Name that carb
- is it sugar,
sweetener or fiber?
- is it sugar,
sweetener or fiber?
The latest trend? Soluble fiber - AKA prebiotics. Many were recently approved by the FDA. Prebiotics feed probiotics. In your gut these fibers partly dissolve in water and the viscous mix feeds your gut bugs - the probiotics that are tiny living microorganisms, like bacteria and yeast. Food labels normally focus on where the fiber is from e.g., inulin from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke. It doesn’t matter it is from (unless it’s from an allergen). This is just coz corn got a bad rap. Instead, sadly the label doesn't have to tell you if the fiber is soluble (prebiotic) or insoluble, which behave differently in the body. Shame, as prebiotics may support helpful bacteria and other organisms in the gut. P.S. Widely used IMOs(isomaltooligosaccharide) is not a real fiber so is not on this list and is being removed from the market
What’s fiber? In the US the definition of dietary fiber on food labels includes BOTH fibers intrinsic in foods PLUS functional fibers that have been isolated or are synthesized. These are not included in UK or Canada. To qualify these fibers must have demonstrated ‘beneficial physiological effects in humans’. These fibers divide into soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fiber passes through us. Many of these are cellulose isolated from plant walls. These fibers are typically named after where they come from. We dislike just names being used on labels versus the kind of fiber they are e.g., pea fiber could be insoluble or soluble and thus has a different effect on our bodies!!
You say tomato, I say tomato. Did you know Fiber and Fibre are not the same? There is no globally consistent definition of what fiber is. Most countries do agree on fiber being non-digestable carbohydrates and lignin that are ‘intrinsic and intact’ in plants. The US also includes non-digestible ANIMAL AND plant carbohydrates so breast milk makes the list here but would not in UK or Canada. Fascinatingly ‘inherent and intact’ fibers, like fruit, don’t have to be tested for human benefit to make a health benefit claim. It's kinda strange as for example apples which are ‘a good source of fiber’ have 4.4 g of fiber and 25g of sugar, and high fiber claims are not allowed on high fat foots like avocado which has 13g of fiber and 1.3g of sugar.
Welcome to Allulose as the newest low cal sweetener - the FDA recently cleared it from counting towards total carbs or ‘added sugar’ on the label. Also worth noting that while sucralose has the ‘OSE’ suffix it is not a sugar like sucrose or fructose - the name is rather misleading! The rest on this list are existing familiar US approved artificial sweeteners. They are a great way to remove sugar from diets. However, there is some research that intense sweeteners may lead our brains to have a greater tolerance fo sweetness and lead to greater consumption of calories - in rats ;)
Most sugar alcohols can be identified by the OL on the end, but not all. We called this neutral evil as it falls half way between good and bad as half the carbs count and it is honest about what it is. That said the side effects for some can be pretty evil ;) please read the Amazon review for Haribo Sugar Free Gummy Bear
So called 'natural’ sweeteners are relatively new, and a result of industrial processing. Stevia comes from a plant but the original plant leaves can't be consumed without purification. The extracted compounds are many times times sweeter than sugar. This makes them great sweetener for many, but some people sense a bitter after taste. Because of this, and to bulk it up for use, Stevia is often combined with other sweeteners e.g., in Truvia with a sugar alcohol and in Stevia in the Raw and Pure Via with dextrose and maltodextrin. There is a safe upper limit set to consumption so don’t over so ir :) Monk fruit (Luo Han Guo) comes from a melon and is used similarly to Stevia but doesn’t have an upper limit for consumption. The last four on the list are actually proteins and act more like flavor modifiers. Only Thaumatin is US approved and Monellin is approved in Japan.
Many suggest avoiding products with ‘OSE’ on the label and it was a good assumption generally BUT some are actually sweeteners or fibers that have a low G (see above)I!! Maltodextrin, maltose, dextrose and glucose are arguably the biggest culprits as they have the highest GI and are super easy to make, and for example maltodextrin is also a handy food filler and a preservative. HFCS is not that different to sugar in GI but because it is often used in beverages the glycemic load is typically higher. Fructose has a relatively low GI but may be more harmful given it is only metabolized by the liver so may overload it ... not all sugars are the same. In the absence of better labeling - a simple answer is to avoid sugar!!!
Remember when sugar was simply named by ita use, what it looked like or where it came from?
There is a trend to imply that natural sugars are less bad, maybe even ok; that where sugar comes from makes a big a difference. But it's the same stuff, just with a different name and a story. There maybe trace minerals but these are negligible, and better obtained from food. And yes that includes honey and agave. The recent winner of the "most-obscure-sugar-name is "organic raw coconut nectar". It's sugar. Sugar can be extracted from multiple sources, including healthy sounding things like brown rice, but brown rice syrup has a glycemic index of 98 which is higher than table sugar at 65 and about the same as glucose at 100. Whaatttt!
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