The Best Natural Sweeteners and How to Use Them: Lakanto and Stevia
Most of us can agree that sugar isn’t good for you, and artificial sweeteners aren’t any better. So where does that leave you when you’re in the mood for something sweet, or it’s the holiday season?
The Truth About Sugar
Stevia is a great sweetener for hot and cold drinks, and even better, it’s convenient. Pack Stevia in your purse or lunch bag for a zero-calorie sweet treat wherever you go.
First, the bad news (and we’ll save the good news for later). Refined sugar may taste delicious, but many call it poison because it can lower immunity, deplete the body of minerals, feed pathogenic Candida yeast, and even contribute to chronic disease. University of Texas researchers most recently linked a high-sugar Western diet with increased breast cancer risk and metastasis to the lungs.1
Artificial sweeteners seem like a good substitute for the danger that is sugar, but they don’t fare much better for us. Duke University researchers found that the artificial sweetener sucralose, or Splenda, can kill beneficial bacteria in the gut, potentially contributing to weight gain.2 Even the so-called “natural” sweeteners like honey, agave, and molasses can still feed Candida to lower immunity and cause even more sugar cravings.
If you have started eating for your health — to feel better, live longer, and reduce the risk of chronic disease — you may feel like you have to give up your favorite sweet stuff for good. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to be the case! The Body Ecology Diet was created as a delicious way to experience your best health. It honors all the tastes in life, including the sweet taste that we have naturally craved since we first drank our mother’s milk.
What Are the Best Natural Sweeteners?
If you think it’s impossible to enjoy sweet-tasting foods because you are following the Body Ecology system for health and healing (or any other sugar-free diet), then you need to know about Stevia and Lakanto.
Stevia and Lakanto are all-natural sugar substitutes that can satisfy your natural craving for sweets. The defining difference between these natural sweeteners and regular sugar or artificial sweetener is that they can give you that sweet taste without harming your health. Stevia and Lakanto don’t feed harmful pathogens (like bad bacteria or Candida) in your body, raise blood sugar, or kill good gut bacteria.
Imagine being able to enjoy delicious, sweet-tasting foods without the calories of sugar or the health risks of artificial sweeteners. Now, with Stevia and Lakanto, you can.
Both Stevia and Lakanto actually benefit your health. The latest research suggests that Stevia may regulate the pancreas and help to stabilize blood sugar levels, making it safe to use for those with hypoglycemia, diabetes, and candidiasis.3 Similarly, Lakanto is a natural sweetener that does not influence blood sugar or insulin release in the body.4
Stevia or Lakanto: Which Do I Use?
With two amazing, all-natural, calorie-free sugar substitutes, you may be wondering which one is better. The answer is…. it depends.
In general, both Stevia and Lakanto are excellent sweeteners for just about any foods you want to sweeten up. However, they have their strengths and weaknesses that often have more to do with your tastes than anything else. Most long-time Body Ecology followers use both Stevia and Lakanto, so we’ve heard a lot of feedback about which is best for what types of foods and drinks.
So here are some guidelines to help you decide between Stevia and Lakanto.
Stevia is best for:
- Hot and cold beverages. Calorie-free Stevia is especially phenomenal for sweetening tea and other hot and cold beverages. So we give Stevia a plus mark (+) for hot tea, milk kefir, young coconut kefir, summertime iced tea, and sour juices like cranberry juice and black currant juice.
- Sweetening on the go. You can tuck Stevia away in your bag and sweeten beverages at work or even on the airplane (Stevia comes in a convenient 2 oz. size that meets airport security regulations for carry-on liquids). Stevia gets a plus mark (+) for convenience.
- Sweetening liquid-y foods like sweet salad dressings (just a drop or two is more than enough), soups, smoothies, and pancake batter. Add some Stevia to your quinoa flakes or buckwheat cereal while they are cooking, plus some vanilla flavoring and a sprinkle of cinnamon, for a delicious substitute for oatmeal! Stevia gets a plus mark (+) here too. (But see Lakanto below.)
- Making baked goods. Keep in mind that while you can use Stevia for baking, cakes and muffins do not rise up and become fluffy like they should. Stevia isn’t really complementary with flour. (It is most complementary with fruits and creamy foods like milk kefir smoothies.) Also, not everyone likes the end result, simply because Stevia doesn’t brown in the same way as foods made with sugar do. Unfortunately, Stevia gets a minus mark (-) on this one.
Lakanto is best for:
- Baked goods. Here is where Lakanto is a star. Made from the naturally sweet luo han guo fruit (monk fruit), calorie-free Lakanto looks like sugar, tastes like sugar, and bakes like sugar — without sugar’s dangers. Use it as a sugar substitute in your favorite recipes and wow your friends. Here’s a coffee cake recipe a clever young woman (age 12) who follows the Body Ecology Way of Life sent in to us for all to enjoy. Lakanto earns high marks (++) for delicious-tasting baked goods.
- Sweet treats. Remember cinnamon sugar? Now you can make healthy cinnamon sugar with Lakanto instead. Mix together 1 tsp. of cinnamon with 1 tbsp. of Lakanto. Add this mixture to grains and probiotic liquids or sprinkle on as a garnish on your favor butternut squash soup for a tasty treat. (Lakanto gets high marks (++) here too.)
- Creating your own Body Ecology recipes.
- Sweetening tea and, yes, coffee (if you absolutely can’t break the coffee habit, which we’d recommend) for those who feel hooked on sugar and want to switch to a healthy just-like-sugar substitute (++). We’ve gotten so many emails saying “Thank You” from happy Body Ecology followers who have finally found a natural sugar substitute that works well in their morning coffee.
Remember, each person’s taste buds are different. Experiment with your favorite recipes to find the combination that works for you. Whether you use Stevia or Lakanto, it’s great to have the option to choose beneficial, all-natural sweeteners that don’t harm your health. Now, in moderation, you can have your cake — and eat it safely too!
What To Remember Most About This Article:
If you can’t have sugar, and you can’t have artificial sweeteners, then what can you have? While refined sugar in the Western diet has been linked to chronic disease, and artificial sweeteners can kill good bacteria in the gut to cause possible weight gain, some natural sweeteners are without these harmful side effects.
Body Ecology considers Stevia and Lakanto to be the best natural sweeteners to give you a sweet taste without sabotaging your diet or your health:
- Stevia: Use convenient liquid stevia at home or on the go to sweeten hot and cold beverages, as well as other liquid foods like salad dressings, soups, smoothies, milk kefir, and pancake batter. Stevia can be used for baking, although granulated Lakanto is a better choice.
- Lakanto: Lakanto looks, tastes, and bakes just like sugar, making it perfect to use as a natural sugar substitute in baked goods. Lakanto can be swapped in for sugar to make your favorite treats or to sweeten probiotic drinks, tea, and coffee (if you haven’t broken your coffee habit yet).
Your preference for Stevia or Lakanto may come down to a matter of personal taste, but at the very least, you can rest assured that you are using an all-natural sweetener that won’t compromise your health. It’s comforting to know that even when eating for your health, you don’t have to give up the sweet taste that we all intuitively crave from birth.
- Yan Jiang, Yong Pan, Patrea R. Rhea, Lin Tan, Mihai Gagea, Lorenzo Cohen, Susan M. Fischer, and Peiying Yang. A Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway. Cancer Res, January 1, 2016 76:24-29 DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-3432.
- MB Abou-Donia, et al. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008; 71 (21): 1415 – 1429.
- Antihyperglycemic effects of stevioside in type 2 diabetic subjects. Gregersen S, Jeppesen PB, Holst JJ, Hermansen K. Metabolism. 2004 Jan; 53(1):73-6.
- Nutr Res. 2008 Apr;28(4):278-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.02.008.