Many people ask me about finding a good sweetener alternative to sugar. White sugar, cane sugar, fructose, or turbinado, are all just sugar. Sugar is high on the glycemic index, which means that it goes right into the blood stream as sugar. Carbohydrates also turn into sugar in the body at varying rates depending on the food.

Sugar in small amounts is necessary. However, most of us get way more sugar than we need. Sugar can have a profound affect on energy, mood, and wellbeing. We should all try to limit the amount of sugar in our diets. People who have any kind of mood disorder, ADHD, learning disabilities, hypoglycemia, weight gain and/or diabetes need to limit their intake of sugar.

Artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, Sweet and Low are all just that: artificial! They are synthetic products made out of chemicals. In essence, I would rather people have actual sugar than these products for raw cane sugar is, at least, natural. However, realistically speaking, we need to limit our sugar.

Honey is lower on the glycemic index than sugar, however it is still pretty high. Fruits can vary on the glycemic index scale depending on the fruit. Watermelon being the highest, cherries being the lowest. Try to keep your glycemic intake in the low to moderate range.

Stevia is a genus of about 240 species of herbs and shrubs in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical South America and Central America. The species Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, commonly known as sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar. Not only is stevia a zero on the glycemic index, research has shown that it is effective at combating obesity and hypertension, as well as enhancing glucose tolerance for diabetics.

Thank you to Noah Samuels for being our guest speaker this week!

Noah Samuels is a Licensed Acupuncturist, herbalist and nutritional counselor specializing in the natural treatment of ADD/ADHD in pediatrics and adults.

Karina Richland, M.A., is the author of the PRIDE Reading Program, a multisensory Orton-Gillingham reading, writing and comprehension curriculum that is available worldwide for parents, tutors, teachers and homeschoolers of struggling readers. Karina has an extensive background in working with students of all ages and various learning modalities. She has spent many years researching learning differences and differentiated teaching practices. You can reach her by email at or visit the website at

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