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Health and Diet Updates

May 30, 2013

Consolidating the further updates to both the sugar and carbs substitutes series
https://erictb.wordpress.com/2012/10/29/a-chronology-of-sugar-substitutes
https://erictb.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/the-next-step-carbs-and-triglycerides
here.

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.

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From → Health

60 Comments
  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: http://www.ehow.com/way_5185156_cooking-xylitol.html 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:
    http://www.dietitiancassie.com/the-truth-on-truvia
    http://www.bryanmarcel.com/truvia-and-purevia-are-not-stevia

    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:
    http://smallbites.andybellatti.com/simply-said-natural-flavors

  4. Ran across this article: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-08-29/health/os-artificial-sweeteners-20120829_1_artificial-sweeteners-blood-sugar-metabolic-syndrome 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, http://bodyecology.com/sugar-substitute-lakanto-sweetener.html#sthash.eWZR2qc1.dpbs 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:
    http://www.metro.us/newyork/news/national/2013/08/27/patent-confirms-aspartame-is-made-from-bacteria-feces/

    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. http://www.monkfruit.org/all-natural-process

    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
    http://www.livestrong.com/article/469232-sugar-dextrose-diabetes
    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:
    http://owlsoft.com/pdf_docs/WhitePaper/Rel_Sweet.pdf

  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 http://www.netrition.com/diabetisweet_page.html
    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: http://www.skinnygirlsweeteners.com/shop/monk-fruit-liquid-sweetener, 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: http://norbusweetener.com; 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.

    http://www.jspb.ru/issues/2011/N4/JSPB_2011_4_122-129.pdf

    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:

    http://authoritynutrition.com/erythritol

  13. Another article pointing to arterial inflammation actually promoted by the low-fat diets:
    http://myscienceacademy.org/2012/08/19/world-renown-heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease/

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

    http://chobani.com/who-we-are/news/2013/12/09/chobani-introduces-chobani-simply-100-greek-yogurt

    “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.

    http://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/chobani-releases-new-100-calorie-greek-yogurt:
    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. http://www.zevia.com/sweetsmart
    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
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/05/magazine/the-quest-for-a-natural-sugar-substitute.html

    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: http://www.buyveggetti.com 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
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/27/obama-nutrition-labels_n_4863510.html

    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!
    http://www.tolerantfoods.com/#!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 regulations.gov 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.”
    http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/faq/f/faqgi.htm
    http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/glycemicindlist.htm

    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
    http://www.sophieyogurt.com/

    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:

    http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/216006/zevia-intros-zero-cal-sweetener-blend-with-monk-fr.html

    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
    http://time.com/2863227/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:

    http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/04/wheat-belly-safe-flours/

    And here while I’m at it is an article on fructose:
    http://www.diabetescare.net/article/title/added-fructose-drastically-increase-type-2-risk

  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:
    http://www.diabetescare.net/authors/douglas-garner/is-stress-a-critical-factor-in-diabetes

    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).

    Also:
    6 Healthy Sugars That Can Kill You
    http://authoritynutrition.com/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 https://www.nutribullet.com 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! https://www.nunaturals.com/collections/nustevia

    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”:

    https://www.splenda.com/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
    http://www.shared.com/stop-eating-this-cancer-causing-food-immediately-2230892529.html/

    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 https://youtu.be/dqNsVQKS7R4 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:

    https://www.sharecare.com/health/diabetes/why-a1c-high-blood-glucose-levels-target-range

    and also this:

    https://chriskresser.com/when-your-normal-blood-sugar-isnt-normal-part-1/
    https://chriskresser.com/why-hemoglobin-a1c-is-not-a-reliable-marker/

    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!

    https://www.juniorscheesecake.com/sugar-free-low-carb-plain

    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.
    http://www.qvc.com/Juniors-%289%293oz-Low-Carb-Sugar-Free-“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.

  46. Went into one of those new “foofoo” stores that opened in the area, and saw Lakanto maple flavored syrup, and grabbed it. Had it on buckwheat pancakes over the weekend, and it tasted good to me, though my wife said she tasted bitterness. (She seems to have a heightened taste for that).

    Also had a packet of NuNatural chocolate syrup, that came with another of their products, and it too tastes good.

  47. Really bad season! After a 25th anniversary splurge (Key West; gotta have Key Lime Pie and all the other eat-out treats), plus the two holidays following, (and falling into an almost daily rotation of Suzy Q’s, Yankee Doodles, regular or fudge dipped Devil Dogs, which I had been doing even when I was getting lower results), I still wasn’t eating as bad as seven years ago, when this started and the A1C was 9.3, but for some reason now it shot up to 9.8! (From mid-7 in the summer, and I hadn’t eaten as much watermelon, less grapes, only little sips of the no sugar added Ocean Spray, and for the holidays, only had sips of soda rather than whole cups. I knew I was cheating, and it might go up a bit, but not like this!)

    The limit to carry passengers at work is 9 (they tried to put me on restriction back then, but I was able to argue my way into them bending the rule, but now it was way to over), so I had to endure over a month of random nonrevenue “switching” assignments, most at 5AM in the far away “Queens Corridor” (Forest Hills, etc), including on that coldest day, having to prepare an ice cold train in the yard, where the intercar barrier springs were not put up, and the doors to their compartments frozen shut. Luckily, in this day and age of Uber, I was able to knock an our off of awaking and leaving time most days (about 15 minutes driving, but close to two hours on buses and trains, especially with the L not running for G.O’s), but it was still basically night when I left. Spent over $100 on this, but helped by a discount I got for having a new account, and then finding the “Pool” service would usually still get me there on time.
    The one 9:30 AM job ended with an incredibly dangerous elevated layup position, where I, not seeing a better way out, took a roundabout path and encountered a narrow fiberglass walkway blocked by a “stock rail” (extra rails they leave laying around in the middle of the track), and had to crawl tie to tie over 100 feet with my flashlight in my hand, and over tie plates (where the clamps fastening the rail to the tie rest on), to a group of ties pushed together, since I have trouble stepping on bare ties with nothing but gaps between them, with the numerous obstacles such as the running rail and especially the third rail, leaving little place to step across. (And it was night and very cold, so I was a tensed up by that as well). Luckily, the train wasn’t coming for awhile!

    So after three weeks of a strict crash diet, cutting out all sweets (other than some fruits, also limited), and greatly reducing starches as much as possible; desperate to end this nightmare that was supposed to last three months, I wondered if by 3 weeks, the A1C would have dropped below 9. I asked around, and heard it was possible (with some falling as far as from 11 or 12 to 7 in that time period, though most of them were taking insulin and other stuff, in addition to the Metformin, which was all I was taking).
    I asked my doctor, and he actually refused, as did another I knew; both insisting I must wait the entire three month cycle for all of the glycated blood cells from the fall to be replaced by new ones reflecting the new diet. Quest Diagnostics, whose labs the doctors all send the blood samples to, I found has numerous clinics around, but will only take walk-ins with an order from a doctor. I then heard about CVS’s “Minute Clinics” would not only do it any time, but used an instant kit that actually resembled a daily glucose test, by pricking the finger instead of sending a whole vial of blood from the arm away to a lab, and producing a report right there. I also found a clinic chain called DocCare that would do it (and also had the same kits), and tried that one, and it worked! So 6½ weeks or 1½ month after the last test, and 33 days after I got the results and really clamped down on the food intake, the A1C was down to 8.3, which is still high, but low enough to gain my regular job back! (Breathing heavy and almost shaking as I waited, and made a big vocal sigh of relief when the assistant brought in the report and read the number!) By the end of the cycle at the end of next month, I should be back down into the 6 range, at the rate I’m going.

    I learned about something called “bias weight”, where the whole three months is the average; however, the last month carries more “weight”, and the last two weeks of that even moreso. This is probably what screwed me up in the very beginning, as my job annual medical was right after the holidays back then, but had moved to late January in the interim, and was now the beginning of January again. So Christmas carried the most “weight” in both ’11-2 and ’18-9, but not the other years. So by the end of January, the bad October cells had been replaced by fresh new, low sugar January ones. But the really bad November and December cells were still in there. But now, January carried more “weight”, and what initially “damned” me, now “saved” me.

    I decided to replace the 15-6g sugar Chobani fruit yogurts (which I heard were no good as the sugar “cancels out” the probiotic effect) with just plain (4g, and I’ve gotten used to this, and can add a drop or two of stevia [the really good NuNaturals] and even vanilla extract and it’s just as good as the pre-flavored and sweetened vanilla).

    I’ve also learned that I have to look at carbs too and not just direct sugars on the labels. I found that the glycemic index of rice crackers is actually high, and so will try to move from those back to flaxseed. (But then those I see have rice in them as well! Though I read the cheese I was eating with them would help cancel out some of the glycemic effect, in addition to this organic apple cider vinegar I began taking spoonfuls of by itself, due to the acid).

    Bean Chickpea pastas are much more common now, so we’ve replaced almost all pastas with them. Like the one I’m looking at now has 32g carbs, and I learned that this includes the separately listed sugars (5g for some reason; but ingredients are chickpeas, tapioca, pea protein and xanthan gum), and that fibers can be subtracted from the carbs, as they are actually themselves carbs, included in the count (just like sugar is). These total 16g. That leaves just 11g of other carbs (and 16 g of net carbs). With direct sugars, I would see that as a borderline amount (I like to keep the g’s single digit), and don’t know yet how much is too much, or how that even translate to “sugars” in the blood.

    What we really needed was glycemic index, or better yet glycemic LOAD (which takes into account serving size), but I have a hunch the food companies might have pressured the FDA to keep that of the labels when they redid them a few years ago, as it would better implicate a lot of the products that otherwise seem healthy when looking only at sugars. I’ve heard it suggested you didn’t need GI/GL as it can be figured from the other values, but it would be much simpler to just see that off the bat on the label.

    I’ve also discovered sugar free Russell Stover candies, which use stevia and maltitol (the latter, like the sugar free Junior’s cheesecake). I’ve also read about something called “keto bread”. If I’ve done the math right, they seem to have zero net carbs (the 7g listed is really from fiber), though I find this a bit too good to be true.
    Edit: this is from it using “modified wheat starch”, which passes through, undigested, just like fiber. Don’t know why they don’t use this more, or if there are any other drawbacks from it. “Modified” sounds like something that usually turns out to not be healthy.
    On the other hand, I find out that maltitol has a GI almost as high as sugar. This puts a damper on the “sugar free” candies and Junior’s cheesecake that use it, and is rather deceptive to pitch that as an decent alternative. I don’t know why they don’t use the 0 net carb erythritol, then.
    Also, gluten has nothing to do with blood sugar, and so “gluten-free” stuff is not really any better at reducing sugar (I guess we assumed it was). It’s good for people with allergies (namely, celiac disease), but not for diabetes.

    It was from reading Wheat Belly, that I got into focusing on wheat, and thinking anything else was better than that, yet the issue is really carbs, whatever their source (outside of fiber).

    I’m also hearing a lot about the “ketogenic diet”, which is similar to Atkins, but has more of a restriction of proteins like eggs and even beans, and also really emphasizes fat consumption. (I hear it’s bad for blacks, as we’ve had problems with fat aside from how much of it we already consume, but I can’t find any info on this. One person I asked suggested it was really “bad” fats that were bad for us, and keto is about consuming the “good” fats). It works by reducing the sugars in the body to such a level that it begins burning fat instead, as the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain in order to replace the glucose as an energy source.
    Sounds good, as it’s naturally good for body fat loss, though it’s hard to stick to.

    Also, we just discovered 365’s Riced cauliflower, which adds a bit of its own taste, but still a good enough substitute for rice for me!

  48. Looking again into maltitol, and taking greater note of “glycemic load” (GL), even over glycemic index (GI). Even though maltitol has a high glycemic index, the actual glycemic load is low: http://sisanasweeteners.com/glycemic-index-sweeteners-chart-comparisons/index.html (with erythritol added to table)

    Sweetener Name Category GI (Glycemic Index) Carbohydrates (per 25g serving) Glycemic Load (per 25g serving)
    Agave Nectar Natural / Caloric Sweetener 15 20 3
    Aspartame Artificial Sweetener 0 23 0
    Coconut sugar Natural / Caloric Sweetener 54 25 13
    Dark Corn Syrup Natural / Caloric Sweetener 90 24 21
    Dextrose Natural / Caloric Sweetener 96 25 25
    Fructose Natural / Caloric Sweetener 21 25 5
    Glucose Natural / Caloric Sweetener 103 25 25
    Golden Syrup Natural / Caloric Sweetener 63 21 13
    High Fructose Corn Syrup Natural / Caloric Sweetener 73 19 14
    Honey Natural / Caloric Sweetener 58 21 12
    Isomalt Sugar Alcohols / Polyols 2 25 0
    Lactitol Sugar Alcohols / Polyols 3 25 0
    Lactose Natural / Caloric Sweetener 46 25 11
    Locust Honey Natural / Caloric Sweetener 32 21 6
    Maltitol Sugar Alcohols / Polyols 26 25 6
    Maple Syrup Natural / Caloric Sweetener 54 18 9
    Rice Syrup/Rice Malt Syrup Natural / Caloric Sweetener 98 20 19
    Saccharin Artificial Sweetener 0 22 0
    Stevia Natural Sweetener 0 25 0
    Sucralose Artificial Sweetener 0 23 0
    Sugar (Sucrose) Natural / Caloric Sweetener 60 25 15
    Tagatose Sugar Alcohols / Polyols 3 25 1
    Xylitol Sugar Alcohols / Polyols 7 25 1
    Erythritol Sugar Acohols / Polyols 0 5 (“0.2 per gram”) 0

    There’s also Maltitol syrup which has a higher GI (52), and 3 cal/g as opposed to regular maltitol’s 2.7 (and sucrose’s 4). There are also different forms of maltitol syrup: “intermediate”, “regular”, “high” and “high-polymer”, which have slightly different values. Two of the syrups “have a GI greater than 50. This is a higher GI value than that of spaghetti, orange juice, or carrots.” (http://www.mendosa.com/netcarbs.htm)

    One of the most glaring examples of the greater importance of the GL is that carrots (one of the universally recognized healthy foods) end up as high [>70] GI (91) [low = <55], but are really low [<10] GL (1) [high= >20]

    It reminds me of electricity, where GI is like the “voltage” (pressure), and GL is more like the actual “current”(amps). We often look at the voltage, but if there’s little current, then the voltage isn’t as potent.

    I don’t know which form of maltitol is used in the Junior’s and Russel Stover products.
    (A related substance listed on the page is “polyglycitols”, made from maltitol and other polyols such as sorbitol).

    But together, the maltitol and sorbitol syrups and polyglycitol are part of a family called “hydrogenated starch hydrolysates” (HSH) and claimed to have zero net carbs http://www.nutrientsreview.com/carbs/hydrogenated-starch-hydrolysates-hsh-polyglycitol-maltitol-syrup.html
    Find it hard to believe.
    Not finding direct glycemic load info on the syrups; sites discussing the diabetes and health benefits or concerns of maltitol just mention the high glycemic index, not recognizing the greater importance of glycemic load. This database entry: http://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?num=2472&ak=detail says that “Lycasin® HBC, syrup containing 50-55% maltitol, 5-8% sorbitol and 35-40% hydrogenated oligo-scaccharides” (which looks similar to the composition of the “maltitol syrups”, and so could possibly be what is being referred to under that category, or perhaps polyglycitol) has a GL of 5 (GI is 47, which is close to the syrups), so I guess this gives a good idea.

    What I’ve gained, from asking, is that GI is about the speed of glycemic response, where GL tells you directly how much carbs you’re actually getting (i.e. the “net” carbs). The speed might be more important for watching out for spikes, which is probably more of a danger for those with more advanced diabetes (where it’s completely out of control, and the glucose rises and drops sharply). Just to control A1C levels (to keep it from getting that bad), it seems the GL is better.

    The above page also explains what carbohydrates really are:
    one carbon atom links one atom of water. Their composition is CxH2xOx”

    Then, you always hear of “calories”, which is defined as the heat energy involved in warming one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. For With regard to food, it’s what’s known as “food energy” (which is itself a kind of “chemical energy”, “the potential of a chemical substance to undergo a transformation through a chemical reaction to transform other chemical substances”) “that animals (including humans) derive from food through the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration may either involve the chemical reaction of food molecules with molecular oxygen (aerobic respiration) or the process of reorganizing the food molecules without additional oxygen (anaerobic respiration).” (Wikipedia).

    This is important, because when not burned, this “energy” produces fat.
    This page: https://www.diabetesdaily.com/blog/type-2-diabetes-remission-what-is-it-and-how-can-it-be-done-618604/ says “According to one theory, the ‘Twin Cycle Hypothesis,’ when extra fat is deposited in the liver due to weight gain, fat accumulates in the pancreas and impairs insulin-producing beta cells. Many believe that reducing fat in the pancreas through overall weight loss helps restore normal insulin production.”

    Here’s the process of what insulin does:

    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/

    When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood.

    •As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage.

    •As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall.

    •When this happens, the pancreas start making glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar.

    •This interplay of insulin and glucagon ensure that cells throughout the body, and especially in the brain, have a steady supply of blood sugar.

    Carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes.

    In any case, I’m really getting used to less sugar. Had to try the new hazelnut M&M’s (which was about 20 or so g sugars for a serving size of half of the larger pack), and where before, I would have “inhaled” the whole pack in minutes, I tasted one, and was satisfied, and actually not craving even that much sugar, rather than wanting more; and then later had a few more spread out over the course of two days, and gave the rest away.
    Also, had just finished another banana bread, and noticed that the almond flour used for it is low carb (where all of those other alternate “flours” I had so found refuge in [chick pea, bean, etc] and even quinoa are relatively high carb, low fiber! This, from adding starches, like from rice and potato). I even dropped the Rice Thins and Mary’s Gone flaxseed, which also adds rice flour; in favor of “Flackers”, which are OK, but in rather small packages.

  49. OK, nice new zero or near zero net carbs products, tried! 2019/05/04 at 5:21 pm

    I already mentioned “Zero Carb Bread” (actually the brand; see above). It’s actually part of a line of products, Thin Slim Foods, out of Princeton, which includes “Impastable” pastas and a line of little cookies and muffins.

    I started seeing this stuff on my FB feed everyday, and now looking tit up, found that it’s carried by a health food store on 7th Av. and 14th St. So they had the fettucine, a few of the pastries, and the breads (which are basically basically frozen solid).

    https://www.thinslimfoods.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=10&products_id=63
    For the pasta (fettucine), the carbs are 44g, but 36 of this is fiber! (says 129% of daily value). So it’s really 8g net carbs!
    The ingredients of interest are oat fiber, wheat fiber, wheat protein, and durum flour.

    So what I tried were a vanilla glazed cookie and a blueberry muffin (Also small, at 56g). The sweeteners of both are erythritol and inulin (the basic ingredients of Swerve), and they also have oat fiber, along with modified corn starch and almond meal. (Across the board, almond is turning out to be the best substitute for baked products).
    The texture of both is pretty fair, sort of like a biscuit. The biggest problem is they’re small, and yet $2.99-$3.99. Hence, why I only got two for now.

    https://www.thinslimfoods.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=21
    The cookie (36g carbs, fiber 20g, sugar alcohol, 13 g, and 1g total sugars), for a total of 3g net carbs.
    It was soft, but kind of had not much taste to it (wonder what the coconut cookie I almost got instead tastes like), but was sweet enough to satisfy a sweet craving, at least for me, in this state I’ve reached, where I’ve gotten used to zero sugar products.

    https://www.thinslimfoods.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=43
    The muffin (20g carbs, 8g fiber 10g sugar alcohol, 0g sugars, for a total of 2g net carbs).

    It has a funny bit of a candy taste, and an aftertaste comparable to something like a berry flavored cough drop. May sound yucky, but hey; I’ve seen people use cough drops as candy, and it was edible.

    I take it, this gives an idea of what the bread is like. The store only had the basic sliced bread and bagels. I really don’t eat much bread by itself, but would like rolls for burgers, which they have on the site.


    The other thing I kept seeing on the FB fees was Virgil’s Sugar Free Soda. I had long wanted to try other sugar free sodas besides Zevia (never did find that “Blue Sky” anywhere, which seemed to be the only other brand at the time).
    I found them listed as being at Rite Aids, but when I went to the nearest one, and picked up a bottle of cream soda, l find it has cane sugar. The brand also has their line of “Handcrafted” sodas which are not sugar free. So it’s certain Targets that carry the sugar free, which come as a box of six (I guess they’re really moving away from plastics, hence no ring holders). First, I found the root beer, which to me was almost as good as regular root beer. Much more of a savorable taste, including the aftertaste! (Has a bit of the diet taste, but far better than everything else I’ve tried). I really enjoyed it as much as a sugary drink!
    Then today, found the cola (in the same circuit where I picked up the Slim Thins), and this too, tastes more like cola than Zevia! (Had begin getting the Zevia again regularly, since it’s carried by one of the delivery services now, likely Prime, IIRC, and the cola seems really bland. Seemed this way ever since they dropped the color, but I’m thinking it might be a perception caused by the color or lack thereof).

    Virgil’s uses stevia, erythritol and monk fruit. Which is the same combo Zevia was supposedly using, but I notice, I’ve stopped seeing the monk fruit in the ingredients, so it looks like they gave up on it for some reason. But Virgil’s apparently must be using more erythritol, which is the key to a better aftertaste, even more than piling on more high intensity sweeteners.
    Next, the cream soda, black cherry and orange!

    Also, should mention, while looking in the Rite Aids, I did notice Red Bull’s “The Pear Edition”, Sugar free. It actually tastes like real pear! (even though it says it’s artificial, and in the ingredients, natural and artificial). It uses sucralose and asulfsame. and has the diet taste, of course, but the realistic taste more than makes up for it. (Have to look and see which other flavors come sugar free. Saw lime today). At $3.75 for 12oz; it’s not something I’ll be getting alot, though.

    And I’ve added banana and lime extracts (regular McCormick’s) for variety in flavoring the plan yogurt. In the summer; I’ll have the lemon stevia (used for the iced tea) as well. (It seems like the don’t have cherry anymore, and I hadn’t gotten to try it yet, but now they do have orange).

    5-6 edit: and also showing up everyday in my feed, and I found quickly is the FatSnax line of cookies

    https://fatsnax.com/
    (says on site “May attract cookie monsters.”)


    They were carried at the Vitamin Shoppe, and they had opened up boxes to sell the packs of two separately. Most there were peanut butter (don’t like peanut butter snacks), one pack of lemon left (these are apparently the most popular), and one box of chocolate chip. The sales person opened that up for me. Also want to try that lemon as well. Again, $2.99 a piece, though.
    Pretty much the same as the ThinSlim cookie. Has stevia in addition to inulin, erythritol and the rest of the ingredients, and so tastes similar to the baked snacks we’ve made with stevia. (texture is much better and more like a commercially produced cookie, though).

    5-7 update: the lemon really are very good! The tangy flavor largely covers up the stevia/inulin taste! (Though that taste does linger much longer than the flavor).
    But again, this is enough to help satisfy a sweets craving).

  50. Now have tried Virgil’s orange! (The store ran out of creme). It too has a much richer initial taste than Zevia; and is almost like a regular Sunkist! The taste drops out, of course, but much more gently, and the overalh taste is much less harsh than aspartame.
    So I know I’ll like the vanilla cream and black cherry!

    I had also noticed this site, https://www.lindasdietdelites.com which seems to be related to ThinSlim, and has a lot of nice looking stuff including cake donuts with creme, but uses “maltitol crystalline”, yet subtracts ALL of the “sugar alcohol” carbs, not realizing maltitol still carries a [nonzero] glycemic load.

    When I asked about it (wondering if that “crystalline” variant was a special kind of maltitol they found), I got this response:
    “The net carb method we use is not sugar alcohol source specific. That said, we provide full nutrition and ingredient information so you can modify your calculation of net carbs how you like.”

    Not sure what that means. I guess it’s saying it’s not only the sugar alcohols, which I knew. My point wam that one sugar alcohol by itself does likely add sore carbs that are reported there.

  51. Just had the Impastables fettuccine (with pesto). Tastes just like regular pasta, to me! (Impastable! But then the cost is, too!)

  52. Trying more of the stuff from Linda’s Diet Delights (I guess they’re really just a seller, not a baker). The “donuts” (flat, and so really more like creme filled cookies) are actually by Chatila’s Bakery of New Hampshire. https://www.sugarfreebakery.net/

    They’re really good, and really don’t have much of that diet taste at all! The creme tastes like homemade butter creme!
    They no longer have maltitol listed in the ingredients, but rather xylitol now instead. Xylitol’s GL is 1 (see table, above comment), but I guess that’s considered negligible.
    For the first time tasted the chocolate version of these low carb cakes (the Thin Slim muffin), and it too was good, and more natural tasting than the yellow cake products. (I imagine adding creme filing to create a low carb Yankee Doodle!)

    Edit: had gotten that, not being able to wait for the chocolate with vanilla creme Chatila donut, which I didn’t know was already waiting on my doorstep (along with Pumpkin, lemon, vanilla cake with chocolate creme). So I ate the other stuff that came, and the Thin Slim cinnamon muffin I brought home, first.
    Again, the actual flavor really is comparable to Drake’s devil’s food! When I first saw the pictures of them (With the creme center exposed) I had hoped it could possibly be like a low carb version of Drake’s. Even my wife compared it to a “light” Devil Dog taste (and wasn’t fazed at all by the stevia, which she doesn’t like, and you really can’t taste in these). The consistency is a bit denser, and drier; the latter along with the “lighter” taste probably being what makes it resemble Drake’s.

    Not finding Virgil’s vanilla and cherry anymore (and Amazon prices are seriously gouged!), I tried the lemon-lime. It basically tastes like lemon-lime sodas other than 7-UP, which is really the only one I like. So not to my tastes, but good in its own right as a replacement.

    Also see Whitman’s has a big sugar free chocolate sample, which is just like Russel Stover, but has some different varieties.

    Also seen now how to convert the “macronutrients” (carbs, along with fat and proteins) to calories (the more common nutritional value):

    1g protein contains 4 calories
    1g fat contains 9 calories
    1g carbohydrates contains 4 calories

    A macro goal chart I had been sent says that respectively, daily intake should be 40%, 35%, 25% (this one seems to be less common, and called “Get Lean” lower carb. Keto has fat highest, and other macro charts have carbs as highest).

  53. Now, finally, got the Lakanto pancakes (waffles, actually, with a mini waffle iron my wife got for them), —to go with the Lakanto syrup I had already gotten.
    Like all this other stuff I’m finding, good enough for me!

  54. GREAT, GREAT NEWS!!!

    A1C down to 5.7 (lowest it’s ever been in these past 7½ years, and on the border between PRE-diabetic, and NORMAL!)

    So I’ll definitely be sticking with what I’ve been doing!

    On that front, the Chatila’s eclairs are great, and just yesterday got the Linda’s Diet Delights Low Carb Biscuits —my first low carb bread (not cake or cookie) product. (They were sent via PayPal to an old address from over 13 years ago, so I had to go over, and knock on the window of a total stranger, and at first, he didn’t see it in the hallway, but as I was leaving then, found the package. I worry about how long these things sit around in the delivery process, and it might not be the best idea to order them in the summer. Even the the ice packs in the eclair box were totally hot!)
    So the biscuits taste pretty much like a less tasty (less fatty, and thus less softer) version of a Popeye’s biscuit, which is enough for me! (It still maintains a bit of a that buttery taste by itself). These things, even as limited I am in getting them, help avoid the temptation to get the regular high carb stuff.

    (I was also going to order Chatila’s swiss roll cake slice, but with the cheapest shipping at &16, and the products being packages and not singles (like those “donuts” I tried before were), would have been almost $50!)

  55. Just got the Chatila swiss rolls. Delicious, and doesn’t even taste like diet stuff at all! (the cream was chocolate also, though I had hoped for vanilla, and tasted like pudding).

    Now I’m really interested in trying these fancy looking full cakes they have on there, but again, the stuff arrives hot in the summer. (My wife said the delivered box was left out in the sun, and she brought it in as she went out, and again, the ice packs were hot).

    Also got NuNaturals’ orange stevia as an additional flavor for the plain yogurt (of course, the flavor and sweetener in one shot) and also, pumpkin syrup, as I ran out of the Lakanto syrup and still have some of the waffle mix left, and so it was the best time to try that. (Got a jump on the fall season when all the pumpkin flavor sweets come out). It has a very strong cinnamon taste, like you’re eating one of those holiday pine cones. Next day, when put less on, it was much better.

    Had ordered the Virgil’s black cherry from a site selling a 4 pack of bottles for only $8.99, but it was cancelled, as they didn’t really have it in stock. So still waiting

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