By Noah Samuels /  Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist

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. You can go to this website: for a more complete gylcemic index chart. You can print it out and put it on your refrigerator door. 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.

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