on the bitterness.
    To me, it tastes pretty much like Truvia, in tea.

    It also, in passing, says “Erythritol is made primarily from dextrose using a fermentation process.” I knew it was made by fermentation, but never heard it described as being made specifically from [the sugar] dextrose.

  42. Here’s a good place to mention one of my long time food quirks

    OK, I stopped eating hot dogs when I was 10 (it’s been 41 years!), and for a silly “Aspie” reason. One day in 4th grade, we had them for lunch. I think I had something else that day, but this girl got sick and threw up. I didn’t see the resulting “chundersplats” (see This is what came to my mind when I first saw this battle cry back when the show they’re spoofing came out!), but imagined what it looked like from remembering hot dog vomit from before. That pink mush, just like this! As someone on the FB post I shared said, “yuck, yuck, yuck!”
    The negative association made the pungent smell repulsive as well (and sauerkraut I never liked; double yuck yuck, just from the smell of it), and I soon realized bologna was the same thing; a giant sliced hot dog, basically, and soon stopped eating that, as well as most beef lunch meats and sausages. Pastrami is the closest thing to it I’ll eat, and that sometimes smells too close for my comfort, but it seems to have the texture of real meat, along with corned beef. The same thing happened around the same time with pizza, but when grown, UNO’s got me to eat deep dish, and I also like my wife’s homemade pizza’s, but still generally don’t like corner pizza.

    Pork lunch meats and sausages I would eat for another ten+ years, until becoming influenced by sabbatarianism which upholds the Levitical dietary laws. I always remembered that first family trip to San Genarro, and that fat Italian sausage on a roll I ate there. (And we used to cook the thinner store bought ones at home as well). But these and ham were easily replaced by turkey products, and pork took on such a negative connotation, I saw no need to resume eating it once I stopped following the kosher dietary laws.
    (The common beef and pork mixture hot dogs and sausages taste more like beef sausages, so I didn’t like those either. Never tried chicken or turkey hot dogs, and from what I can smell, would be too much like regular ones, but do eat some chicken or turkey sausages, which my wife makes pasta/vegetable dishes with).

  43. A1C is back up, but triglycerides are lower than ever (less than 100 even)! Looking up to see what this means, I find this interesting Q&A:

    and also this:

    I figured there was a danger of the numbers going up, with the return of the real Yankee Doodles in April, right at the beginning of the 3 month red blood cell lifespan range (that’s what the timeline of A1C is based on), but still wasn’t eating quite as much junk as before, especially two years ago when it spiked back up.
    With the low triglycerides (which is tied more to fat and carbs), perhaps it’s from having less carbs than before, and all the watermelon and grapes we have. I have been having more water, and was taking the Metformin more sporadically, having seemed to hit a plateau. So now, my wife really wants to try harder to eliminate more carbs (pasta, rice ,etc.), and using stuff like bean or quinoa pasta more.

  44. Finally now tried making a “sugar free” version of the wheat-free banana bread my wife would occasionally make. Used the Pyure stevia baking blend (which adds maltodextrin, and looks like snow with bigger fluffy grains).

    Pretty good, and not terribly sweet, but I’m becoming used to things not always being so sweet, which is good. (But at least not like any sort of “diet” aftertaste. She did add a little honey to the mix, to try to reduce any bitter aftertaste).

    In other news, after the higher sugar reading, we’ve finally tried to really cut the starches from many meals. (Though she notes she’s bought us more sweets. It’s like making up for the loss of carbs).

  45. On QVC, we see Junior’s has come out with a sugar free xylitol line of Cheesecakes!

    QVC has the mini “Little Fella” size that I’m not seeing on Junior’s site; but they do have “samplers”, which are four quarter slices : “Flavors include Raspberry Swirl, Chocolate Swirl, Cappuccino and Plain. Made with Xylitol, Diabetic Friendly.”

    This and the whole plain are $46.95. (QVC price $54.99)

    The little ones come nine, but the price is not being shown now.“Little-Fella”-Cheesecakes.product.M11628.html

    • Stopping by the still relatively new Whole Foods in Williamsburg, after going to the nearby new Domino park (the former docking space of the big sugar factory, ever so ironically), I see they have the mini version of Junior’s sugar free cheese cakes (which I kept forgetting about trying).

      It to me tastes identical to the original!
      In the ingredients, the xylitol has now been replaced with maltitol, one of the other sugar alcohols. So there is total 2g of sugars, and 17g of sugar alcohols.

      Also in that little pocket is Martha’s Country Bakery, the really nice gem at Forest Hills, and also had another outlet in Astoria, which is expanding, and so now there’s one on Bedford and N1st.

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