Fit and slim for summer, but how? Sugar is omnipresent, whether it's a refreshing soft drink or a delicious scoop of ice cream, the white poison is hiding everywhere. However, abstinence is particularly important for our health, as uncontrolled sugar consumption causes insulin levels and blood sugar levels to skyrocket. Excess sugar is converted into fat and stored in the form of fat deposits. Once the insulin system is out of balance, the body reacts with cravings and demands more sugar. In the worst case, a disturbed metabolism can lead to diseases such as diabetes or metabolic syndrome (cf. Lustig, 2015). Luckily there are healthy alternatives! Find out below which top 3 healthy sugar substitutes can help you lose weight in the summer.

Sugar substitute top 1 “Xylitol”

Xylith or xylitol is also known as birch sugar because it was initially obtained on a large scale from Finnish birch trees. Xylith is one of the sugar alcohols and can be optimally utilized because it occurs naturally in the body. It is similar to harmful table sugar in appearance and taste, except that xylitol has a positive effect on the body and health. With a glycemic index of 7, it is significantly lower than sugar (100) and can therefore be used optimally for weight loss. Today xylith is primarily obtained from a mixture of different hardwoods, more rarely just from birch. For cost reasons, large quantities are even produced using corn cobs. In order not to accidentally get xylitol from GM corn, you should definitely pay attention to the organic quality of the products when purchasing.

How xylitol can be used as a sugar substitute has been tested at the Turku Dental Institute (Finland) since 1965. The “Turku sugar studies” showed that xylitol could not cause tooth decay. The researchers even found that the healthy sweetener had antibacterial effects and could counteract tooth decay, fungal infections and candida. It increases collagen production and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. (Makinen et al., 1988)

However, large amounts of xylitol should initially be avoided as it can have a laxative effect (no more than 500 mg per kilogram of body weight). In contrast to humans, some animals (including dogs, rabbits, goats, cattle) are not allowed to consume xylitol because they lack an important breakdown enzyme in the liver. So a little caution is advised here if you want to do something good for your pet.

Sugar substitute top 2 “Erythritol”

Erythritol occurs naturally in plums, strawberries and pistachios. As an industrial sugar substitute, it looks and tastes similar to sugar. Erythritol, like xylitol, is a sugar alcohol. Compared to xylitol, it has the advantage of being particularly easy to digest. 95% of it is absorbed in the small intestine and the kidneys excrete it unchanged (EUROPEAN COMMISSION, 2003). It has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it has no effect on insulin levels. It is also important for oral hygiene, as erythritol cannot be used by caries bacteria (cf. Mäkinen et al., 2005).

Sugar substitute top 3 “Stevia”

South Americans have been using the leaves of the stevia plant to sweeten tea for over a hundred years. In industrial societies, stevia is used for quick sweetening in the form of powder, tablets or liquid. The sweetening power of stevia is approximately thirty times greater than that of sugar. Stevia can be used as a healthy sugar substitute, especially in baking and cooking. However, stevia has no calories (GI=0) and cannot be used by caries bacteria. Since it has no effect on insulin levels, it can play a crucial role in weight loss.

According to a study by the University of Hong Kong, stevia can even significantly reduce blood pressure (University of Hong Kong, 2000) and, according to a scientific study from Japan, it even has an inhibitory effect on the development of cancer (Nihon University of Japan, 2002).

In terms of taste, however, the healthy sweetener differs significantly from sugar compared to erythritol and xylitol. Depending on the product, it may have a slightly bitter aftertaste. “The higher quality the starting product, the more natural and genuine the sweetness is. High-quality stevioside preparations are characterized by a mild sweetness without bitter substances.” (See stevia guide, see sources)

Info: Glycemic index (GI): This index is a measure that indicates the level of insulin secretion after an intake of 50 grams of usable carbohydrates. Glucose or glucose has a glycemic index of 100. (German Society for Nutrition, 2004). xylitol = 7 ; table sugar = 70; Coca-Cola = 80; erythritol = 0; Stevia = 0


Andrea Flemmer; Anne Kamp: Stevia. The healthy & calorie-free sugar alternative, Munich 2013.

Bettina-Nicola Lindner: Xylitol. The ideal sugar. Healthy for teeth, metabolism and immune system, Freiburg 2013.

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