Tag: artificial sweeteners

That’s NASty! Are Non-Caloric Artificial Sweeteners (NAS) Making Us Sick?

non-caloric artificial sweeteners

Here’s a one-question nutrition pop quiz … what’s better for your health: regular soda or diet?

Clearly the answer is not regular soda, right? After all, a regular can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. And all that sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity. So even though diet soda has chemicals, it’s much better for your health to have 0 grams of sugar than all that sugar in regular soda … right?


According to recent research, artificial sweeteners may be just as bad for your health as regular sugar. In fact, this study suggests non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) damage your gut bacteria.

What does that mean for your health?

Well, I previously wrote about how your gut is like your second brain and plays a major role in your overall health. The amount of beneficial (good) bacteria versus harmful bacteria in your gut determines how effective your digestion is, how strong your immune system is functioning, and even how healthy your skin looks.

gut bacteria

They’re Everywhere, They’re Everywhere!

As if anybody needed more convincing that artificial sweeteners are bad for you, this new research takes the cake.

If you have a diet soda once in a blue moon, I’m not suggesting that your gut bacteria will be damaged over night. But the problem is artificial sweeteners are in so many products.

Chewing gum (Any brand of sugar free). Bread (Thomas English Muffins 100% Whole Wheat) Yogurt (Yoplait Light). Iced Tea (I’m talking about you, Snapple). Popcorn (Orville Redenbacher). Hot Chocolate (Nestle). Ice cream (Breyer’s Low Carb Smart).

Getting the idea?

So if artificial sweeteners are so bad for your health, why does the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) allow it?

I’ll play devil’s advocate for a second and say that in moderation, these fake sugars probably don’t do much damage. Maybe you’ve heard about studies that feed rats or mice the equivalent of 100 cans of soda a day. Of course, the rodents are going to get sick with that much junk pumping through their tiny, sensitive systems.

But here’s the thing….

Because these artificial sweeteners are in so many foods, most people aren’t aware they are consuming so much of them.

That’s why I try to eat as much organic and all-natural foods as possible. Not that I eat bread, but if I did, I wouldn’t buy a conventional name-brand loaf; I’d be buying it from a farmer’s market, knowing that the bread has only a few ingredients with no added or fake sugars.

gut flora

Artificial Sweeteners Are Making Us Sick

It’s easy to be cynical and say that I, as someone who is selling Organic Green Drinks for a living, is just trying to demonize sugar (be they real or fake) in order to make a buck. And don’t get me wrong, I am in business to make a living. But the reason I wake up excited in the morning has nothing to do with income and everything to do with the daily success stories I read on Yelp or that come in my email inbox.

The seven certified organic green leafy veggies in my Green Drink contain prebiotic fiber that result in good gut health. And as I mentioned above, your gut is in control of all aspects of your health. But millions of people who consume foods and drink with hidden artificial sweeteners have, or are in danger of having one or more metabolic diseases. What are metabolic diseases? Here’s a list:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Dementia
  • High Blood Pressure

metabolic syndrome

image courtesy healthfreedoms.org

Stay Sweet, Naturally

As a certified nutritional therapist, my advice is to have real sources of sugar in moderation, mostly from fruit. If you need your healthy morning juice with a little sweetness, try my Tropical Smoothie. It’s contains the same 7 leafy greens in Green Drink that are great for gut health. It’s sweetened with a little pineapple juice. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain, which is good for digestion. There’s only 3 grams of naturally-occurring sugar in an 8 oz. serving of my Tropical Smoothie. (Compare that to other leading juice brands, which contain 30 or more grams of sugar!)

There’s some controversy over stevia and whether or not it’s really all-natural. True stevia comes from a plant and is therefore natural. But some brands of stevia also contain maltodextrin (corn sweetener) and/or are made in a lab.

My take on the stevia debate? You have to pick and choose your battles. I think stevia sweetener isn’t nearly as bad as other synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium (ace-K), and sucralose. That’s why I recommend avoiding as much as possible the following brand-name fake sugars: Splenda, Sweet’N Low, Nutrasweet, Equal, and Splenda.

The best natural zero-calorie sweetener in my opinion is monkfruit extract. It’s more pricey than stevia. But isn’t your health worth a couple extra bucks? Your gut will thank you in many ways.



For several years, there’s been lots of concern about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Do they cause cancer? Can they lead to hyperactivity in kids? Do they trick the brain into eating more calories? While the FDA still maintains that fake sugars are safe in moderation, this new research tying the synthetic sweet stuff to poor gut health, in my opinion, is the nail in the coffin (no pun intended).

Stay sweet, naturally, my friends….


Chef V

Chef V and kale

What Is Luo Han Guo?

Veronica working from home

If you have a sweet tooth and struggle with sugar cravings, a sugar-alternative making waves in the organic food world is Luo Han Guo. AKA Monkfruit.

Read on to learn about this nutritious ingredient and why we’re using it to sweeten our beloved shakes.

The History of Luo Han Guo

Luo Han Guo goes by many names, most notably monkfruit.

Native to Southern China and Northern Thailand, monkfruit is a vining plant that produces robust bulb-like fruit. Botanically speaking, it is part of the gourd family—think squash, pumpkin and zucchini.

Records of the plant in China date back to the medieval period where the flesh of the fruit was eaten or turned into juice, and the rind used to make tea. Monkfruit juice were historically noted for their medicinal usage, combating fever, heatstroke, and inflammation.

Interestingly, Luo Han Guo translates from Chinese to roughly mean arhat fruit. Arhat being a Buddhist term for one who has reached enlightenment and perfection.

Finally, monkfruit extracts are super sweet. And when we say ‘super’ we mean it: luo han guo beats sugar on the sweetness scale by over 150-200 times!

green drink

The Benefits of Luo Han Guo

Luo Han Guo is as enlightened as it is nutritious. Some of the said benefits include:

Zero Calorie, Zero Carb: The primary reason we use Luo Han Guo to sweeten our shakes is that it does not contain calories nor carbs. The perfect combination for a cleanse.

More Efficient: Being so much sweeter than sugar, you need less Luo Han Guo for the same effect – it’s a sweetener that can punch above its weight.

Zero Sugar: Since it’s a non-sugar sweetener, Luo Han Guo is great for those who are looking for a way to control their blood sugar levels.

No Side Effects: Luo Han Guo is a perfectly natural and organic sweetener. It’s also had plenty of study over the years. This means no worries about surprising side effects.

Flexible: Luo Han Guo extract can be prepared into granules, powders, and liquids. If you’re making healthy foods, this gives you a plenty of choices depending on the recipe you’re using it in.

Antioxidant: The Luo Han Guo fruit may have significant antioxidant properties. While research into exactly what kinds of antioxidants are in monkfruit is ongoing, every little bit of heart health helps.


Enlightening Our Shakes

We use both luo han guo and stevia as non-sugar sweeteners in our products. Both are safe sweetener options, though they have unique tastes, which make them suitable for different uses. Our vanilla shake uses a mix of stevia products, while our chocolate shake gets its taste from a blending of stevia and luo han guo.

No matter how they get their sweetness though, our shakes are designed to be healthy – and the lack of sugar is a big part of this. Combined with organic flavoring, they make a great part of our cleanse programs.

The Scoop On Stevia

Veronica working from home

Too often, juice cleanses and shakes are considered a necessary evil when detoxing. Something to be chugged as quickly as possible.

At Chef V, we’re on a mission to change this perception of blended juices and shakes. Our recipes perfectly balance nutrition and flavor, ensuring you never force yourself through our cleanses, but you actually enjoy them.

“How are you capable of producing deliciously nutritious beverages?”, you ask. Well, at least when it comes to our shakes, stevia is a key ingredient.

Read on to learn more about stevia, including its health benefits and flavor profile.

What is stevia?

Stevia is an all-natural sweetener extracted from a plant called Stevia rebaudiana. It also goes by a number of delicious common names such as candy leaf, sweetleaf, and sugar leaf.

What makes stevia special?

While many types of sugar are extracted from plants (sugarcane, anyone?), not all are created equal. In fact, we would argue stevia is by far the superior extract.

First, stevia is significantly sweeter than the white sugar in your cupboard. This means that you can use less of it to reach the same level of desired sweetness.

Second, stevia is naturally low in calories and carbs, making it an excellent alternative for individuals looking to lose weight or lower their blood sugar.

Beyond just adding fewer carbs to your diet, stevia has also been noted to help control cravings.

Finally, the European Food Safety Committee (EFSA) concluded that stevia itself is non-allergenic. Meaning, anyone is safe to eat it.

So what’s the catch?

There really is no catch!

In all honesty, there was a period of time when some people believed the sweetener was linked to kidney problems. However, that study has been debunked. In fact, safety studies have concluded stevia is side-effect free.

Perhaps the only reason Americans haven’t permanently binned their refined sugar is because of flavor. Refined sugar and stevia have different flavor profiles. This means anyone looking to replace sugar with stevia in their favorite recipes will notice a difference in the final product.

Try a sugar-free shake today

At Chef V, stevia is a key ingredient in our organic detox shakes. We believe in being able to enjoy a little sweetness along with all the hard work you’re doing during a cleanse. The sweetness of stevia helps our chocolate and vanilla shakes taste great. This way, they can help you beat cravings, boosting your weight loss as you undergo your cleanse.

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.