Your Situation

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and those giant heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, conversation hearts, and whatever other pink or red candy you fancy have been staring you in the face for about a month.

With your health and nutrition goals in mind, perhaps you have mustered up the self-control to bravely pass by. However, many of us have grabbed “one” package and loaded up our bodies with our old friend “added sugar”. Now, don't worry. We are not here to tell you that you can't indulge. You can still enjoy sweets with a little mindful balance and a solid understanding of sugar substitutes.

 

The State of our Sugar

While a bit of added sugar truly isn’t going to make or break your health, the Average American is consuming about 73 grams of added sugar in a single day. That’s 292 calories per day of sugar that is simply added to our foods for taste. Considering that 3500 calories is equivalent to one pound of bodyweight, this high added sugar consumption is seriously affecting our overall weight. Even apart from the potential for weight gain, a diet high in added sugar may be linked to increased risks of heart disease and high cholesterol.

 

So What Do We Do?

In pursuit of lowering both our caloric intake and our risk for chronic diseases, something needs to change. As a baseline, a balanced diet low in sugar, salt, and saturated fat but high in fruits, vegetables, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and lean protein is a foolproof step to success.

 

But What About Your Sugar

In the wake of sugar studies and the negative consequences of overeating it, many sugar substitutes have burst onto the food scene during the past hundred years. These sugar substitutes fall into four main categories:

  1. Artificial Sweeteners
  2. Natural Sweeteners
  3. Novel Sweeteners
  4. Sugar Alcohols

For the benefit of your sweet tooth, your Valentine’s Day, and your health, we’re looking at 6 of the most common substitutes for refined sugar and what you need to know.

Are These 6 Sugar Substitutes Actually Healthy?

The 6 Sugar Substitutes

Aspartame

  • Possibly the most talked-about sugar substitute, aspartame is commonly found in diet sodas and the classic light blue Equal packets or Nutrasweet packets next to the coffee machine.
  • It is up to 200 times sweeter than sugar, so much less is needed to sweeten a product.
  • Aspartame is an artificial sweetener originally discovered by a chemist working on an anti-ulcer drug. After mixing what later became known as aspartame, the chemist strangely licked his fingers to see what it tasted like. After he noticed the mixture was sweet, Aspartame was sent through a slew of tests until it was accepted by the FDA.
  • Although deemed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA, aspartame has remained quite controversial. A few studies suggested aspartame could increase cancer incidence in rats, but other studies suggest that aspartame does not cause these same results in humans.
  • To avoid or limit any potential negative consequences, the recommended daily intake for aspartame has been set far below the level that scientists believe could even possibly cause damage to the human body. Aspartame remains common in processed foods despite a perceived aftertaste by some consumers.

Saccharin

    • Another artificial sweetener, saccharin is a coal-tar derivative, again discovered when a scientist decided to lick it off his arms. By the way, we don’t recommend licking random powders.
    • It is marketed in pink Sweet N’ Low packets and found in many beverages.
    • Like aspartame, saccharin has been the center of a fair amount of health controversy. After a few studies linked saccharin to bladder cancer development in lab rats, it landed itself on the list of potential carcinogens. However, more than 30 further tests and studies on humans disproved its toxicity in humans. This led the FDA to remove saccharin’s classification as a carcinogen and classify the substance as GRAS.
    • Saccharin is known for a bit of a metallic aftertaste.

    Stevia extracts

      Xylitol

          Erythritol

               Agave

                • If “agave” isn’t a health buzzword right now, what is? Touted for being a natural sugar substitute, agave is actually still full of sugar.
                • The University of California at Berkeley gives us a straight up “no” when asked if agave is healthier than table sugar. Agave actually contains more calories than sugar and more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup.
                • While some agave may be natural, most is actually refined and processed more than marketers would like you to know.
                • Overall, agave is much more of a trend than a good lifestyle choice.

                 

                The Bottom Line

                Ultimately, it all comes back to moderation. Whether you want a little extra added sugar or a sugar substitute that appeals to your taste buds and health principles, always choose mindfulness over extravagance. Listen to your body. Take a deep breath. And enjoy a sweet treat in the company of those you love.

                 

                Happy Valentine's Day!

                 

                By Anna Mason, RDN





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                Frequently Asked Questions

                Questions about PREBIOTICS and PROBIOTICS:

                What is a Prebiotic?

                Prebiotics come from plants, usually root plants that contain a lot of fiber and feed the good bacteria in your gut.

                Why is it important to have both prebiotics and probiotics?

                Probiotics alone cannot grow without a healthy gut to support them. When combining a nurturing base of prebiotics in the belly, with a good dose of probiotics, a garden of flora blossoms and fills the gut with a balanced microbiome.

                Can your body make its own Conjugated Lineolic Acid?

                You certainly have the gut flora to make your very own CLA. It’s one of the many things your lactobacilli and bifidobacteria do for you.

                It’s important to have healthy gut flora to be able to make CLA. People with gut dysbiosis have a significantly harder job of it – possibly one reason why obesity and gut dysfunction tend to go hand-in-hand. So if you’ve been eating well for a while and your gut is humming along nicely, you can probably count on a substantial CLA intake from gut flora. If you’re eating is not so “healthy” or you simply aren’t producing enough good bacteria, Truth Bar can help by giving probiotic support to build up your colonies of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria.

                How much inulin is in each bar?

                Chocolate Dipped Raspberry:
                Chocolate Dipped Coconut: 3.2g
                Mint Chocolate Chip: 3.3g
                Chocolate Almond Crunch: 2.5g

                How much MCT Oil is in each bar?

                Chocolate Dipped Raspberry:
                Chocolate Dipped Coconut: 4.5g MCT/bar
                Mint Chocolate Chip: 0.5g MCT/bar
                Chocolate Almond Crunch: 0.5g MCT/bar

                These are approximate amounts based on estimate of 60% MCT present in coconut oil, and 65% oil in coconut.

                What is the percentage of “prebiotic - probiotic"?

                Using approximate inulin amounts:

                Chocolate Dipped Raspberry:
                Chocolate Dipped Coconut: 3.2g prebiotic to 500 Million CFU probiotics
                Mint Chocolate Chip: 3.3g prebiotic to 1 Billion CFU probiotics
                Chocolate Almond Crunch: 2.5g prebiotic to 500 Million CFU probiotics

                What is the strain of probiotic in the lactoSpore?

                Lactobacillus sporogenes (bacillus coagulans). It is a stable Lactic Acid forming probiotic that has exceptional and lengthy studies of gut healing effects ranging across gastro intestinal issues, bloating, diahhrea and irritable bowel syndrome.

                 

                Questions about SWEETENERS:

                What is erythritol derived from?

                Erythritol is derived from NON-GMO corn as a fermented sugar alcohol with GRAS status from the FDA.

                What is the ratio of sweeteners? (Tapioca / Erythritol / Stevia)

                Chocolate Dipped Raspberry:
                Chocolate Dipped Coconut: 6.5g / 3.2g / 0.02g
                Mint Chocolate Chip: 11.0g / 3.3g / 0.02g
                Chocolate Almond Crunch: 11.0g / 2.5g / 0.02g

                 

                Questions about COMMON INGREDIENT CONCERNS:

                Are Truth Bars Vegan?

                We have created both Vegan and Non-Vegan bars. Two of our flavors are Vegan and two are Non-Vegan. Our Chocolate Dipped Coconut and Chocolate Dipped Raspberry bars are both 100% Vegan. They're both rich in fiber and essential medium chain fatty acids that are easily digested, which makes them incredibly useful for a quick burst of energy.

                Our Chocolate Almond Crunch and Mint Chocolate Chip bars feature a Non-Vegan blend of brown rice protein and whey isolate that supplies essential Amino Acids for a "complete" or "whole" source of protein. Our balanced mix of fiber and protein results in two meal replacement bars that provide all the BCAAs needed for proper muscle development.

                Are Truth Bars 100% gluten free?

                Yes, all Truth Bars are 100% gluten free!

                Is there soy in Truth Bars?

                Soy based lecithin is commonly used as an emulsifier in dark chocolates. However, they are are serious consumer concerns over soy that we have taken very seriously. In order to protect and promote overall health the specially formulated dark chocolate coating on all Truth Bars is completely free of both soy and sugar.

                Are the bars Peanut Free?

                Yes, all Truth Bars are 100% peanut free. We use only high quality almond and sunflower butter.

                 

                Other Questions:

                Where can I find a full list of ingredients?

                You can find a the full list of ingredients on each bar’s product page. The ingredients can be found by clicking the second tab. Here's a link to each of our product pages: Chocolate Dipped RaspberryChocolate Dipped CoconutMint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Almond Crunch.

                Where can I find nutrition information?

                Each bar’s nutrition facts can also be found on the product pages above. Just click the third tab.

                Another place to find info would be our ingredient's page, which outlines each of our key ingredients and their benefits.

                What is the shelf life of the bars?

                Truth Bars have a shelf life of 18 months. We make our bars in small batches, which ensures that our retailer's shelves are stocked with fresh bars.


                Please let us know if you have a question that is not listed above.
                Simply write to us at info@truthbar.com. We are happy to answer any questions!