Thursday, December 25, 2014

Working the Plan with Sweetener Allergies


    I've introduced a number of people to Trim Healthy Mama, only to find that they are allergic to ragweed, which means that stevia can give them issues as it is in the same plant family. Mind you the plan allows for use of multiple types of sweetener alternatives, stevia, erythritol and xylitol or blends of them like Pyure Organic Stevia or Truvia. It gets mighty expensive to try all the different options, we have. 


On Plan Sweeteners


    Stevia Extract is a natural sweetener derived from a plant. It is 100 times sweeter than sugar. Not all extracts are created equally. Some brands taste better than others depending on the processes they use to extract the REB A. Another thing that affects the taste of these extracts is the plants themselves, as with all plants the growing conditions, strains of the plant and elemental factors play a large role in the taste of the final product. Stevia is related to ragweed, which means that if a person is highly allergic to ragweed they may react to stevia as well.

     Xylitol is one of those sugar alcohols that gives some people gastro intestinal trouble (gas, bloating, stomach upset and frequent trips to the restroom) when used. It is also HIGHLY toxic to household pets. For those reasons we as a family have chosen not to allow it into our home. 

**Please note that many plan approved gums and candies do contain this ingredient so PLEASE keep it safely stored away from your pets.


Xylitol measures 1:1 with sugar and has no aftertaste.

 
    Erythritol is also a sugar alcohol, it IS SAFE for household pets, is not as likely to cause gastrointestinal issues and is many time mixed with stevia because it is less sweet than sugar. While erythritol can be used alone some people may experience a cooling effect on their tongue when using it (I do). Products that mix Erythritol and Stevia include Pyure Organic Stevia and Truvia.

                Erythritol measures 3:1 with sugar and can have a cooling effect on the tongue.

 

    As a family we have tried all of these options. After learning that xylitol can harm our pets Rick and I decided that it just isn't an option in our home with Sprocket who likes to sneak crumbs or try to drink your coffee when you aren't looking. 

    I bought NOW Better Stevia extract and have been using it to make a Stevia Sweet Juice Concentrate

     Using it this way removes the bitterness and allows me the option of a liquid sweetener for things like infused waters, good girl moonshine and sweetening tea. We also use Pyure Organic Stevia which is an all-purpose sweetener blend of erythritol and stevia extract.

 

Splenda

    Splenda is a sweetener that is not approved for Trim Healthy Mama. While it is referenced in the book it is not considered optimal for weight loss. There is a lot of controversy about this sweetener as it is in many sugar free items. I will say that this is a sweetener that I have and will continue to use for family members that are allergic to stevia.

    I do understand that this sweetener is honestly not the best choice however if I have to choose between using it or sugar … Splenda will win out. I have used this and products made with Splenda for many years, it is one of the only sweeteners that I have found which are heat stable, meaning that the flavor does not change when used in baking, cooking or candy making.