With the “fattening” of Americans and others worldwide, sugar has been blamed by many as the cause. However, is sugar really the problem? This belief should perhaps be reconsidered.I am often asked about the differences in sweeteners. I will discuss my recommendations, from best to worst.
Realize, high fructose corn syrup is not on the list since it is not added by consumers, but by manufacturers. Avoid this if you can as it can lead to excess weight gain.
Sugar is the most natural sweetener on the market. 1 teaspoon has only 15 calories. Processed sugar comes from either sugar cane or sugar beet. It can be used to help sweeten foods and drinks. Unbleached sugar is a good option, this is raw sugar marketed under the name “sugar in the raw”. When used in moderation, this is a good option. If one needs to limit sugar intake due to medical reasons, stevia should be considered.
Stevia (Truvia) is a natural sweetener found many products. comes from plant leaves from the genus Stevia rebaudiana. It is also known as sweet leaf. Stevia has 0 calories per serving and can be used in coffee, tea and baking. It does not raise blood sugar so is a great option for those with diabetes or those wanting a more natural option. Stevia is available in most stores nationwide.
Sucralose (Splenda) comes in a yellow packet. Sucralose is created when a chlorine molecule is added to sugar (glucose). When ingested, Sucralose does not get absorbed into the bloodstream, so those with diabetes tend to do well with it since it will not raise blood sugar. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. However, for some, it may cause intestinal upset as it can kill good bacteria in the intestines.
Saccharin is sold in the pink packet and has been on the market for many years. The label used to state that consumption increased the risk of cancer in humans, but this was removed from the labels in 2000. In 2010, the EPA removed this product from their list of hazardous products stating that saccharin is no longer considered a potential hazard to human health.
-Fox news even recommended avoiding aspartame due to the concerns regarding it’s safety-
Aspartame (Nutra-sweet, Equal) is marketed in a blue packet. This is probably one of the most controversial sweeteners on the market. The FDA states it is safe while others, such as neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock ( Author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills) , have called for its removal from the market due to safety concerns. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Some people who consume this sweetener report migraines, memory loss and weight gain as it increases appetite. It is present in over 6,000 diet and sugar free products, including chewing gum and diet sodas (Read about the dangers of diet coke, pepsi and other sodas).
Consuming foods which nature intended is always the safest way to go. Minimizing artificial sweeteners is prudent. Consuming more fruits is a great way to get your sugar fix for the day. when needed.