Are Any Artificial Sweeteners Safe?

Are there any safe, sweet alternatives to sugar?

Research on artificial sweeteners is still emerging. Several readers have recently asked about stevia – one of the newer artificial sweeteners on the market – and whether it's safe...

Unlike other artificial sweeteners, stevia is an extract from the stevia plant... So it's a more natural form of sweetener. It's also in brandname sweeteners Truvia and Pure Via.

In a review by the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health in Zurich, researchers wrote that stevia extracts appear to be properly broken down by the colon.

That's our major concern with another artificial sweetener – sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda. It's not easily broken down and may even stop your colon from breaking down glucose.

Another study, from the University of Florida, points out that stevia helps reduce blood-sugar spikes after eating. It also increases the body's sensitivity to insulin, meaning you can better control the breakdown of sugar in your body.

However, there is some conflicting research about stevia and blood pressure. Some research suggests that stevia lowers your blood pressure... which leads to dangerous levels if you're already on blood-pressure-lowering medication. Unfortunately, there aren't enough studies for us to know just how dangerous this is.

Talk to your doctor before switching to stevia, and monitor your blood pressure to know exactly how you react to the sweetener.

Personally, I like to satisfy my sweet tooth by using raw honey as a sweetener. Also, look for naturally sweet foods like fruits to ease your cravings. The fiber in the fruit helps to slow the absorption of sugar... And you'll get all the health benefits of fruits, too.

Finally, always check how much added sugar is in your food. You might be surprised.

Q: You've been bullish for a long time. I read your e-mail about the end of the bull market. Are you going bearish on us? – N.H.

A: For the past seven years, we've been arguing that the economy has been slowly grinding higher... And we've been riding the bull market that grew out of it. But markets don't get too hot until the crowd works itself into a frenzy. For the entirety of this bull market, we haven't seen a frenzy.

But as optimism in the market continues to rise, we're getting more skeptical that some of its moves can be sustained.

That doesn't mean we're calling for a crash. We're not... yet.

We're still bullish overall. There is still money to be made as this bull market starts to get long.

And that's what Steve Sjuggerud told listeners in a special emergency briefing last week.

Steve believes we're in the middle of a stock market "Melt Up." According to Steve...

Melt Ups happen during the final inning of a bull market – usually lasting 12 to 18 months.

A Melt Up is the grand finale... And it's when the biggest gains are made.

And Steve says there's one specific group of international stocks that will benefit from this phenomenon more than any other. And he's telling his readers exactly what they need to do.

Tonight is your last chance to learn more about Steve's strategy. Click here to learn more.

Q: Would you consider sharing your insights on purchasing MLPs for a Roth IRA, 401(k), or IRA retirement account? – D.B.

A: This is a common question. Note that we can't give individual tax or investment advice with our recommendations. What account you should buy them in will depend on your own unique tax situation. Here's my personal rule of thumb...

You want to be sure to put the highest-taxed investments into the IRA and the remainder in other accounts. Most advisers will tell you that this means you should put bonds and other income-producing investments into your IRA... The income on these investments creates taxes every year, which leads to more taxes. When you hold a stock, you don't pay any taxes on capital gains until you sell it. So in a way, the taxes are already deferred on these investments.

That's the traditional answer. But the right move is more complex than that.

It's true that income investments produce more taxable events, but if you have a long time until retirement, your stocks are likely to create more gains. Over virtually all of modern history, stocks have posted a better return than bonds. Since you'll make so much more profit on your stocks, you'll end up paying more taxes by keeping them in a regular account.

The tipping point for this phenomenon seems to be an investment horizon of about 20 years. If you've got more than 20 years until retirement, your stocks should go in the tax-deferred account. Less than 20, and you should put your income investments into the tax-deferred account.

Q: Could you print the list of EVOO again? Thanks! – B.B.

A: Olive oil is one of our favorite foods. There are lots of different kinds of olive oil, some you can use for cooking and some you shouldn't. We've got a full guide on the health benefits of olive oil, how to safely enjoy it, and the best brands to buy right here.

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
July 7, 2017