The desert lies bare and brown for years — and then when it rains, it suddenly blooms with color. How do these plants stay alive and dormant during those dry years? By means of the sugar we are looking at today — Trehalose. Naturally occurring Trehalose protects the seeds so that when water does come, it is immediately sucked inside and the plant comes to life.
That trait makes Trehalose useful for cosmetic companies and many have used it as an ingredient for years. It helps skin lotions keep dry skin moisturized and plumped up.
But what does it do for the areas we don’t want “plumped?” Yes, this natural sugar might help us on our quest for a healthier weight. It has just 11 calories per teaspoon — but is only half as sweet as sugar. That may mean you use twice as much, which makes it 22 calories to sugar’s 16. However, the benefit comes from two areas. For one, Trehalose is digested in the small intestine, not the stomach. That means it has a long, slow delay to hit the bloodstream. That prohibits the sugar rush and big insulin dump — and subsequent crash. It’s this rise and fall of insulin which instructs the body to store fat. Trehalose can help bypass that scenario.
But is it low glycemic? I perused dozens of Web sites looking for an actual number. One said it was as high as 90. Another said 35. Why the difference? I think I found an answer on the Endowment for Medical Research site which sells Trehalose. They said that Trehalose is made of up of two glucose molecules. These are digested only in the small intestines by an enzyme our bodies make called “trehalAse.” People who have more of this enzyme digest more TrehalOse and digest it more quickly. That particular site suggested that diabetics and others who are concerned about blood sugar test themselves to see what their own individual response is.
The other advantage of Trehalose is the good that it does your body. It helps protect your cells like it does the cells of the desert plants. Research into using Trehalose to prevent and treat neurological diseases like Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s has been promising. In Alzheimer’s disease malformed proteins get into the wrong areas of the brain and clump together. Trehalose inihibits that clumping of the malformed protein. Tests are ongoing, so no definite conclusions yet.
I read lots of testimonies of people who claim greater mental acuity and clarity of thought after using Trehalose for a while. I don’t believe anyone who eats table sugar can claim that!
My research into this sugar led to a lot of unexpected areas. I read that using it in bathwater will help eliminate the body odor common to elderly people. Spraying it on hair has been proven to help the hair retain moisture. I haven’t tried either of these, so I can’t say if it will make you sticky or not.
You can cook with Trehalose since it is heat stable, but it’s lower sweetness may change some recipes. People who are enthusiastic about cooking with this sugar are ones who say, “It keeps my desserts from being too sweet.” Those of us with a sweet tooth may need to figure out how to compensate with our recipes.
Totally natural, protects your cells, may prevent Alzheimer’s disease, low to moderate glycemic index. What’s the downside? As usual, the price. It runs about $9 a pound plus shipping and handling. However, if it really does prevent Alzheimer’s, it is certainly cheap at that price! The calorie count and the lack of sweetness also fall on the negative side.
What do I think? Personally, I ordered 5 lbs. and will give it a try. If I don’t like it, I’ll bathe with it and smell sweet, so I guess I can hardly lose!
Eating to live and living for Christ,
Susan Jordan Brown