When you consume foods or beverages that contain carbohydrates, the body breaks down those carbohydrate compounds into simple sugars. These sugars are then released into the blood, and triggers a hormonal response to help regulate blood sugar levels from being too high or too low. Once these simple sugars are released into the blood stream after digestion, the pancreas releases insulin whose primary function is to pull sugar out of the blood and into cells. The cells then use this sugar as a source of fuel.
These simple sugars that are produced by breaking down carbohydrates in the digestive tract are also consumed directly in this broken-down form as simple sugars or sweeteners. Examples of these sweeteners include fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and sucrose. These compounds cause an increase in blood sugar levels which leads a spike in insulin released from the pancreas to quickly reduce the level of sugar in the blood. This quick source of fuel causes energy levels to spike, but is then followed almost immediately by a crash in blood sugar. This crash initiates a feeling of extreme fatigue, headaches, irritability, and cravings for more sugar.
The best way to stabilize blood sugar and insulin release so that this crash doesn’t occur is to avoid the consumption of simple sugar compounds. In order to obtain sweetness without triggering this hormonal response and without loading up on empty calories, there are two all-natural plant-based alternatives which can be added to foods and beverages.
The first sweetener for hormonal balance is extracted from the stevia plant. The stevia plant is grown in tropical regions of South America and its extract is available to buy in liquid and powder form. The second sugar alternative is xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol naturally found in some plants. Xylitol is lower in calories than sugar and does not stimulate the release of insulin by the pancreas. Though an excellent alternative to sugar, some may experience abdominal discomfort if consumed in large quantities.