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So many of my clients write me that they really don’t like plain water, and wonder how they can stay hydrated. So I put together this mini-guide for sugar alternatives and tips for flavoring water, with a recipe for a “lemon-lime spritzer.”
If you don't like plain water or just want something with more zip, two of the easiest ways to flavor water (and drink more of it), include:
If you want to add a touch of sweetness AND flavor to your water, SweetLeaf’s Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™ and their new product, Liquid Stevia Water Drops™, add flavor to water with just a few drops. You can find these drops in health food stores, vitamin shops, and Whole Foods, or you can buy them online. My favorite flavors are Peach Mango, Mixed Berry, and Lemon Lime Water Drops.
Below is a recipe below for making your own lemon-lime spritzer, a sparkling drink with a hint of sweetness. (For variety, you can experiment with other fruits such as oranges or strawberries, and different flavors of Liquid Stevia as well)
8 ounces of sparkling water
2-3 slices of lemon and/or lime
2-3 drops of Liquid Stevia (Sweet Leaf Brand- Plain or Lemon Drop)
Ice cubes (as desired)
SIX COMMON NATURAL SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
Stevia is a non-caloric herbal extract with an intensely sweet flavor. It has no calories, and it will not raise your blood glucose levels. You can buy stevia in powdered or liquid form. Truvia® is stevia and erythritol. The ingredients listed on the Truvia label are erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and natural flavors. According to the Nutrition Facts label, one serving of Truvia is 3.5 grams, and a serving contains 3 grams of erythritol.
Agave nectar is made through the extraction and purification of the juice of the agave cactus. It is mainly metabolized in the liver and has a lower glycemic index. On occasion, it is an effective sweetener for diabetics, but should be used very sparingly because of its high fructose content. Fructose has a propensity to increase serum triglycerides.
Barley malt and brown rice syrup are sweeteners prepared by fermenting the grain from which they came. Brown rice syrup has no fructose, but will affect blood glucose levels so diabetics should use it only sparingly.
Coconut nectar: Raw coconut nectar, or "coconut palm nectar," comes from the sweet sap that results from tapping the thick flowering stems of the coconut blossom. This sap is further evaporated at low temperatures, producing a raw, low glycemic and nutrient-rich pourable syrup. It contains low amounts of glucose, sucrose, and fructose (about 10%) but it is also high in the polysaccharide inulin, a prebiotic fiber that aids in the process of digestion.
Monk fruit extract: Monk fruit, also known as luo han guo, is a vine-ripened fruit native to Asia. Monk fruit extract has zero calories and is said to be about 300 times sweeter than cane sugar. Monk fruit extract is sold commercially under a few brand names including Monk Fruit in the Raw® (dextrose is added) and Australian Made Norbu™ (erythritol is added).
Allulose is one of many different sugars that exists in nature in very small quantities. It was initially identified in wheat and has since been found in certain fruits including jackfruit, figs, and raisins. A monosaccharide, or simple sugar, allulose is absorbed by the body but not metabolized into glucose so it is nearly calorie-free and has little to no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels. It is currently available in granulated form, and can be used in cooking and baking.
What about erythritol? Erythritol is a “sugar alcohol” that at the industrial level is produced through a natural fermentation process. Erythritol is 60 to 70% as sweet as table sugar and has a minimal effect on blood-sugar level. It is absorbed before it enters the large intestine, and generally does not cause the laxative effects often experienced after consumption of other sugar alcohols such as Maltitol and Sorbitol.
Janet Sanders is an attorney and Certified Health Coach dedicated to empowering the millions of people struggling with cravings, chronic high blood sugars, and yo-yo weight gain, to reach their health goals, experience vibrant health, and get off of the dieting merry-go-round for good. Janet has created a totally free coaching community, Blood Sugar Central, to bring together anyone looking for resources and support. It includes daily resources, tips, recipes, peer support, and coaching from Janet. She also offers webinars, workshops, challenges, group coaching programs, and 1:1 personal coaching. Janet is also dedicated to connecting with other health and fitness professionals and organizations who would like to provide blood-sugar coaching resources to their patients, clients, and/or members. Janet is the author of “Beat the Blood Sugar Blues,” which is the foundation for her signature LIVE FREE blood-sugar coaching system. She is also a certified Meditation Teacher and Dance Fitness Instructor with a specialty in low-impact dance fitness instruction. You can learn more about her upcoming challenge and coaching resources at her coaching community, https://www.facebook.com/groups/bloodsugarcentral, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.