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Is There Really Such a Thing as "Healthy" Sweets?

Can candies with artificial sweeteners really be healthy?

Are There “Smart” or “Healthy” Sweets?

Martha C. Lindsay, MS, CNE, Certified Advanced Clinical Nutrition Response Testing, GAPS Certified

Refined sweeteners of any kind are extremely unhealthy for both your brain and body. This includes not only sugar and high fructose corn syrup, but also concentrated fruit juices, lab-created chemicals ending in “-ols,” and dozens of other euphemisms for sugar that sound natural and healthy, but are actually anything but.

What makes sweeteners so bad?

Refined sugar and sweeteners break down the body’s protective blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins into the brain. This leads to problems including joint, back and abdominal pain, brain inflammation, headaches, changes in behavior, skin rashes, cardiovascular

david pacey / flickr
Source: david pacey / flickr

damage, stress, gastrointestinal problems, overstimulation of the pancreas, and more. The best way to avoid these serious health issues is to avoid consuming refined sugar and sweeteners — but it isn’t always easy to know where they’re hiding.

In the supermarket, you’ll notice labels on food packaging saying, “No high fructose corn syrup!” and “Trans-fats free!” Those statements were written by marketing professionals looking to sell products. They may be true, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything else unhealthy lurking in there. Read the ingredients on the package for any potential health hazards. Any one of the substances on the list below will affect the body just like refined sugar or corn syrup would. With over a hundred different names for sugar out there, and new ones being coined by marketing professionals all the time, this list is not complete!

Other words for “Sugar:”

  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Galactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Crystal Dextrose
  • Corn Sweetener
  • Brown Rice Syrup
  • Fruit Juice Concentrate
  • Fruit Juice
  • Invert Sugar
  • Cane Sugar
  • Cane Juice
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Raw Cane Sugar
  • Cane Crystals
  • Brown Sugar
  • Beet Sugar
  • Palm Sugar
  • Date Sugar
  • Coconut Sugar
  • Rice Malt
  • Barley Malt
  • Malt Syrup
  • Rice Bran Syrup
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Solids
  • Diastatic Malt
  • Muscovado Sugar
  • Turbinado Sugar
  • Demerara Sugar
  • Sorbitol
  • Sucanat
  • Xylitol

A “Sweeter” Alternative

Luckily, this doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of dessert. You can find hundreds of delicious recipes for candy, cakes, cookies, and ice cream using raw honey or whole fruit for sweetening. Check out these sugar-free chocolate popsicles, almond cookies, secret-ingredient brownies, or paleo-approved peach cobbler. For more great ideas, look on Pinterest for healthy dessert recipes, or type “desserts and candy made with honey” into Google.

No matter what sweet treat you choose, try to only consume sweet foods after meals so that your full stomach can dilute the sugar, slowing down its absorption into the bloodstream and keeping you balanced.

There is a Way!™

- Dr. Diane®

Copyright © Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D. July 2015

TAGS: sugar, high fructose corn syrup, candy, brain health diet


Gut and Psychology Syndrome, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, revised 2013.

Lick the Sugar Habit, by Nancy Appleton, 1996.

Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter, 2013.

Cure Your Child With Food, by Kelly Dorfman, 2011, 2013.

The 21 Day Sugar Detox, by Diane Sanfilippo, 2013.

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