Cut Back On Sugar To Save Your Life

A few years ago I had a nasty fight with a rare form of cancer. Doctor battle the cancer; patients battle the side effects of the battle. It was brutal. But when our team won, my doctor told me that my sugar-free diet was part of the reason I survived.

I try to avoid sugar as well as I can. I do a lot of baking and use xylitol and stevia as substitutes, sometimes agave or maple syrup. I don't think I've ever bought sugar in my life and I don't recall ever working with it although I was a chef both in Amsterdam and later, briefly, in San Francisco.

Thomas Keller is the owner of two of America's most exclusive fine dining establishments, Per Se in New York City and the French Laundry, Gavin Newsom's favorite, in Yountville (Napa Valley). I'm excited that Keller is excited about about a natural sugar substitute, Supplant, which bills itself as being made from plant fiber (like wheat, rice and corn), being lower in calories, having a low glycemic response (how individual foods impact blood sugar levels) compared to glucose and being prebiotic (good for gut health).

How do they make it? They "start by collecting fiber-rich parts of crops like stems, stalks, husks and cobs from farmyards, forests and food facilities. We then grind down these often-unused agricultural by-products into manageable chunks so that the fiber inside them is easily accessible. Next we break down the long and complex chains of sugars found in fiber using enzymes from fungi. These long chains of sugars (which scientists call polysaccharides) break down into shorter chains of sugars (which scientists call oligosaccharides and sugars). This releases our sugars from fiber blend. Once we’re finished with our blend of fiber-derived sugars and fibers, we can cook, bake and mix with it to make delicious products. These fiber-derived sugars behave like traditional sugar in food-- but retain certain fiber-based qualities."

Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that isn’t broken down during digestion. But because of that, fiber is then able to become food for the good bacteria in our gut. For that reason, fiber is often referred to as “prebiotic.” It promotes the growth of good bacteria in our bodies, because it’s the food good bacteria feed on. Having healthy colonies of good bacteria in your gut is healthy, and not only in aiding digestion; science has begun to look more closely at how this enormous system of organisms influences-- and even improves-- health conditions, from heart disease to arthritis to cancer.

Bonus: Supplant, made from stalks, husks and hulls is environmentally-friendly because of sustainability and a reduction in the air pollution and greenhouse gases that comes from burning that "waste product." The manufacturing doesn't waste the immense amounts of water processing cane sugar does. We'll have to see if congressional bribery from the sugar cartel is also reduced.