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Hammer Nutrition's healthy sweeteners

By Steve Born

Anyone who's used Hammer Nutrition fuels for even a short period of time knows that we give a big "thumbs down" when it comes to the use of refined simple sugars (substances that end in "ose" - glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.), artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame-K, etc.), and high fructose corn syrup. This garbage has absolutely no business being in your body because these kinds of sugars and sweeteners provide ZERO benefits for athletic performance and overall health. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to read the label carefully when purchasing an athletic fuel or everyday food product to make sure it doesn't contain any added refined simple sugars, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup. You don't need it, so don't eat it!

While you're at it, also make sure there aren't any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in the foods you buy and consume. Chemicals used in processing, such as polyethylene glycol found in some effervescent athletic fuels (not to mention antifreeze), are a definite "no no" as well. Like simple refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, avoid this junk like the plague!

Refined simple sugars? Artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives? Chemical processing agents? You won't find them in Hammer Nutrition fuels! Healthy options are the only options we want in our fuels and in your body! We have no doubt the following ingredients used in our fuels are undeniably better choices.

Energy Smart„¢ - While the production process of Energy Smart„¢ is a heavily guarded, trademarked secret, rest assured that the "end product" is not a simple sugar (like glucose or fructose), but rather a medium- to long-chain carbohydrate, made by combining naturally occurring, unrefined sugars from fruit plus specially developed medium-chain carbohydrates from grain.* In simplest terms, the proprietary process of making Energy Smart„¢ involves taking the short-chain sugar (saccharide) molecules from fruit and adding more saccharide molecules from grain. The FDA guidelines rate Energy Smart„¢ as an "other carbohydrate," neither simple nor complex. Dr. Bill Misner writes, "The unique biochemistry of Energy Smart„¢ raises blood glucose as fast as sucrose (table sugar) and faster than fructose and, when ingested, human physiology interprets the biochemistry of Energy Smart„¢ as a complex carbohydrate, resulting in gradual but welcome increases to serum blood sugar levels."

*After reviewing the company's allergen chart (which states that, among other things, it is free of amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, spelt, triticale, and wheat), we ascertain that the grain used is rice.

Xylitol - This natural substance that can be found in a variety of fibrous fruits and vegetables is also known as birch sugar, primarily because it is usually extracted/produced from birch trees. (It can also be extracted and produced from corn cobs.) The human body naturally produces over 15 grams of xylitol every day by way of normal metabolic processes.

Xylitol also promotes oral health, as it does not ferment and support the acid-producing bacteria that cause tooth decay. That's why you'll find this unique sweetener in gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash, and it's one of the reasons why we include small amounts of it in many Hammer Nutrition fuels.

Note that xylitol may cause stomach distress and/or have a laxative effect when consumed in high doses. It has no known toxicity, though; people have consumed as much as 400 grams daily for long periods with no ill effects. Generally, xylitol-induced gastric stress occurs as a laxative effect in xylitol-sensitive people who consume 30 grams in a single dose or multiple doses in a short period of time.

It is also believed that xylitol is unsafe for consumption by dogs; therefore, we do not recommend you feed your dog any xylitol-containing products, including HEED or Recoverite, nor any products that are made for human consumption.

Stevia - This extract (steviosides) is derived from the leaves of Stevia rebaudiana, a plant native to subtropical and tropical Central and South America. Stevia's sweet taste, considered to be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, means that minimal amounts are necessary to sweeten a product. Stevia is noncaloric and does not affect blood sugar levels, therefore it is safe for diabetics. Stevia may help to lower elevated blood pressure while not affecting people with normal blood pressure. Like xylitol, stevia does not support acid-producing bacteria responsible for tooth decay. HN

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