The Healthiest Sweetener

The Healthiest Sweetener
4.39 (87.86%) 28 votes

There are two sweeteners that are actually good for you.

Discuss
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Now there are sweeteners that do have some nutrition. This new article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association measured the antioxidant content of a whole list. Which is healthier? In alphabetical order: agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raw cane sugar, plain old sugar sugar, or turbinado sugar.

Here’s the graph. Two actually have some significant nutrition, but the rest are pretty much a wash. Let’s start filling this in. Should we start with an easy one to launch us off? Table sugar versus raw, pure, organic agave nectar. Which is worse? Does sugar have less nutrition? Or does agave nectar have less nutrition? Or do they both have the same? Remember how I asked if we should start out with an easy one? Well, I guess the answer is no. They both have exactly the same nutrition—which is to say, basically none. Sugar is here; agave is here. Each with a completely pitiful two millionth of a mole of plasma ferric acid-reducing ability—which is essentially zero antioxidant power.

There’s one sweetener with even less, though. Now all those down at that end are basically just empty calories. But out of curiosity, which has even less nutrition than sugar?

Ten left to choose from. Which one was all the way down at the end? Least nutrition. 

Now we knew corn syrup was here, remember? Same as sugar. They’re all empty calories, but brown rice syrup measured out as the emptiest.

Which is worse? Honey? Or maple syrup? Or the same? Well, they can’t be the same, right? There aren’t two bars left the same size. Both still sugar, but honey beats out maple syrup.

In fact, all these down are basically just sugar—whether dark, light, raw, or turbinado. There are only two health-promoting sweeteners—only two sweeteners that are actually good for you: molasses and date sugar. They’re both good, but out of curiosity, which one falls to second place. Do you think molasses is less healthy than date sugar? Or does date sugar fall to second place?

The healthiest sweetener on the planet is date sugar. Date sugar is not really sugar; it’s just whole dried dates, pulverized into powder. As the only whole food up there, no wonder it’s number one. It’s the only thing I ever use in baking. Because it’s a whole plant food, it has fiber, though, so there is a thickening effect—which is great for smoothies or hot chocolate.

But what if you want to sweeten your tea or coffee? You don’t exactly want thick tea. Now you could add sugar, but then you’re adding empty calories, and if you drink as much tea as you really should, that can add up.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Now there are sweeteners that do have some nutrition. This new article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association measured the antioxidant content of a whole list. Which is healthier? In alphabetical order: agave nectar, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, date sugar, dark brown sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, raw cane sugar, plain old sugar sugar, or turbinado sugar.

Here’s the graph. Two actually have some significant nutrition, but the rest are pretty much a wash. Let’s start filling this in. Should we start with an easy one to launch us off? Table sugar versus raw, pure, organic agave nectar. Which is worse? Does sugar have less nutrition? Or does agave nectar have less nutrition? Or do they both have the same? Remember how I asked if we should start out with an easy one? Well, I guess the answer is no. They both have exactly the same nutrition—which is to say, basically none. Sugar is here; agave is here. Each with a completely pitiful two millionth of a mole of plasma ferric acid-reducing ability—which is essentially zero antioxidant power.

There’s one sweetener with even less, though. Now all those down at that end are basically just empty calories. But out of curiosity, which has even less nutrition than sugar?

Ten left to choose from. Which one was all the way down at the end? Least nutrition. 

Now we knew corn syrup was here, remember? Same as sugar. They’re all empty calories, but brown rice syrup measured out as the emptiest.

Which is worse? Honey? Or maple syrup? Or the same? Well, they can’t be the same, right? There aren’t two bars left the same size. Both still sugar, but honey beats out maple syrup.

In fact, all these down are basically just sugar—whether dark, light, raw, or turbinado. There are only two health-promoting sweeteners—only two sweeteners that are actually good for you: molasses and date sugar. They’re both good, but out of curiosity, which one falls to second place. Do you think molasses is less healthy than date sugar? Or does date sugar fall to second place?

The healthiest sweetener on the planet is date sugar. Date sugar is not really sugar; it’s just whole dried dates, pulverized into powder. As the only whole food up there, no wonder it’s number one. It’s the only thing I ever use in baking. Because it’s a whole plant food, it has fiber, though, so there is a thickening effect—which is great for smoothies or hot chocolate.

But what if you want to sweeten your tea or coffee? You don’t exactly want thick tea. Now you could add sugar, but then you’re adding empty calories, and if you drink as much tea as you really should, that can add up.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

For more on dates, check out these videos:
How to Reach the Antioxidant "RDA"
Spicing Up DNA Protection

And check out my other videos on sweeteners

For further context, also see my associated blog posts: The Best Foods: test your nutrition knowledgeIs There a Safe, Low-Calorie Sweetener? and Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

301 responses to “The Healthiest Sweetener

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    1. Dear Dr.Greger,

      Good Evening, how are you? The video you created about various sweeteners is wonderful and informative. I would like to ask you about two different sweeteners. The first sweetener is Barley Malt. According to Eden Foods, Barley Malt is 76% maltose. The other sweetener is Raw honey/Fermented raw honey. I am interested in using the fermented raw honey, not the basic one. Here is my question: are these sweeteners suitable and nutrient rich for daily use?

      Thank you for taking time out of your hectic schedule to respond to this comment, I am very grateful.

      Product Links:

      http://www.edenfoods.com/store/images/products/nlea/104050.gif

      http://www.edenfoods.com/store/index.php/condiments-sweeteners/organic-sweeteners/barley-malt-syrup-organic-glass-jar.html

      http://www.reallyrawhoney.com/category_s/44.htm




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      1. I really enjoy your site, your videos and the time you spend educating us!! THANK YOU!!
        Can you share your thoughts about coconut sugar? I’m a diabetic and I’m just looking to sweeten my oatmeal in the morning with a small amount of sweetener. I love my blueberries in there but just want a little bit more. I have watched your sweetener videos as well. Thank you again.




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        1. Hello Terri. Thank you for your question. I am a family physician with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. Here is a recent internet article I found on coconut sugar, by authoritynutrition.com, which is an evidence-based nutrition website that seems to have well-researched articles: https://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-sugar/.
          It gives a good introduction to coconut sugar. My own takeaway message after looking at Dr. G.’s video (above) and reading the article I mention here, is that every type of refined sugar is still mostly sugar — i.e. mainly sucrose, glucose, and/or fructose. Some of them have a few minerals, maybe some fiber, maybe some antioxidants. Even date sugar, which grades out as the best available sweetener, per Dr. Greger, is still mostly sugar.

          As a diabetic, you need to avoid all foods with a high glycemic index (i.e. foods that cause your blood glucose level to spike). Unfortunately, this includes coconut sugar, and even date sugar. These both have a lower glycemic index than table sugar, for sure, but you still shouldn’t eat large quantities. I would recommend using any sweet whole plant food — such as raisins, or berries of any kind; because these have lots of fiber, which blunts the spike in your blood glucose level.

          Personally, I’ve found that adding nuts (e.g. walnuts), or ground flaxseed, adds a little sweetness to my breakfast cereal. Also, for every unhealthy substance that I have tapered way down on — including salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, I find that I actually lose my cravings for the substance, the more I’m able to taper down my usage.

          I hope this helps.
          Dr. Jon
          PhysicianAssistedWellness.com




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  1. Since seeing this video, I have been trying date sugar in my breakfast food. It seems to take a lot of date sugar to sweeten to my satisfaction and date sugar is pretty spendy. I’m willing to spend for a good cause (my health), but I’d like to minimize the expense as much as possible. Does anyone have recommendations for relatively affordable date sugar? Would this be one of those foods where it is very important to get organic?

    Thanks!




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    1. Just grind up whole dates. It might be easier to make a paste. Dates are about 2/3 sugar, so you do have to use more. You can grind up other dried fruits too.




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    2. Best way to use dates for sweetening is to get dry dates, and soak them overnight in water, covering them well. Next morning you will have soft soaked dates that are ideal for using in smoothies or any blended food. You will also get a sweet dark liquid which is ideal to add to teas or lemon juice. Don’t use Medjool or Deglet Noir dates, but rather use the other varieties that are dry when you buy them. Best to get stoned dates unless you want the job to de-stone them!




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  2. This does not address the very important information of how the body’s blood sugar reacts to the sweetener. This claims that brown rice syrup has no nutritional content; however, I’ve read quite the opposite and that, in fact, it is one of the best sweeteners as it does not cause the blood sugar levels to spike the way sugar and most sweeteners do. Would really appreciate clarification on that.




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    1. The fact that a particular sweetener does not effect blood sugar is not the deciding factor on whether or not the sweetener is healthy. Brown rice syrup is composed of about 50% complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly in the bloodstream than simple carbohydrates but it has all of its nutrients removed. Brown rice syrup is also about half as sweet as sugar but with the same amount of calories, forcing you to use more of it. The reason why date sugar is best is because all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber is still intake.




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      1. Hi Avgi,

        I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question. I am not aware of any research that evaluates the safety of sweeteners in people that already have cancer. However, I would suggest that all sweeteners (except for perhaps date sugar and molasses) be avoided, if possible. An individual with cancer needs every bit of antioxidant and immune function possible. So I would focus on foods that promote the immune system and antioxidant power, rather than on foods that can harm an already vulnerable body. I know this may not be the answer you’re looking for, but ideally, no sweeteners should be used aside from those found directly in nature.




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    1. The fructose content of agave syrup is much higher than that of high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup contains 55% fructose while agave nectar syrup contains 90%. Fructose does not impact insulin levels as much as sucrose, but it is still not optimal to consume fructose outside of fruit that one would eat whole.




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  3. Dr. Greger,
    I am a big fan of the nutritionfacts.org. The other day I was watching a video about the healthiest sugar and you named date sugar because it is made using a whole food and it has fiber. I had my wife find some when she went to Portland, OR. She brought back organic date sugar. Dates are the only ingredient. It is in a granulated form. It even has a warning that there may be pit fragments. When I looked on the nutritional label, it says, “Dietary Fiber 0g (0% DV)”. Why would that be?




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    1. Hello Luis!

      To answer your concern, the daily value will always say 0 if it is under .5 grams per serving. You will notice, presumably, many servings for your date sugar. I see some in the upper 100’s. Since it is a whole food, it has fiber. It will just be under .5 grams per serving due to the many servings per container. To see more on serving sizes view this video http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great-bad-killer-fats/
      Hope this clears up your question!




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    2. Maybe the following article will make you happy on top of the wonderful video of Dr Greger:

      Israel’s pomegranate is packed with health benefits.

      Health benefits of the pomegranate
      are well known. Now, Israeli scientists have shown that the
      combination of pomegranate juice and dates along with their pits provide
      maximum protection against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup or hardening
      of the arteries), which can cause a heart attack
      or stroke.

      A
      number of risk factors are involved in the development of
      atherosclerosis, including cholesterol oxidation, which leads to
      accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall, according to the
      team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

      Natural
      antioxidants can slow down the oxidation process in the body, and serve
      to reduce the risk of heart attack. For the past 25 years, Professor
      Michael Aviram, of the Rappaport Faculty
      of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, and his research team have been
      working on isolating and researching those antioxidants, in order to
      keep plaque buildup at bay.

      Dates
      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells.
      Photo courtesy of Hadiklaim Israeli Date Growers Cooperative

      – ISRAEL21c –
      http://www.israel21c.org

      Pomegranate-date cocktail winning combination in keeping heart healthy

      Posted By
      Viva Sarah Press On April 23, 2015 @ 8:10 am In | No Comments

      Israel’s pomegranate is packed with health benefits.

      Health benefits of the pomegranate
      are well known. Now, Israeli scientists have shown that the
      combination of pomegranate juice and dates along with their pits provide
      maximum protection against atherosclerosis (plaque buildup or hardening
      of the arteries), which can cause a heart attack
      or stroke.

      A
      number of risk factors are involved in the development of
      atherosclerosis, including cholesterol oxidation, which leads to
      accumulation of lipids in the arterial wall, according to the
      team of researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology

      Natural
      antioxidants can slow down the oxidation process in the body, and serve
      to reduce the risk of heart attack. For the past 25 years, Professor
      Michael Aviram, of the Rappaport Faculty
      of Medicine and Rambam Medical Center, and his research team have been
      working on isolating and researching those antioxidants, in order to
      keep plaque buildup at bay.

      Dates
      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden arterial cells.
      Photo courtesy of Hadiklaim Israeli Date Growers Cooperative

      Going
      into the most recent study, the team was aware of the individual
      benefits provided by pomegranates and dates. Pomegranate juice, rich in
      polyphenolic antioxidants (derived from plants),
      has been shown to most significantly reduce oxidative stress. Dates,
      which are rich sources of phenolic radical scavenger antioxidants, also
      inhibit the oxidation of LDL (the so-called “bad cholesterol”) and
      stimulate the removal of cholesterol from lipid-laden
      arterial cells.

      Prof.
      Aviram had a hunch that since dates and pomegranate juice are composed
      of different phenolic antioxidants, the combination could thus prove
      more beneficial than the sum of its parts.

      In
      a trial performed on arterial cells in culture, as well as in
      atherosclerotic mice, the Technion team found that the triple
      combination of pomegranate juice, date fruits and date pits
      did indeed provide maximum protection against the development of
      atherosclerosis because the combination reduced oxidative stress in the
      arterial wall by 33% and decreased arterial cholesterol content by 28%.

      The
      researchers report that people at high risk for cardiovascular
      diseases, as well as healthy individuals, could benefit from consuming
      the combination of half a glass of pomegranate
      juice (4 ounces), together with 3 dates. Ideally, the pits should be
      ground up into a paste and eaten as well, but even without the pits, the
      combination is better than either fruit alone.

      The findings were published in
      Food & Function, a journal of The Royal Society of Chemistry.




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      1. Stevia can be purchased as dried whole leaf (which I have experienced years ago as tasting awful). I have found certain brands of white powdered stevia tastes great. However, I would think that those who plant stevia in the garden might have the superior nutrition which green leaves tend to provide as part of the package.




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  4. How about whey-low? It is a combination of fructose, lactose and sucrose, I believe (please check me), and supposedly has a much lower glycemic index than regular sugar because of the way the sugars work together. Any harm?




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    1. The harm is found in those side effects associated with glucose and fructose. Whey-Low has the added harm connected with milk protein (whey), which, to me, would decrease it’s popularity among health conscious individuals. This product’s lower glycemic index (if it does), does not out-weigh the whey!
      Research the side effects of whey. See how these various sugars rank in this video:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/sugar-vs-corn-syrup/




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      1. Whey is one of the best things you can possibly put into yourself. There is no “harm” from normal whey intake.

        Whey protein is a very available, very easily used protein… which is why it is used by all serious athletes, everywhere.




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        1. actually, muskratboy, whey is an animal protein used in many reliable and valid studies that have shown that even a small amount of animal protein leads to a high risk of developing a “diseases of affluence” (diabetes, heart disease, cancer). Eliminating animal protein consumption actually can cause reversal of disease. Interestingly, plant-based proteins do not have the same effect as animal proteins. There is mountains of research to verify this, stretching back to 1909, but I will direct you to the book called “The China Study”, written by T. Colin Campbell. Consuming whey or any other animal protein is simply a dangerous, high risk behavior with consequences.




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          1. And of course, you know that the China Study was focused on meat animal protein, and had nothing to do with whey protein, which is a totally different thing.

            They’re talking about meat, man. Not refined milk protein.




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            1. China study was not focused on meat animal protein strictly, it focused on all animal protein including dairy. Have you read the book? How else, please tell me, how he came to the conclusion that all animal protein was indeed dangerous to health? You are on the wrong site because every one of us will be in opposition to your opinion. Incidently, not all serious athletes use whey. Serious vegan athletes use real food of plant origin, not extracts or supplements, whey being essentially a waste product of certain dairy products from the milk of our poor, tortured dairy cows. You and your serious athletes are suckers for the dairy establishment to fatten their wallets in buying their waste products. Not a thing is left unused you know if it will make profit. I see ignorance in your statements. Why don’t you do some research so you can make educated statements by truly knowing the information coming from each side (plant based, animal protein based diets) ?




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              1. ok, first off, if you want anyone to ever listen to anything you say, reel back on the attitude. Being a jerk is never going to earn you anything.

                Secondly, whey is not a waste product of anything, any more than cheese or butter is a waste product.

                Besides, using every part with no waste is a good thing. Why would you want to waste food?

                You’re right, vegan athletes don’t use whey. So honestly, we can only say that 97% of all athletes use whey, not all of them. Excellent point.

                I have heard of leaky gut… Which has nothing to do with whey. If you want to blame all your hypochondria on whey, feel free… but that has nothing to do with reality.

                Whey protein is the cheapest, most readily available, most easily digested protein for the vast majority of people, and making up horror stories about it isn’t helping anyone. I’d say educate yourself, but clearly your glass is already full. The fact that you think meat and whey are exactly the same thing just shows your irrationality about the whole thing.

                Nix the attitude, read some actual information, and stop spreading ridiculous stories about a bunch of nonsense.




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                1. whey is definatley a bi-product of mainly the cheese industry. they used to toss it, now they dont … no big deal though, i personally dont need protein n have always been an advocate on not using it. the person you were replying to did not say that whey causes leaky gut, they were referring to the china study which points out animal proteins, could be whey, milk, meat, has been linked to causing it. i personally believe everyone is different n if you want to eat meat thats fine. make yourself aware of where your food comes from n how it gets from pasture to your plate. i find it ridiculous on how we treat animals in the us, n raping cows to get milk n abducting there young just to raise in a cage as veil or live another tortured life of impregnation n then go through the same cycle , its sick. but either way one thing is true no matter who you are. processed crap like whey or even plant proteins n other processed “food” is not optimal for anyone n may actually cause most these ailments our world deals with. i have problems with the china study . the fact that esselystein or whoever turns on and off cancer. liver cancer i believe, is believable for a rat cause he proved it. but now the “dogma” is that meat turns on cancer. noooo way, thats some china whisper shit happenin from the china study n now the whole world is mislead, even the vegans. how bout we all just believe no one. try everything, even going vegan n eating alot, go raw for a few months, then try meat again, i personally have done this and wont go back to meat. my digestion, complexion, weight , just everything is better for me.. so dont get an attitude yourself there buddy , n be open to absolutley everything




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                  1. I think whey has less of the cancer promoting methionine in it, where as cheddar cheese and other cheeses get more methionine after the milk is separated into that which cheese is made from and that which whey is made from. I researched this years ago, when I was horrified that my daily protein shakes could be cancer promoting in the long run. I loved my whey shakes but gave them up because I learned that the antioxidants in the fruit I was using was less available. When a calf Is growing 600 pounds in 6 months, it is as if the energy in the cow milk is saying “allow absolutely nothing that interferes with growth!”
                    I was in the Bill Phillips muscle challenge years ago and one of the things Bill Phillips wrote in his Magizine is that his diet program was for growing muscles,not for longevity.




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                2. How is any part of a fluid produced and secreted for the specific needs of a baby cow even remotely something you would care to ingest, unless you were starving and desperate, custom aside? Unless you would get under that cow and suck her udder for whatever unimaginable reason, ingesting anything related to cow milk is just as ludicrous. THINK, don’t be a lemming with the masses, or let brainwashing and personal preference negate your intelligence, which you obviously have.




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                  1. Nice repulsive picture you’ve painted there though it’s based on philosophy, not physiology or biochemistry. I am not an unintelligent lemming. My belief is that raw, full-fat milk from clean grass-fed cows is fine and nutritious to humans. The damage is done by the middlemen, industry (hormones, antibiotics, heating, homogenizing). That’s why I don’t drink milk – I don’t have a cow. I drank Alta-Dena raw milk throughout the seventies in California, maybe 1-2 quarts a week. It was “Certified”, meaning all production facilities were inspected as hygienic by the the state Health Dept. I’m 72 now – no diseases, no Rxs.




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                    1. Philosophy and aesthetics? No, it is fact and reality…very much based on physiology and biochemistry. No other animal drinks milk past infancy for a reason… there is no need for it. Taking it from another species is even more aberrant. I respectfully submit that just because we learn a behavior that we enjoy and it supplies satiety, that does not make it fine or nutritious just because we choose to believe it is. There are loads of studies about the detriments of milk, from causing Type I diabetes in children and beyond, to other auto immune issues, cancer, heart disease, and so on. You can find a slew of them here, with their scientific citations.

                      I’m glad you have no diseases, you are lucky. I smoked two packs a day for 40 something years and I am extremely lucky also to be alive and relatively healthy at 63, but should I “believe” that it was a good idea or health promoting because I enjoyed it and lots of other people did it too? Even though when I started smoking we were told it actually was good for you! Hmmm…

                      Why would you think sucking a cow’s udder is repulsive, but drinking her milk is not? It isn’t a matter of semantics, teats are nature’s milk dispensers, put there for the sole purpose of enabling baby animals of that particular species to suckle nutrition from their mother! A lactating cow is not some kind of inert handy beverage vending machine for humans. It is a sentient mother bovine who is making natures perfect food for her offspring…a species specific mucous secretion full of everything a growing calf needs, provided for them before they are able to digest other types of food. That is a biological fact. My ideology has no bearing on it.




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                    2. I can’t argue with the pointed sarcasm of “A lactating cow is not some kind of inert beverage vending machine for humans”! These chats though should always distinguish what’s being talked about … is it philosophy or physiology? Because many statements mix them together and become incoherent.
                      Problem w/me is I grew up w/dairy in my diet plus at this point I need all the fat I can get at 5′ 8½” and down to less than 125 (for several reasons). I really want to weigh 15 lbs more. So I’m consuming organic butter blended w/olive oil, ghee, organic kefir, organic full-fat yogurt (along w/olive oil, coconut oil and coconut milk and homemade almond milk). But no cow’s milk.
                      I also smoked but stopped 35 years ago.
                      I actually don’t know for myself how long I breast-fed as an infant (mother is passed). But this with what you say makes me wonder … Theory: Human breastmilk and cow’s milk have a different BUT OVERLAPPING array of nutrients, and many in cow’s milk are beneficial to humans. (I get you are saying there are negative molecules as well EVEN FROM 100% ORGANICALLY GRASS-FED with zero hormones or antibiotics. Right?) So the first hypothesis from the theory that comes to mind is :: The more one is deprived of breastmilk in infancy, the more one will desire cow’s milk in adulthood(?). I doubt there’s a study but it’s testable! Or it could be that the mother’s breastmilk of adult milk drinkers was nutrient-deficient and their bodies are always trying to “make up”. More hypotheses can be generated and tested …
                      Hope you’re having a warm dairy-free Christmas.




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                    3. Sorry, I guess I sound like a raging militant “vegan”, but I’m not. Health misinformation nearly led to my demise because I trusted those in the know…to know, but they often don’t. What I didn’t know almost killed me.

                      Looking back, I apparently have always had issues with animal products, they didn’t like me, and eventually, the feeling was mutual. Milk for starters was never a favorite, but when I was growing up, there was no way you could get past drinking it…mother insisted! It literally made me sick, and in school I used to give my seatmate my carton, until my teacher caught me and made me drink it. It was especially bad on an empty stomach, but I choked it down…and.it came back up a short time later, all over my poor seat mate’s nearly finished exam! I felt so bad, but I told the teacher that was why I gave it away, and after that, she looked the other way and didn’t even tell my parents! LOL. The whole point is dairy didn’t agree with me, maybe more so than most, but for a good reason… it isn’t meant for us. Not everyone has an overt issue with it I know, because we are so amazingly adapted for survival, but survival is not health. Since all nature cares about is that we make it to pass on our genes, if we want to extend our lives, we have to take good care and since what we put into us is what we are, to know the best nutrition facts. (Ahem, a plug?) We are sold a bill of goods from those who profit from our acceptance and compliance.

                      When I started smoking, it was a healthy habit, doctors recommended their favorite brands! I was quite the addict, and eventually found out what they pretty much knew all along…not a good idea! Not everyone got cancer or emphysema, but the effects were far less than healthful! It’s the same with some things we ingest. We like it, and don’t want to stop eating it or believe it isn’t healthy. But the info is out there, (much to the chagrin of its promoters), and to make the best choices, we need to know the actual truth.

                      Some of the more recent studies on the amazing qualities of breast milk are profound! Here is just one, but it really drives home that milk is such an intricate, species specific, perfect infant food for so many reasons, not a beverage!
                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812877/




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                3. Um, no offense but I think you are the one who needs to garner some actual information and stop spreading ridiculous stories about a bunch of nonsense. Whey is a by-product of cheese making, which conveniently morphed into a trendy hook for profit on the gullible unfortunates and wanna be muscle heads who still think excess protein is of some benefit. http://nutritionstudies.org/no-whey-man-ill-pass-on-protein-powder/ Please, help yourself to it if you so desire, but take the inane propaganda elsewhere. Like the man said, you are on the wrong site. The people here are intelligent and educated in studies and scientific facts, not blogosphere recycled opinion posing as legitimate information.




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                  1. Yeah, you seem intelligent and educated. I mean, protein = excess protein, right? They are the same thing? If someone is taking whey, they’re taking excess protein by definition? And these ‘muscle heads’ … who spend most of their lives using supplements, studying what works best, experimenting on their own bodies… they’re all wrong? And the thousands of athletes who supplement… they’re all wrong too?

                    “In all probability, their deaths were a result of too much protein consumption, coupled with the use of performance enhancing substances day after day until their organs failed.”

                    Do you realize what a nothing, nonsense, absolutely garbage sentence that is? In all probability? Coupled with “substances?” That sentence says nothing, means nothing, and just shows that guy is perfectly happy to just make stuff up. In all probability? Come on.

                    I’m not sure you realize how ironic it is for you to use the term ‘propaganda.’ Really, that’s hilariously ironic.




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                    1. See, most intelligent people get all their necessary protein from real FOOD like we evolved to do, not supplements. which you apparently do. That implies you either don’t know how to eat, OR you eat well and take in excess protein via supplements. Get it? Do you even know what a healthy amount of protein is and what biological function it has that you feel the need to supplement with it (because all those smart athletes do), let alone what is excess? Didja know that we were once told cigarette smoking was a health benefit, and even doctors recommended them and had favorite brands? Products exist because someone makes a profit.
                      So good luck with that. Bye bye now, enough trolling, and have fun experimenting!




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                    2. Whey is a real food. Obviously. And people who eat whey aren’t less intelligent, again obviously. Perhaps people who link whey consumption and intelligence might be considered less intelligent, however.

                      And, of course, supplementing protein isn’t necessarily “excess” protein unless it is, in fact, excess. Where the protein comes from doesn’t designate it as excess. Again, I’d think, obviously.

                      But yes… I do know the answers to all those things you ask. The Internet makes it pretty easy to know information about your simple questions, no matter how condescendingly you ask them. I also don’t go around having opinions about things I don’t know anything about, as that would be silly.

                      But sure, I can play this… Do YOU know the “healthy” amount of protein for an athlete, or someone who is trying to gain muscle, vs. someone who sits around all day? Do you know the importance of complete branch-chain amino acids? Do you know the importance of highly available protein to rapid muscle recovery and growth?

                      Did you know that comparing protein from milk sources, which behaves exactly the same as any high-quality protein in your body, to cigarettes is utterly ridiculous and irrelevant?

                      If you are trying to add muscle mass, it requires a lot of building blocks. You can get them from “real food” or from whey sources, and it builds the same muscle. And since it can be hard to eat enough healthy “real food,” supplementing whey protein is an easy and perfectly healthy way to make sure your protein intake is optimal.

                      Note, optimal. Not excess. The source of the protein has no impact on its excess (obviously)… you can eat excess protein in “real food” if you try.




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  5. This information is wonderful, thank you! I do have one question, though, because I’ve been hearing from a lot of sources that Sucanat is a generally healthy sweetener. For someone that is pretty much avoiding everything that is unhealthy, would Sucanat be ok to use in baking cookies? I can’t seem to get date sugar to make them sweet enough.




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    1. Hi Veganteen, Sucanat is only healthier because unlike refined sugar, it isn’t filtered through animal bone charcoal! Use Sucanat for your occasional treat. Try applesauce, orange jc concentrate or dried cranberries as alternatives. Have fun experimenting!




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  6. Hi, Thank you for all your wonderful videos.
    What is your opinion on Manuka Honey? Is it good for us? Do you know where it would fit in the line up of this video?
    Thank you in advance for your reply.
    Kind regards, B




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  7. In some of your recipe suggestions, such as your hibiscus punch, you suggest using erythritol. I am reluctant to feed my daughter (age 6) any artificial sweeteners, even those like erythritol that appear to be harmless. I’ve had trouble finding date sugar, though I do plan to try to make my own. While I realize some other sweeteners have fewer antioxidants (brown sugar) or none (agave), would there be any harm in using these sweeteners in otherwise health-boosting recipes for someone who is not overweight?




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    1. You always want to try to boost your family’s nutrient to calorie ratio, and those sweeteners are basically just a bucketload of empty calories. If you have a good blender you can blend some (pitted) dates in and don’t have to worry about finding date sugar.




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    1. Yes, please address coconut palm sugar, It seems to be no different than white table sugar, with the exception of being less refined and therefore having some nutrients and a claim of a lower Glycemic Index; however, the lower GI claim is suspect as it is based on a small Philippine government study (main supplier).




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    1. Iodized salt is actually ok, as long as you keep your daily sodium intake 1200-1500 mg or less per day you will be just fine. People who are at high risk for heart disease, or people trying to reverse it should keep their intake at 500 mg or less.




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      1. Iodized salt you buy at a regular grocery store does contain a form of aluminum (sp?) to prevent caking of the salt, which you may want to avoid, and yes I think Toxins has the mg count of allowable sodium intake about right—so if you can control your sodium intake using only a little, using some salt is ok. Actually, Dr. McDougall thinks the recomendation from the medical estalishment to lower salt intake to decrease blood pressure and to improve heart disease, is used as a “scapegoat” to avoid revealing the real culprit of disease–high dietary fat intake, which most people seem incapable of doing (almost universally). I believe Dr McDougall’s recomendation for acceptable salt intake may be higher than that of Toxins in the comment above, perhaps up to 2000 mg for healthy people.




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          1. Just my first thought… Could be because he’s always searching for information and wondering if this poster knows something that he hasn’t seen yet.




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      1. If this is true, only in miniscule amounts. Certainly not enough to warrant using it in excess amounts. I think it is just pretty, that’s all but it does not contain iodine as far as I know.




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    2. Herbs, that’s really about it, unless you want to try potassium salt (only if you don’t have kidney disease) but I have no idea what it tastes like. As far as I know there is no fake salt that closely resembles the taste of real salt but I could be mistaken. You just have to learn to eat food without it which many people do. Same with sugar, there is no such thing as a substance that tastes just like sugar that is not actually sugar–including eryrithritol (sp?) which approximates the taste of real sugar most closely but not exactly like sugar. It has a minty after taste and is definitely less sweet in equal proportions to sugar. Plus pretty darn exspensive if you use it a lot in cakes, smoothies, whatever on an everyday basis. We just gotta get over our fat, sugar, salt addictions…plain and simple.




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  8. Jeff Novick who works a lot with Dr Mcdougall, points out that if you read the label on packaged date sugar, it has 0’s for any nutrition, perhaps the fresh food is better. Molasses on the other hand states lots of nutrients on the bottle, what gives? Also, the blood sugar effects of Date sugar are purported to be low but is that because it is high in fructose? Thank you…




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    1. Yes, the label does have mostly “0’s”, but there isnt much listed on the label to begin with.
      http://www.bobsredmill.com/date-sugar.html

      Also, depending on the serving size (usually 1 teaspoon), the values are low and will not register. Remember though, vitamins and minerals are only one aspect of a healthy food. Dates have a lot of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Date sugar is not refined in any way, it is purely ground dates, and dates are quite nutritious.

      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/7348/2

      Check out this video going into detail on dates.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/are-dates-good-for-you/




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  9. I would like to know your opinion about honey. I don’t eat it but I need arguments.

    I would also know your opinion about apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar.

    Thank you.




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  10. Could you please tell me if Xylitol is any good. I am a diabetic, still have a very sweet need, what would be best for me to use, if any?




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  11. As some other viewers have pointed out, there might be other factors besides antioxidant content to consider. Where a sweetener falls on the glycemic scale would seem to be important. Someone asked about coconut palm sugar and it is my understanding that it is quite low on the glycemic scale, has a high mineral content and presumably antioxidants, and is ecologically sustainable to boot. I can personally attest that it is quite delicious. I would love to see what Dr. Greger can find out about this sweetener.
    Thanks




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  12. disappointed to see the results for agave.  got caught up in the raw food mentality.  I wonder if there are any studies for the coconut nectars/sugar and green leaf stevia. 




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    1. Nice find! I shall check at my local indian supermarket next time I’m there ;-) read the Elsevier article through your link, thanks for that.




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    2. love jaggey but have only seen it in India and yeah sugarcane is great when it comes in the form of cane juice or just by chewing on the stalk.




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  13. Doctor Greger, I keep bees in my back yard and harvest raw honey for our family’s main sweetener. It is my understanding that raw honey is nutritionally superior to store-bought pasteurized honey (and it is also lower on the glycemic index). Where do you think raw honey would fall in this chart?




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    1. All of us, including myself, seem determined and desperate to find some kind of “healthy” sugar to keep up our sugar addictions. Unfortunately I am pretty certain all sugars, both natural and artificial, have little to offer to our health. Most are damaging with the exception of eryrithritol according to Dr. Greger, but this may be disproven in the future. Eryrithritol certainly will hurt your pocket book, however!!! Date sugar most likely contains antioxidants and substances that are never listed on food labels, but I feel that these substances can also be easily obtained in greater amounts and less expensively in regular plant foods we eat day.




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      1. I agree, and the closest you can get to a whole, natural product, like every other thing you ingest, the better. Anything sweet is a treat, so personally, I don’t stress over it much because it’s occasional. If your “sweet tooth” overwhelms you to the point you feel the need to be concerned, try going cold turkey for a bit. Sweets really are “addictive”, and sometimes eliminating them can reset your cravings.




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    1. Dr. Greger is sharing concentrated information and uses visuals to reinforce this, he is allowing us time to view, read and listen. He also pauses for effect.




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  14. Can you tell me the dangers of Honey. Some people say Manuka Honey has health benefits? I don’t believe it does, but does it?

    So I guess my question is: What are the dangerous of honey?

    I also believe creating honey farms would be a environmental problem.
    Can you also tell me the environmental dangerous of honey?

    To me I think the dangerous to the environment look obvious. Bees are the main pollinator of plants our main food supply.

    The reason I see it as a environmental problem is if honey bees are manipulated to eat sugar rather than there own honey, it will lead them to no longer bothering with getting pollen as they don’t need it and lead them to just looking for fruit and sugar cane sources.

    Based on this I don’t agree with bee farms for honey as I worry about evolution of bees. I think this will make them evolve in a bad direction, I think bee sanctuaries are fine, and using bees in general is fine. I just don’t agree with taking Bees honey as I wonder if it will stop the pollination of plants if bees no longer keep there honey what would be the point in bees getting pollen from plants. They will look for sugar sources instead. This is dangerous in my view.

    It’s not like in the wild where humans would destroy a nest forcing them to build a whole new nest. Humans are creating bee farms and manipulate the bees in to thinking that this is how nature is. And so they will evolve to get the sugar thinking this is a natural occurrence. To me this is dangerous. Bees need to be left to there own ends. With us possible manipulating where they get the pollen from but not stealing there honey.




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  15. Hi Dr Gregor,

    Some of these results were surprising, so I started to look into it more.

    What about other methods for measuring antioxidant activity? Your ranking was based on FRAP, but what about oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)? I’ve seen high ORAC values published for maple syrup et al and I have found studies showing very disparate values for FRAP and ORAC for the same food (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12009973).

    thanks!




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  16. Since date sugar does not dissolve, and is thus useless in coffee or tea, and burns easily making baking or cooking with it problematic, it looks like the best use for it is sprinkled over my morning oatmeal. What I take from this – and it is purely my own opinion – is that most sweeteners are wasted calories if natural or a health threat if artificial. It seems to me that the best thing we can do is retrain our taste buds to enjoy the natural flavors in real food, rather than catering to a ‘sweet tooth’ which is essentially an atavistic response dating from times when we were all hunter/gatherers. Just as our tendency to look for salty flavors, once vital to our healthy balance, has been exploited by the food industry, so has our fondness for sweetness.




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  17. Hi Doc. On a separate note–it would be really interesting if you would provide us with some info about ‘carrageenan’. What exactly is it? Harmless or harmful?




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    1. I’ve been diagnosed with IBS, about 4 years ago I started having bad inflammation and burning in one area of my large intestine – around the sigmoid area. CT, Ultrasound, 2 colonoscopies found nothing wrong. I did many kinds of rule out diets, and was telling my 2nd GI’s partner about how I realized it sounded a bit crazy, but the only pattern I picked up on with the rule-outs was the “IBS-attack” seemed to follow commercial foods. He replied that he didn’t think it sounded crazy, as he himself suffered from food-additive sensitivities.

      He said at that time, there were no tests to figure out which additives might cause our sensitivities, so first I had to go on a whole, natural diet just to see if the attacks stopped. Then I could slowly experiment with commercial foods to see if they caused me problems, and write down their additives, so that over time I’d hopefully detect a pattern.

      After a few months, I figured out that Carrageenan was my absolute worst additive. Nitrates and Annatto also caused problems, but not as severe as Carrageenan. There’s at least one other additive I haven’t figured out – something that’s added to commercial broths, but I’d rather make my own broth than sleuth out more additive-sensitivities, since they’re fairly painful.

      I’ve found websites stating that Carrageenan is used in medical studies to cause inflammation and pain when injected into tissues, so that the scientists can see if their product helps decrease pain/inflammation. My guess is that maybe I have a patch of dysbiosis that’s leaky, allowing the additives to get into my intestine’s tissues, but I’m not a scientist. Searching the web for Carrageenan problems seems to find few results, as opposed to other allergens/sensitivities, so I’m guessing only a small amount of people have issues with Carrageenan, unless I’m just one of the front-runners.




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  18. I echo the many other requests for your rating on Coconut Palm Sugar. I have search all the comments and replies below twice. I have searched the rest of the site and other videos. Please reply as this is a popular request. Thank you




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  19. re: Date Sugar and Fiber, Once the date is broken down, does it not lose the value in fiber? Changing it’s whole make up of a fruit changes nutritional value right? I believe it would be the same for all fruits and vegitables. I really think juicing fruits/vegetables is not as healthy as we think? Please educate me.




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    1. The fiber is “disrupted” but not destroyed. Disrupted meaning it does not satiate as well as the whole unprocessed food itself, but this is an issue for someone who is battling weight loss.The fiber is still intact and has the same function.




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  20. re: Fiber: by breaking down foods’ make up, are we not loosing nutritional value? Especially fiber? How can juicing fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value compared to it’s original state?




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  21. Dear Dr. Gregor – I love your videos and your website. It seems there’s still a lot of confusion about sugars, fructose/glucose ratio, glycemic index, etc. I imagine more videos down the pipeline. I am curious, as others seem to be, about your rating of the sweeteners based on “antioxidant activity” vs. nutrients. While I agree that dates are deliciously and nutritiously sweet, what about the minerals in grade B maple syrup, for example? In your video, it didn’t fare well, which surprised me. And it seems like the industry is now on a coconut sugar craze. Will this turn out to be another “agave” fad? And with all the palm products on the market now, are animals, like chimps, losing their habitats in order to satisfy our collective sweet tooth or is palm farming (sugar, flour, oil) helping the animals? Lots of questions! Thank you!




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  22. I recently found, in the supermarket, a no calorie sweetener called “Monk Fruit In The Raw” which claims to be suitable for vegetarians and safe for diabetics. Is it safe?




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  23. what is your feeling towards coconut sugar?

    Is date sugar still the healthiest vs coconut sugar?

    I use coconut for everything: coconut sugar, coconut oil, coconut water..

    I hear a lot of benefits towards coconut products but not sure if it’s true since coconut has a lot of saturated fat.

    To cook which is better, coconut oil or grape seed oil?

    Or which oil is better to use that won’t change to trans fat?




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    1. Dr. Greger has a video on if coconut oil is good for you. It turns out, it is harmful (like coconut milk). It raises blood cholesterol levels just like butter, and causes arterial damage. He recommends no oils, but if you must, Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the only harmless oil…but is only helpful for meateaters.




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  24. Dr. Greger is just ranking nutrient value. Agave Nectar is three time sweeter than sugar so you can use much less. Also, agave is very low on the glycemic index so it does not spike blood sugar like most sweeteners – that is a big deal.




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  25. I would like to know what would be the comparison between date sugar and masarang arenga palm sugar.

    I’m trying to find the best option for baking treats. I also was thinking in substitute all sugar for natural fruit but I’m not quite sure about what are the effects on the body and more thinking about diabetic people.

    I would appreciate if you can answer my doubts.




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  26. Hello Dr. Greger, I just love your site, so information. I go right to my computer when I get home from work. I could spend hours reading and watching your videos. I have a question about 2 of your videos. You explained about date sugar, very good. Then in another you talked about erythratol as the best sugar also. so if I were to chose between the two, which should i use? Erythatol is not found in stores here in Ontario, btw. I would have to order it online.
    Thank you for your answer in advance! God bless you.




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  27. I thought you did a study and claimed that fruit sugar was not healthy/had the same consequences as cane sugar for health? But on your website you say fruit sugar is better. Please correct me if I am wrong.




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  28. What a about date Syrup? is that good as date sugar. is this good for Diabetics as well? i am living in middle east , so this is always available and cheap




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  29. The chunks were too much to take with my coffee, so I have been adding the date sugar in before the filter stage (in with the grounds.) This removes the fruit bits, but also I imagine a lot of the nutrition as well. Do you have any idea how much nutrition would be lost through a coffee filter? Might I just as well be using another sweetener?




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    1. There is alot of confusion over carbohydrates both complex (e.g. amylase, fiber) and simple (e.g. glucose, fructose, sucrose). Glucose is the preferred food for our cells. Fructose is metabolized almost exclusively in the liver to a variety of substances most of which are not good for us (e.g. uric acid, fats such as triglycerides, inflammatory aldehydes). Sucrose or table sugar is composed of one molecule of glucose and one of fructose. Coconut sugar is mainly sucrose so can be considered similar to table sugar although like brown sugar has a different flavor. The glycemic index issue adds confusion to the whole carbohydrate issue.




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  30. With sweeteners I am not looking at them in terms of which one has the most nutrients. I am looking at the least harm done. I would take something organic, without GMOs, over a processed but possibly more nutritious choice…meaning, organic agave vs. a processed sugar product.

    What about PALM sugar or Raw Coconut Nectar? Palm sugar (powder) was not very sweet and it had a fairly strong flavor of its own that was not good in tea or coffee. The coconut nectar is fine in tea; it does have some taste, but I can deal with it.




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  31. The one sweetener I didn’t see on this list was coconut sugar or coconut syrup. Any research on th nutrition value of these? I use them in baking instead of other sugars




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  32. Sorghum Syrup has an ORAC value of 1,700 which makes sense, seeing as how sorghum and it’s relative sumac are among foods with the highest ORAC values by mass.




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  33. I’m interested by this research, but were the authors purely looking at antioxidant levels in the various sweeteners? The impression i have is that dates as a whole food have a poor relationship of dietary fiber to sugar, and pulverising in the manner described would only assist in breaking up the insoluble fiber, refining the dates so that sugar is absorbed too readily. Would this position be founded, or is there research to suggest soluble fiber would moderate absorption?




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  34. Dr. Greger, nutritionfacts.org has been my lifeline to healthful eating!
    You evaluate the various sweeteners’ nutritional value through their antioxidant content? Is there some other nutrient they might be providing?
    Thanks!




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  35. Here in Europe stevia seems to be the next big thing as a sweetener. Any thoughts on this?
    I currently use dates to sweeten my breakfast oats…




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    1. Stevia has some side-effects. The best thing to do is to go with fruits – whether fresh or dried – like dates, bananas, apples, etc. I put pears in my oatmeal alongside walnuts and cinnamon. Needless to say that it comes out absolutely delicious.




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  36. We bought Erythritol and tried it for sweetening our tea but unfortunately it’s too expensive for our budget; maybe best to enjoy our tea unsweetened. We had been using maple syrup to sweeten our morning oatmeal but we’ll be using Blackstrap molasses from now on. Thanks Dr. Greger for all you do! You’re our hero!




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  37. Hello Doc,

    As some have already mentioned, Date Sugar seems hard to use. It never seems to dissolve well. I used for your tea (Better Than Green Tea?) recipe.

    How to use Date Sugar? Am I supposed to dissolve in water before using it?

    Thank you,

    RK




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    1. In our recent Meals for Health program with the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church one of the participants asked Jeff Novick RD which sweetener he recommended. Jeff’s response was “he didn’t care as long as it is used as a condiment” or sparingly. I agree. I would minimize sweeteners and certainly avoid artificial sweeteners http://nutritionfacts.org/video/a-harmless-artificial-sweetener/ and those natural sweeteners that have had reported bad outcomes such as stevia see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-stevia-good-for-you/. Of course the dose is also a consideration. You need to use the one that works best given the situation.




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      1. Thanks Don!

        Agreed! But I’m still far away from completely minimizing sweetener usage. I used to use Stevia until I saw doc’s take on it. So, I’m trying to switch to Date Sugar… however I’m stumped as to how to properly use it.

        Any advice?

        P.S. Does that Meals for Health prog have a web presence to watch?

        Thanks,
        RK




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    2. RK: In addition to Dr. Forrester’s excellent reply, I have an idea for you. Like you, I tried using Date Sugar and found it to be problematic not only for the texture, but also because it’s just not as sweet as sugar/other sweeteners. Add its lack of functionality to the cost, and I gave up on it.

      So, here’s what I do: I take actual whole dates and pit them. I *stuff* the dates into a small microwave safe bowl and fill with water up to the top of the dates. Microwave for ??? (depends on your microwave and whether or not the dates start out as cold) – say 2-4 minutes? Then poor mixture into a blender and blend until perfectly smooth. Viola! You now have date paste. Store in the fridge and use in all sorts of ways. I find the date paste works great in oatmeal, smoothies, etc.

      If you don’t have a microwave, you could just soak dates overnight and/or use a commercial style blender.

      Hope that helps.

      Edited: replaced “stuff the pits” with “stuff the dates”




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      1. Great idea, thank you! Last night I was mixing pumpkin with silken tofu and spices. My daughter kept saying, “try one more date” as I pulverized it in the blender. We must have blended for 3 or 4 minutes and there were still some clumps of sticky dates.




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  38. Jaggery seems to be a whole food sweetener too. Is it as nutritious as the even more difficult to find and costlier date sugar?




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  39. The video was helpful in looking at nutritional content… but it would be interesting to see how all these sweeteners would line up when looking at their effect on Blood Sugar.




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  40. From what I understand, agave doesn’t raise the blood sugar as much because chemically it is composed more of fructose. Half of fructose may be stored as triglyceride, or fat, with only half of the structure raising blood sugars. This may seem to resolve a diabetic’s blood sugar issue, but again, it adds to triglyceride and fat. Too much fat can decrease insulin’s sensitivity. Better to not have as much of those fructose-containing sugars.




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  41. I am wondering if blackstrap molasses and sorghum molasses have similar health benefits. I am looking for good sweeteners I can use in addition to date sugar. Thanks!




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  42. Looks like you did not use raw honey or blackstrap molasses. Raw honey will obviously be better then fake honey, as well as better then sugar, and I would like to know about muscado sugar. You also did not use coconut sugar or muscado sugar.




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  43. I use between 5-8 figs Mission Figs to my oatmeal every morning instead of sugar or dates. But my goal is beyond sweetening my cereal, it is to add calcium for my bones with each meal every day. I may also add an ounce of blueberries for their antioxidant value and strengthening my memory, as well as a chopped apple with a teaspoon of cinnamon to calm down the high sugar reaction. Everything is organically grown and certified.




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  44. Hi! I read the study you cited and I don’t understand how you came to the conclusion that rice malt syrup is the lowest nutritive sweetener. Could you please clarify this for me? The graphs suggest otherwise in the FRAP ratings. Thanks, Stacey.




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  45. I drink a lot of tea. Which sweetener do you suggest if we love sweet tea? The last line of the video — “it can add up” — is true but doesn’t answer my question. Are you suggesting no sugar if we are big tea drinkers? Thanks!




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    1. newsjunkie, check out this article on alternative sweeteners from Dr. Greger where he discusses (and links to more information on) erythritol and stevia; alternatives you might consider over regular sugar that won’t thicken your tea like date sugar. http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/05/07/is-there-a-safe-low-calorie-sweetener/

      I used to love sugar-laden drinks, coffee and tea included. Looking back now, opting for water / training my palate to like unsweetened coffee and tea was probably the easiest behavioral change I made to reduce consumption of added sugars. On the other hand, resisting the baked apple cider donuts covered in sugar that my local coffee shop carries on the weekends has not been easy :-).




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      1. FYI I went to that article you suggested, and bought erythritol. Fantastic substitute, sweet with NO bitter aftertaste (like Stevia) and seems to have health benefits too!




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  46. I bought a package of erythritol at Whole Foods yesterday after watching this video and receiving a suggestion from KWD of the NF team. I wanted to share that erythritol is the only zero calorie natural sweetener I have ever used that tastes like real sugar and has none of the bitter taste of stevia. I am a grateful convert (and this is coming from someone who LOVES real sugar or honey in her tea).




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    1. newsjunkie: Nice report. Thanks for the good tip. I bought a bag of erythritol years ago after watching Dr. Greger’s video. But I keep forgetting that I even have it and am not sure when to use it. You have inspired me to take a go at it again.




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  47. Hello Dr. I love this site and your super informative videos; this is my first time commenting. I have IBS and leaky gut and maybe if it is a thing at all candida overgrowth. For a year now I’ve tried to eat only the sugar naturally present in food, not adding any kind of sweetener. On the other hand, I started reading raging reviews on Manuka Honey 15+ UMF and decided to give it ago as it seems particularly helpful for digestion distress. What do you think about Manuka Honey? I would really appreciate your opinion as if it’s not healthy or recommended I would rather save the crazy amounts o f money it costs and the calorie and go back to eating only naturally present sugars. Thank you in advance!




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  48. Dear Dr. Greger,
    I’m wondering what the antioxidant content of all these sweeteners has to do with their actual content of vitamins, minerals etc…? Does a sweetener like date sugar which is linked to a high FRAP number automatically offer more nutrients than a sweetener with a lower FRAP numer like honey? So is “FRAP” a good and reliable parameter?

    Thanks for your reply!
    Karin




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  49. So what are you supposed to put in tea or coffee? Seems like the audio in the video cut off at the end. If you don’t recommend using date sugar for tea and coffee, what should people use? The molasses? Is date sugar good on oatmeal and yogurt?




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  50. Is it worth mentioning that malted products like malt, rice syrup and molasses contain not only elevated acrylamide levels but also glycotoxins?

    Also, molasses was traditionally filtered using bone char.

    Two popular sweeteners that I would like to see in the comparison are coconut sugar and dehydrated cane juice (Sucanat).




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  51. Hi Dr. Greger,

    I’m a 49-year old heart patient, had a MI back in 2011 and eventually underwent a double by-pass. So far so good. I follow a vegan diet, I weigh approximately 150 lbs and I’m 5,6″. I exercise when I can, usually cycling. I consider my health is generally good and I do feel great about my body and my health has improved ever since my MI; it does require a lot of work, though.

    I’d like to know if it’s safe to consume any of the following products: dates, figs, date-syrup, bananas, grapes, maple syrup, etc…

    My glucose level usually fluctuates between 4.7-5.5 mmol/L (Canadian standard).

    Genetically speaking, diabetes has run in our family; namely, type II. I’m just looking for a % of risks vs. rewards concerning glucose consumption and what’s safe out there? Please bear in mind that all of the products that I consume are organically based.

    Thanks.




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    1. Adam: I’m not a doctor and I can’t say what would be safe/a good idea or not. But I do recommend checking out the book, “Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Preventing and Reversing Diabetes–the Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes without Drugs”. That book has great information that will not only help keep your heart healthy, but will also help prevent diabetes.
      http://www.amazon.com/Neal-Barnards-Program-Reversing-Diabetes/dp/1594868107/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424981728&sr=1-1&keywords=prevent+and+reverse+diabetes

      The back of the book has recipes that are consistent with the diet that is clinically proven to be 3 times more effective than the ADA diet. And some of those recipes include fruit. So, some fruit should not be a problem. And as for maple syrup, you wouldn’t want a ton of it, but some on occasion should be just fine as long as you are eating low fat whole plant food based diet. As Dr. Barnard explains (and can be learned about in videos here in NutritionFacts too!), it’s a high fat diet which leads to diabetes. My take is: so if you have a low fat diet good insulin sensitivity, then some sugars/maple syrup in your diet just isn’t going to cause harm. In fact, one of the recipes in the book I mentioned above, “Roasted Sweet Potatoes With Moroccan Spices” includes a tablespoon of maple syrup. Obviously that’s not a lot. The point is, that *some* is fine.

      Does that help?




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  52. i have to ask was the honey in this video a normal store bought processed honey or a
    local raw honey, because wouldn’t there be a huge difference in
    nutritional values?




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  53. This took me by surprise. I would have guessed Black Strap Molasses was at the top – but it makes sense that a whole food would trump a processed food. I haven’t used date sugar – but I often use Medjool Dates to sweeten smoothies and other snacks. Good to know dates appear to be the better choice! How do coconut sugar or stevia sugar compare? I don’t use either one, but I am curious…




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  54. Is there anyone here who knows more about Yacon Syrup?! On wikipedia they mention a study by Genta et al., were they show “that a daily intake of yacón syrup produced a significant decrease in body weight, waist circumference and body mass index when given to obese pre-menopausal women”.
    It is also said that “The syrup contains up to 50% of fructooligosaccharides (FOS). The consumption of FOS does not increase blood glucose; however, the root consists of primarily free fructose at about 35%”. Maybe another interesting candidate as possible healthy sweetener?!




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  55. What about raw honey as a natural preservative (when I add it to my green juice, it does stay green longer) and as a digestive aid (I’ve heard it has digestive enzymes)?




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  56. Thank you for the great and thought provoking videos. I would like to know, though, what kind of honey was that one which was included in your research. Perhaps one of the not so representative samples? Inferior products of unclear origin and process of production/packing are not unlikely circulating in the north-american markets.

    Honey has a very high cultural value in Mediterannean countries within several centuries, and there is also some contemporary research that refers to its nutritial value (e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23411187). So, I think this is a subject which will stimulate your interest and further research.




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  57. I’d love to know Dr Greger’s opinion of where coconut sugar falls in the healthiest sweetener/nutritional ranking in the video :)




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  58. Dear nutritionfacts-User and owner,
    what about coconut-sugar(palm-sugar or coconut-flower sugar, i do not know the accurate english word for it) in comparison with date sugar? Is it so healthy like date sugar?
    I heard about a good GL-Index, but is this index really so important? Normal processed sugar has a higher GL-Index, but is this index so relevant or what is the reasy of the unheathy processed sugar?

    Sincerely,
    Gamdschiee




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  59. Brown rice syrup is clearly the biggest loser here with respect to nutrients, but it has one advantage the others don’t: it contains no fructose, nor does it break down to fructose in the gut. It contains only glucose and oligosaccharides that break down to glucose in the gut. So if you need a sweetener without any fructose, brown rice syrup is the best. One disadvantage of brown rice: arsenic.




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  60. Interesting, I always thought honey was the king of sweeteners.. is there any significant difference between raw unfiltered honey, and overly-processed honey in terms of antioxidants? And if so which was being compared in the video? Also, is glycemic index a significant factor in deciding a sweetener or do they all have similar fructose-to-glucose ratios and it doesnt really matter?




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  61. Hi Dr. Greger, the reason I saw this video in my search for some info about blackstrap molasses. I’d like to know your thoughts about it. I’m trying now to have a bit of molasses everyday for the mineral content as I don’t like to rely on supplements. As a vegan I find it hard to reach the recommended intake of especially iron and even though molasses are not whole food, maybe the pros exceed the cons? Thank you if you take your time to answer.




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  62. Thank you for the comparisons. Isn’t blackstrap molasses the gunk left over after many prior extraction processes? What kind of chemicals are likely to have been left behind? After such intensive processing wouldn’t minerals and other trace elements likely be too small in quantity to matter?




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  63. I tried date sugar and found it had several drawbacks: it is difficult to find, expensive, and not particularly sweet. Fortunately blackstrap molasses is non of those things and in the right recipe is very tasty. I find it particularly delicious in a coffee or chai tea soy latte which I enjoy every morning. As I type this I am having mashed sweet potato with soy milk and molasses. My lovely wife just made a batch of pinto beans. I threw those into the mix and it is even better.




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  64. While I agree that powered dates has to be the healthiest sweetener, I have been reading about Black-strap Molasses and the claimed health benefits. Dr, Greger can you comment (in a little more depth) about Black-strap molasses ? Thank you for all your great contributions to food and nutriion.




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    1. Hi Philip, black-strap molasses does have a high antioxidant content compared to other sweeteners and it had similar concentrations as date sugar. Specifically, in the cited article for this video it states that black-strap molasses antioxidant capacity is ~10.7 mmol/serving whereas the lowest sweeteners such as raw cane sugar had only ~0.1 mmol/serving. And it states that, “These data suggest that the nutrient and antioxidant contribution of alternative sweeteners could be similar to that of whole vs refined flours and foods high in antioxidants (eg, berries, chocolate, and nuts).”




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  65. What about grape syrup?
    I can’t find date sugar anywhere here in France and black-strap molasses is too ‘licorice-y’ for my taste.




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    1. Hi Ben, the simplest example I can think of to describe the consequences of drastic spikes in blood sugar would be to consider your RPMs in a car. In order to maintain your engine’s long-term function it’s ill advised to rev the engine into the red zone of your RPMs often (even though you may have to on occasion) because it creates a lot of strain on the engine. Large spikes in insulin creates strain on the pancreas and can also create a rebound effect in blood glucose levels. It is necessary for the body to maintain a level of homeostasis, so extremes tend to overburden systems and create adverse consequences.




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  66. Is there a difference in the sugar of dates vs the syrup? I ask out of desperation since here in the UK it seems virtually impossible to buy the sugar form. Thanks.




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    1. soul: My understanding is that date sugar is the whole date with all moisture removed, and then ground into a powder. Date syrup on the other hand would not be as close to a whole food and I think would not include much, if any fiber. The two products also differ in how they could be used of course. A recipe that calls for a liquid sweetener could use date syrup and one that requires a dry sweetener might be able to get away with date sugar (though since I don’t think date sugar is as sweet as regular sugar, there may be problems using date sugar in some recipes.)
      .
      While there is a difference between the two forms of date sweetener, I offer this perspective: Does it matter? If you are sweetening a food for dessert, then we are not talking about an every day food (ideally), and there are probably all sorts of less than ideal foods n the dessert, so just enjoy the dessert with whatever sweetener you care to use. On the other hand, if you are looking to sweeten an every day food, while date sugar may be best, I found that it is often not sufficient to meet the need in terms of sweetness and consistency. And then when I factored in the cost of date sugar, I decided not to bother myself with it any more.
      .
      Note that NutritionFacts has at least one video on erythritol (sp?). You may want to look into that option.




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  67. I assume coconut sugar is just as bad as the rest?… due to the lack of fiber? I watched THE documentary Fed Up and of sugar, I am!




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  68. Is sulphured or unsulphured molasses still a good option, or only blackstrap molasses? How big is the health difference? Thank you!




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  69. If dates aren’t available and blackstrap molasses isn’t sweet enough, are either regular or robust molasses (the first or second processing) still good options? How big is the difference between their nutrition and blackstrap, and between regular and robust molasses? Thank you!




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  70. Hi Dr. Greger, It seems there are always new sweet products to try. What do studies show about healthy/unhealthy affects of Coconut Sugar on our bodies?




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  71. Dr Greger, I just discovered your site. Excellent source of scientific nutrition! One question I have is where does coco sugar stack up in all of this? Healthy or not?




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  72. Dear Dr.M. my Dr of chiropractic has referred me to a dentist who specializes in removing failed root canals and a bite plate to help my neck pain. Also the dentist has done some dextrose injection in my neck (three times) in your opinion does sugar injectiona make sense. Also in the last 6weeks I’ve had two epidural spinal cortisone injections without relief of low back pain. Can you give me any direction or opinion as to sugar dextrose injection for my neck and back. Of course very expensive and not covered by insurance but of course steroids are covered.
    Thank you for your time I watch your u tube videos almost daily. Thanks for your research and all you do to bring awareness




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  73. Date sugar and organic molasses are both 50% fructose, thus making them no better than regular sugar. The 50% fructose content far outweighs any ‘nutritional’ content in terms of the harm done to the body. All the sugars in the video are equally bad. Also, all artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols such as xylitol should be avoided for other reasons. The best kind of sugar is pure 100% glucose sugar as this does not go to the liver. It goes straight into the bloodstream and mostly gets used up in celullar energy instead of being stored as body fat. But when using pure glucose sugar, use only a little, i.e. not enough to make your blood glucose shoot up and trigger an insulin response. More about this in my book ‘The Lipo Diet’ at Amazon.
    Russell Eaton, Author




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  74. Hello Dr. Greger, I find your videos to be very interesting with plenty of great research and information. I have a question about sweeteners. Is monk fruit a healthy option to use as a sweetener? Thanks, Zach A.




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  75. After watching all of your videos, 1100+ I recently asked myself, vegan > vegetarian, but what about honey? Dairy, meat, eggs – big no no. Nothing about honey though, are there really no studies done on honey? Not even neutral studies, ie no positive or negative reaction to daily consumption?




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  76. Date syrup is even better, is not dried dates but rather added water and dates : ) sweeter than caramel, my favorite! What do you think about Yacon Syrup and the the claims that it boosts weight loss and gut health due to its high FOS content?




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  77. Question: I have been trying to cut out any food from my diet with added sugars (i.e. white sugar, brown sugar normally found in foods) since I’ve read and heard it is not good for you. I am all in favor and have no problem cutting all added sugar from my diet, Having seen this video, I’m not sure how to apply it anymore. Is this (A) if you prefer sweetened foods and are going to eat added sugars, make sure its date sugar, (B) It’s not recommended to eat added-sugar, but if you must have sweetened food, make sure its date sugar (C) Date sugar is good for you, so make sure to add some to your food if you like it sweetened (D) Sweetening with date sugar is recommended for additional nutrients, so make sure you add it to your meals or (E) some other explanation. I’m not much of a pastry cook or chef right now, but right now if I can exclude any added sugar from my meals or purchased/homemade baked goods, I will. I guess another way to put this is does the benefits of the date sugar outweigh any downsides it may or may not have. As an aside: I am breaking my rule right now and having cookies with brown sugar, but I thought it might be helpful to send note to food companies recommending them to use date sugar if they must sweeten their products given its nutritional value.




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  78. There are many wholefoods that can be used as sweeteners, other than dates – both for making sweets and smoothies. Dried fruits for example, such as raisins, apricots, figs, plums, carob and bananas. Bananas also work very well raw or frozen (for ice cream). However, raisins do not meet the 5-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-fibers. Cinnamon and coconut flakes are also sweet. Maybe these should be on the list too?




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  79. Hi Doctor, I’ve read claims online by the maple syrup producers that it doesn’t produce the same spike in blood sugar levels as other sugars, also, have there been any studies which have included coconut blossom sugar which is available here in Australia?




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  80. Is honey really bad for you? I mean it’s only carbohydrates. Can the honey be a part of a healthy high-carb, low-fat diet? I know vegans don’t consume honey because species exploitation is involved in the process, but I’m asking from health prospective.




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    1. Hi Boyana, I’m one of the medical moderators volunteering with Dr Greger. As this video points out honey has very little nutritional value so I suppose your question “is honey really bad for you?” depends on how healthy you are to start. I suppose if you eat a very nutritionally dense diet and have no underlying health problems then a teaspoon or two of honey once every so often may not be very damaging to you at all. If you are however, dealing with an ongoing health problem adding it would just mean more calories that your body has to metabolize that don’t give you anything in return from a nutrition perspective. (hence the term “empty” calories). For the infrequent times you need to add a sweetener on a WFPBD I would try to choose the most nutritionally dense one and according to this video that would be date sugar.




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  81. I can’t see it very well, but it doesn’t look like the “raw sugar” you have there is truly raw. It looks semi-refined like the turbinado sugar. I’d like to see how jaggery (traditional non-centrifugal cane sugar) compares to the brown sugar. I have a jar of it from the indian store and it’s much darker than your “raw sugar”. Sucanat is similar.




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  82. What data did you use? Because I added up the nutrients for each food as well, and I got an entirely different result than you. When you control for the amount of actual sugars in each product, dates, apricots, raisins, and sucanat (raw sugar) have about half the nutrients compared to molasses. Concentrated orange juice is high too. Most other sweeteners have about 1/4 the nutrients as molasses (including date sugar, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup). Honey, corn syrup, white sugar, and agave nectar have minimal nutrients.




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  83. Why do you think that honey is empty?

    I don’t know what exactly is sold as honey in your country, in my – honey is a natural product made by bees from flower pollen so it’s not only full of vitamins but also have a powerfull treatment effects on many illnesses, depends on what flower was visited by bees.

    For example honey from tilia cordata or salvia officinalis is really powerful when you have your lungs ill.

    We have a centuries tradition of treatment disease by honey so I can’t even imagine how honey may be named as not nutritional or not useful.




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    1. Full of vitamins?

      um k. Here is one cup of honey, 1031 calories worth (278 grams sugar)

      https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5568/2

      Or you can go here, but change the value per 100 grams section to 3.39 so it is the same, by weight as the nutrional data above amount and you see similar and pitiful results.

      https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6058?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=25&qlookup=honey&offset=&sort=&format=Abridged&reportfmt=other&rptfrm=&ndbno=&nutrient1=&nutrient2=&nutrient3=&subset=&totCount=&measureby=&Qv=3.39&Q11410=1&Qv=1&Q11410=1

      Or you can use this:

      https://www.honey.com/images/uploads/general/Beals_abstract_on_Effects_of_Processing.pdf

      Honey does have antibacterial properties but to say that it is full of vitamins or imply that it is nutritious is just incorrect.

      Eat it if you like it but I would leave it at that.




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    1. One would have to look at the product label to determine just what was in each. Date paste is the most unadulterated form of using dates as a sweetener. It is easy to make as it is just pitted dates mixed with a little water and mixed in a blender or food processor until it is smooth in consistency. Usually a syrup is made by using more water but one would have to be careful that other, cheaper sweeteners have not been mixed in like high fructose corn syrup. Most sugar products are made by evaporating the liquid from the liquid version of the sweetener. As the water evaporates the crystals form which they pulverize to the right size and there’s your sugar. Like any food, the more processed it is the more suspect it becomes for additives and steps that can remove nutrients. If you have the time, try to make your own but if you need the convenience then you need to be a savvy consumer. Hope this helps.




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  84. What about honey? I always thought it’s healthy. But after this video…. Is it worst then white sugar? What about antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids in honey?




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    1. This video (on sweeteners, not the one I’m sharing) is misleading. Maple syrup has insane amounts of riboflavin (B2, can be hard to get on typical diets which is the reason many cereals and other foods are fortified with it) and manganese and a large amount of other minerals people are often deficient in including zinc and calcium and also has good amounts of potassium, magnesium, and smaller but significant amounts of iron, selenium, and copper and this is just going by cronometer which may be going by grade A types whereas grade B (darker maple syrup) has the most minerals and recent research shows there’s antioxidants present in maple syrup, some unidentified. So while I adore most of the videos here and love this site and am grateful for Dr. Greger’s work, I find this video disturbingly misleading. Also, while molasses may have more nutrients it also has a higher glycemic rate from what I’ve read. Personally I don’t care about glycemic index or calories, but I do know that when I use maple syrup as a sweetener it significantly increases my minerals for that day and I feel pretty awesome about it. I’ve just learned about coconut nectar too which has large amounts of nutrients and is naturally raw. Love using whole dates as well! I haven’t tried date sugar but I really like coconut sugar. Coconut nectar has a good amount of amino acids, you should look into that as it’s listed on many websites but I don’t remember the amounts. I’m sure the amounts are small but it all adds up.
      As for honey, I do not recommend for ethical and moral reasons alone, but I also read it causes inflammation… it’s literally bee vomit regurgitated over and over again. One of the main reasons we shouldn’t be using honey is due to the fact that it’s horrible for the environment because of what it does to bee populations. You can learn about that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0N8UYgMGDQ




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  85. Hi Dr. Gregor! Can you let me know your thoughts on coconut sugar/ nectar vs. honey/ maple syrup vs liquid stevia? I like to drink a tonic in the morning (with ginger, lemon and some herbs/ spices). I would like to sweeten this a bit… what are your thoughts on the best sweetener to use? thank you! Judy




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  86. This simply isn’t true… Maple syrup has a large amount of minerals and a ton of riboflavin! How can anyone call it “just sugar?” That’s insane or just horribly misguided. It has a lot of zinc, calcium and other minerals and its manganese and vitamin B2 levels are through the roof, these are two nutrients people often don’t get enough of and even rely on fortified foods to get their riboflavin, but using this as a sweetener (I love it for hot cacao) can take care of falling short. So again, that is far from being justifiably put into a “which is worse” category let alone being called “just sugar.” I’m sorry, but this is horribly misleading.




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    1. Shaylen Snarski: Your comment got me very curious. So, I lookup maple syrup on the NutritionSelf website, which gets its data from the USDA database.
      .
      How much maple syrup are you likely to eat at a time? I assume it is less than a cup. One of the options was 1 ounce, which I think is about 1/4 cup. I thought that was a reasonable amount to look at. So, I set the amount to 1 ounce on this page: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5602/2 The result showed *zero* riboflavin and tiny amounts of most minerals, the main exception being manganese. Of course, it has no fiber. The majority of the calories are from sucrose.
      .
      I don’t know where you get your data from, but my source indicates that the video matches the data pretty well. There are probably more minerals that one would get from table sugar, but I’m not really seeing much to get excited about. What are you seeing that I am missing?




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      1. I’ve come across the info of the nutrients and minerals present in maple syrup all over the place. You can even just look on the back of labels, they don’t list all nutrients but usually the same basics and you’ll see significant amounts of things like calcium and zinc. Cronometer uses published research which is what I go by to measure nutrients in a day from time to time. There are less minerals in lighter colored syrups, I’m talking about grade b or dark types, but even coombs organic grade A syrup lists 8% calcium and 8% iron in 4 tbsp. I think it depends on the quality and purity as well as type of syrup. There is just so much in this stuff, even potassium, that to dismiss it as “just sugar” is insane to me or at the very least, unjust. It has a ton of manganese as well according to many sources, and while I eat a ton of plants and find this mineral really easy to get, some people are deficient and it can lead to seizures, so something as basic as putting maple syrup on your oatmeal or pancakes helping to fill in dietary gaps is pretty cool imo.
        As for how much I use, it depends. I sometimes use just a tablespoon or so to sweeten some hot cacao or plant milk, and I can sometimes use quite a lot to make sauces or pour on pancakes. Even if I’m only having a little, I learned to appreciate all amounts of nutrients in the foods I love because I see how quickly they all add up. I eat a ton of fiber throughout my day, in fact whatever I’m pairing with this sweetener has fiber in it, so I don’t worry about that. I’ve never had any sugar problems with this stuff at all or any natural food whereas I used to get really sick after eating sugary foods with refined sugars. I also read research where antioxidants, some unrecognized, have been discovered in the syrup. I forget which university did the study, I didn’t think to save a maple syrup source lol. Here’s another source I just quickly googled: http://www.purecanadamaple.com/benefits-of-maple-syrup/maple-syrup-nutrition/




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  87. I don’t see GMO beet sugar, I buy it at the Heath food store, it’s great tasting and I have found no problems with it after a couple of years.




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    1. Hi William,

      Thanks for sharing your question!

      There is a huge amount of information stating that raw honey is very healthy on the internet.

      Raw honey is certainly not ‘very healthy’ in the way that greens (leafy and cruciferous), beans, nuts/seeds, green tea, etc. are healthy.
      If you use it, keep in mind that a teaspoon of honey has 4g of fructose and very little nutritionally so do so in moderation.
      Whole-plant foods, even a sweet potato, can have far more in the way of nutrition in order to qualify as ‘healthy’ or ‘very healthy’.

      To health!




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  88. Any new info on raw honey or honey by region? Seems like your typical American honey is chemically very different and what about the anti allergen and antibacterial properties of pretty much all honeys?




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  89. Thank you so much…I have some questions on these findings though. ‘Date sugar’ seems to refer to a dry form. I wonder if this encompasses date ‘syrup’ too? I would have been incredibly interested to see if coconut sugar/nectar featured as well…




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  90. I have read, and been using for years now, raw/organic/unrefined honey………….do your findings suggest (for the raw/organic/unrefined variety) that it is still so low on your chart?




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  91. I am still confused with the whole sugar stories and facts.
    I use real stevia powder but this taste terrible in mu coffee and makes it actually bitter.
    I have never tried date sugar but have seen in stores and the price is very high.

    Sugar is bad for us and we know it but it is hard to find an alternative that is affordable.
    Thanks for the article and I will do more research on the subject of the healthy sugar.
    Ed




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  92. I have a question I would love to be answered on Ask The Doctor, if possible. I’ve now learned that date sugar is the healthiest sugar to use, so I’ll stock up on some. My question is, what would you recommend as the healthiest upper limit for date sugar consumption per day? I have an incredible sweet tooth, so I often add maple syrup to my tea and other things throughout the day. I try to use it sparingly, but on the rare occasion I make a dish like pancakes and use a lot more. Since dates may be better for the body than refined maple syrup, how much could I safely consume in one day so as not to harm my body? I’ll try to stick to that limit if this is answered. Thank you!




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    1. Hi Lindsey: The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10% each day. That’s 200 calories, or about 12 teaspoons, for a 2,000 calorie diet. That being said, less sugar is always best. Special occasion food or a pancake breakfast that you’re making once a week should not be a major issue. I would focus on the added sugar that’s in your usual daily routine. Be mindful of sweeteners for hot beverages, sugar sweetened drinks, daily desserts, chocolate/candies, sweetened cereals, packaged snacks, etc.




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  93. I have a question in regards to a mindeblowing discovery I just stumbled upon. Question: Dos date paste contain added sugar? I have bought a date paste from the company date crown, An it states ” 73 % invert sugar” ( total carbs 80%) I was shocked to discover that invert sugar is used by the big food manufacturing company’s to retain moisture and that its just another word for high fructose corn syrup. The date paste is also sweeter than a regular date, and is very moist..




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    1. markpaul400: If you don’t want to eat the inverted sugar, you can make your own date paste. I usually put however many dates I want into a bowl and fill up with water to just below the top of the dates. Microwave until the mixture becomes warm and the dates are soft. Then blend in a blender until a smooth paste is formed. Very easy and nothing in it besides the dates and water. Keep in the fridge.




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  94. I’m also curious about beet sugar. If the moderator could verify where that stacks up that would be great. It’s really bugging me. I’m guessing since it’s more processed and has no fiber it’s not as good as date sugar.




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    1. Hi Ryan,
      I had a read through the paper Dr Gregor covers and in it, they group beet sugar and raw cane sugar together. Therefore, it is likely that this will five a similar result to raw cane sugar. This is supported by results comparing sugar beet pectin to polydextrose (artificial sweeteners) and found they had similar effects on blood sugars and lipids. However another study comparing the antioxidant activity of sugar beet pulp with other products found that it was higher than the ‘sesame cake’ tested. Dr Gregor also mentioned their high antioxidant activity here. This implies that it might have slightly more nutritional benefit than raw sugar even if it has the same effect on blood sugar. An exact study on this would need to be done.




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  95. There is a good bit of published evidence that honey results in a more blunted glycemic response than refined sugar (I give the citations to two of several publications on this below). I find that my son and I can eat honey with little of the hypoglycemic reaction that we get from sugar.

    Saying that honey is like sugar because it has few additional nutrients is analogous to the disproven argument that a calorie is a calorie with regard to weight gain, no matter what its source.

    Dr. Greger, why do you not distinguish honey from sugar, as it appears that multiple studies show that honey is much better for us? Thank you for any insights that you can provide.
    ——————–
    Erejuwa, Omotayo O., Siti A. Sulaiman, and M. S. Wahab. “Honey-a novel antidiabetic agent.” Int J Biol Sci 8.6 (2012): 913-934.

    Larson-Meyer, D. Enette, et al. “Effect of honey versus sucrose on appetite, appetite-regulating hormones, and postmeal thermogenesis.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 29.5 (2010): 482-493.




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    1. Hi gmoddel
      Great question, thank you for all the detail and references!

      The video that Dr Gregor posted looks at the ‘healthiness’ of sugar and alternatives in terms of their antioxidant effects, i.e. their ability to reduce oxidative damage is and help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease etc. It’s based on the paper by Philips et al., 2009. The video show that honey does in fact have slightly higher antioxidant effects than pure sugar. But there are of course many ways that you can assess the ‘healthiness’ of a food, and their effect on blood glucose levels is definitely another one!

      Having looked at the papers you shared and a few others (see below), it does look like honey can have slightly better control of blood glucose levels than sugars such as sucrose. However, some of the evidence is a little mixed and studies are quite small, like 14 subjects for example!
      So overall it looks like you may be correct in identifying that honey has advantages over sugar, but we will need a few more larger scale trials over a longer period to see if this can really have long term health benefits, rather than short term effects.
      Thanks again for a great question!

      Sources:
      http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/2394949
      http://academicjournalscenter.org/index.php/GJMRS/article/view/75
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388112000667




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  96. Greetings Dr. Greger!
    I found molasses in a supermarket, and the list of vitamins on the jar included vitamin E. I remembered about the negative outcome after vitamin E supplementation trial in Europe.
    So here is the question: is molasses considered a whole food? Is it safe to consume even though it has vitamin E? Could you please help clarify this for myself?
    Thank you!




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