The first step in removing sugar from your diet is to replace sugars added to food and drink with low-calorie substitutes. The best options are the all-natural sweeteners pure stevia and xylitol. Avoid using any products containing sucralose or aspartame as they have been linked to health issues such as brain cell excitation, neurologic disorders, elevated sugar levels and unwanted fat storage.
Why not Splenda?
Splenda, the brand name for sucralose, is prohibited on Dr. Simeon’s HCG diet. Other commercial forms or modified protocols for the HCG diet may allow for Splenda, but the follower of Dr. Simeon’s protocol does not for good reason. When Dr. Simeon created the HCG diet in the early 1950’s, sucralose had not been created. It was invented in 1976 and Dr. Simeon died in 1970. However, clinical nutrition experts such as Dr. Jonny Bowden explain that there is a concern about sucralose. Although it is calorie-free, sucralose can still raise you blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels trigger insulin. For the HCG dieter this has the counterintuitive effect of increasing unwanted fat storage.
Stevia is a genus of a flowering plant belonging to the sunflower (Asteraceae) family. The species, stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as “sweet leaf” or simply stevia is widely cultivated for its sweet leaves. It has been shown to have potential benefits in the treatment of obesity and hypertension because while used as a sweetener, the consumption of the plant extract has a negligible effect on the percentage of glucose (blood sugar) in the blood. Further, pure stevia is extracted using a process that only uses pure water to collect the finest, sweet parts of the plant.
However, buyers beware! Until recently stevia could only be sold as a dietary supplement in the U.S. as it was suppressed by “big food” companies such as Cargill and Pepsi. Once such companies wanted to use stevia as a sweetener in a variety of foods and beverages, however, the Food and Drug Administration stated that stevia was rated as “Generally Recognized as Safe” allowing it to become a food additive. However, big food doesn’t necessarily formulate pure stevia in its products. For example, in its product Pure Via, Pepsi now has dextrose (glucose) as its first ingredient listed and Cargill’s Truvia contains a corn-based sweetener called erythritol which while generally acceptable to the HCG dieter may not be tolerated by those with sensitivities to corn derivatives. A further concern with “big food” is how they source and process stevia. In Paraguay producers employ the pure water extraction methods found in pure stevia. However, some big food companies get much of their stevia from China, where quality control is suspect and the extraction method uses chemicals, alcohols and enzymes that can actually change the make-up of the naturally occurring stevia.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a naturally occurring sugar substitute. It is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegatables. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose with only two-thirds the calories and low in carbohydrates. Absorbed more slowly than sugar, it does not contribute to high blood sugar levels or the resulting hyperglycemia caused by insufficient insulin response. Further, a recent study suggests consumption of xylitol may help control oral infections of Candida yeast; in contrast to glucose and sucrose which may increase proliferation of the yeast.