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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 559
   Posted 5/18/2007 6:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I'm new to this particular forum. I do post often on the Crohn's disease forum (because I have Crohn's disease) and I don't actually have diabetes. However, just a couple of days ago I came across something which I really think could help people here.

As I understand it, diabetics must control their insulin levels, which means you've got to avoid high carb foods, especially sugar. I am also trying to reduce my carbs, because high insulin levels cause inflammation, and Crohn's is an inflammatory bowel disease. I've been on the Zone Diet for 4 months, and I'm getting good results.

Now to the point of this post. If you'd like something sweet and can't take sugar, you've got to make do with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin. The trouble is that saccharin is a strongly suspected carcinogen, and aspartame has even more serious issues. If you didn't already know that, see this:

So what to do? Turns out there is something called "stevia", a natural herb. The sugar industry succeeded in getting it banned in the USA as a food, but it can still be sold as a dietary supplement. So you'll never find it in the food section of a supermarket, though you might find it in the pharmacy. Several companies in the USA make it, and you're most likely to find it in health food stores, but it can also be bought online. It does cost more than aspartame or saccharin, but it's not outrageous. There is an excellent Wikipedia page on stevia (and note that there IS a health controversy about it):

Assuming that you decide you want to give stevia a try, this page has more info (note: they are plugging their own brand of stevia):

I didn't buy that one, though I'm sure it's OK. Instead, I bought this brand at a healthfood store for $8.50 (a box of 100 packets):

While I am not going to swear that stevia is harmless, I think that it would be prudent to trade off between artificial sweeteners, rather than just using one. You might want to use saccharin one day, aspartame the next, and stevia the day after. You know the old saying about not putting all your eggs in one basket.

So I'll leave it at that. I'd be interested in hearing the comments of others.

best regards,
Crohn's since 1988
3 resections

Post Edited (ozonehole) : 5/18/2007 7:50:18 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 234
   Posted 5/19/2007 5:39 AM (GMT -7)   
Stevia is now becoming available in some supermarkets as a sweetener. I have seen it in one local supermarket and at Walmart. I have been planning on giving it a try. I have had chewing gum made with stevia. It was pretty good chewing gum. I don't believe artificial sweeteners are a high risk of health problems used in moderate amounts for most people. There are some people though who are very sensitive to artificial sweeteners. I have used artificial sweeteners for 27 years and have had no related problems. However, I don't use a lot of any kind of sweetener except for my diet pepsi. (That's my weakness.) I just don't like most things to be extra sweet. One box of sweetener can last me at least a year. Apart from when I bake for Christmas or other special occassions I never use sugar. I do keep those things in the house for guests though. Most of our "sweets" we pick. We have raspberries, cherries, apples (several varieties), peaches, plums, grapes, pears and persimmons all growing here.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Shouldn't I be invincible by now?

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 152
   Posted 5/19/2007 5:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Stevia at is much cheaper.

Lanie G
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 5979
   Posted 5/19/2007 6:16 AM (GMT -7)   
I have a stevia plant in my herb garden.  For two years now I've been able to find these plants at local nurseries.  The stevia plant is advertised as "the sugar plant" or "the sweet plant".  I've crushed some leaves for iced tea but I find it takes a lot of leaves to sweeten it.  If anyone has used the fresh stevia leaves, I'd appreciate some advice on how to use them effectively.  Thanks.
"pre-diabetic" controlled so far by diet and exercise

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 5/19/2007 7:18 AM (GMT -7)   
You need to watch those packets because some brands are cut with maltodextrin which raises my BG.  I love stevia and use it to sweeten my tea and greek style yogurt. i only use the liquid type. It only takes 2-3 drops so those bottles last a very long time, and it's quite economical in the long run. The chocolate raspberry makes that yogurt taste like dessert. sandy

I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

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