How a Rare Type of Glucose Can Improve Health and Sweeten Your Coffee
Have you heard of trehalose? As a sugar substitute for coffee, it’s beginning to grow in popularity, and not just because it contains fewer calories than normal sugar. Scientists are still learning about the health benefits of trehalose, but studies suggest that it has enormous potential for staving off serious diseases, regulating blood sugar levels, moisturizing your skin and boosting your energy levels.
In this article, we’ll explain what trehalose is, how it can benefit you, and how you can begin adding it to your daily diet.
What is Trehalose?
Trehalose is a natural sugar compound made of two glucose molecules. It’s known as a slow carbohydrate, which means it digests slowly. It also goes by the names “mycose” or “tremalose”.
You’ve likely ingested trehalose at some point in your life. It’s naturally occurring, and it can be found in organisms like shrimp, mushrooms, yeast, and honey, as well as organisms like bacteria, insects, nematodes and several types of plants. Some of these organisms, like plants, bacteria, and fungi, use it as their main source of energy.
In recent years, humans have found ways to derive trehalose powder from the naturally occurring sugar compound, and we’re beginning to discover that it could have an entire host of health benefits aside from making your coffee taste better.
A New Coffee Sweetener and Alternative to Coconut Sugar
Americans love coffee, and most of them drink it with an additive. According to a study from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 67% of coffee drinkers (or over 107 million Americans) add sugar, cream, or some sort of sweetener to their coffee.
Unfortunately, these calories can add up. On average, people who drink sweetened coffee are consuming roughly 70 more daily calories than non-coffee drinkers. Over the course of a year, that’s over 25,000 calories!
But there’s some good news. If you’re looking for something you can substitute coconut sugar or sweetener with, consider the benefits of trehalose. It’s not just a great flavor additive: it can boost your overall health.
How Does it Work?
One way that trehalose helps humans is by activating a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is how the body goes about removing cells that are either dead or no longer serve a purpose. Too much buildup of dead cells can lead to serious health concerns.
Trehalose’s role as an autophagy activator was first reported by UK researchers whose research in mice showed that trehalose helped clear mutant proteins that have been associated with Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Similarly, trehalose can help regulate free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause chaos if left unchecked. Free radicals can lead to advanced aging and many diseases. Anything with antioxidant properties can help reduce the amount of free radicals.
What are the Benefits of Trehalose Sugar?
Scientists are still learning about how adding a dash of trehalose to our daily diet can improve our overall health. Here are just a few of the promising health potentials that researchers are excited to further explore:
- Weight loss. In a 2010 study involving mice, researchers found that using trehalose as a supplement could help prevent obesity. They found that use of trehalose helped increase production of energy-consuming fat cells within fat tissue.
- More energy. The same study found that combining trehalose with protein before a workout produces more energy. Take a tip from the organisms that use trehalose as an energy source and give yourself a burst of fuel before exercising.
- Anti-aging properties. Since it acts as an antioxidant while inducing autophagy, trehalose has anti-aging properties that help a variety of systems run smoother, resulting in healthier organs. By activating autophagy, trehalose helps clear out the dead cells and free radicals that can cause serious problems when they build up over time.
- Prevent blood sugar spikes. Unlike traditional forms of sweetener which can raise blood sugar levels, trehalose adds some sweetness without the risk of blood sugar spikes. It could have long term benefits by lowering insulin secretion, thus improving your long-term blood sugar management. This makes trehalose a solid coconut sugar substitute for people with insulin or who need blood sugar management.
- Protect skin and eyes. You might sometimes find trehalose listed as an ingredient in cosmetic products and sunscreen. By encouraging autophagy, trehalose can help boost your body’s natural moisturizing system. This is helpful for maintaining healthy skin and staying hydrated. When included in topical eye solutions, it can help with dry eye syndrome as well.
- Lower risk of fatty liver disease/diabetes. When sugar levels are too high, it can create inflammatory conditions like fatty liver disease. Trehalose, however, blocks the production of a fatty liver, keeping your organs healthy. How does it do it? By preventing sugar (aka fructose) from entering your liver cells. This fatty buildup can lead to conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Improve brain function and prevent brain disease. When dead cells accumulate in the brain, this can lead to diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. Trehalose can kickstart the process of autophagy to dispose of mental waste. It also stabilizes the brain’s proteins to help maintain their structure, which is important in preserving a healthy brain.
How Do I Get Trehalose?
Trehalose powder is widely available. It can be found online or in the nutrition aisle of your local grocery store.
Remember: you only need a small amount per day. Just a teaspoon or two in your morning coffee will do wonders! Since it digests slowly, you don’t want to take too much at once. When used as a sweetener, the recommended dosage is 5,000 mg per serving when added to food or beverages. Read the instructions carefully before ingesting.
While researchers are still hard at work examining the potential health benefits, there is as of yet no specific evidence that trehalose actively cures or prevents any diseases or medical conditions. However, it can improve a variety of your body’s health processes, keeping you feeling refreshed and energetic while working behind the scenes to fight against serious health conditions. If you’re looking for a healthy sweetener for coffee, give trehalose a try to see if it’s right for you.