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Artificial Sweeteners

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Photo by towfiqu999 @ Freepik.com

What are your thoughts on artificial sweeteners?

Are you okay with them?

Or, are you one who thinks they cause dreadful health risks if you consume them?

First, let me say that I really do not like the term artificial sweetener – if an ingredient is sweet, then it is a sweetener. It may not be sugar, but it is still a sweetener no matter how you look at it. If the substance was not sweet, it would not be used in food and drink. But, I digress – I will use the term artificial sweetener for anything that is not sugar.

Why do people believe artificial sweeteners are bad?

While I do believe that some artificial sweeteners are horrible simply because they taste just plain awful, that does not mean that they will harm our health as some believe. Saccharine tastes so bad to me, I would just as soon forgo a sweet taste altogether. However, some people actually like the stuff, and it has been used for over a century now.

According to US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, sugar substitutes in various food and beverages are very popular in most countries. Extensive scientific research has demonstrated the safety of the six low-calorie sweeteners currently approved for use in foods in the U.S. and Europe (stevia, acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose) each with an acceptable daily intake. Numerous studies have been carried out to confirm the safety of these sweeteners. There have been some studies which have shown the adverse effects of artificial sweeteners. But most of the studies have limitations such as effects shown only in animals not in humans, small sample size, high doses, statistically non-significant or borderline significant, etc. The sugar substitutes are thoroughly investigated for safety with hundreds of scientific studies and then approved by different regulatory authorities like the U.S. FDA, JECFA and FSANZ.

One thing to consider about random studies you might read, you must consider who is funding it. If a study is conducted by the sugar industry in regard to artificial sweeteners, you can bet they will find something harmful about it.  The job of a paid researcher is to come to the conclusion their client wants them to. That is just the nature of business in general. Be careful what you believe.

There are some excellent calorie free sweeteners on the market today!

Picture from http://www.swervesweet.com

I do not consume too many sweet foods since I have abandoned sugar entirely. However, I do like to bake sweet dessert treats every once in a while for special occasions, and this stuff bakes quite well.

I have been a huge fan of Swerve products which are the sugar alcohol Erythritol. Erythritol is natural, doesn’t cause side effects, and tastes almost exactly like sugar — without the calories. Basically, it has all the positive aspects of regular sugar without any of the negatives. With only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still contains 70% of the sweetness and is only ranked 1 on the glycemic index!

The fact that Erythritol is less sweet than sugar is a plus for me. If you want a calorie free sweetener that is closer to sugar, I suggest you try Splenda’s new product Allulose.

Photo from http://www.splenda.com

Splenda Allulose Granulated is an excellent plant based, zero calorie sweetener. It tastes, bakes, and measures just like sugar. But, what is allulose you may be asking yourself.

Allulose is a rare sugar that naturally occurs in fruits like figs and raisins. It is a monosaccharide which has 90% fewer calories than sucrose, which makes it virtually calorie-free. I recently took some sugar free lemon cheesecake bars sweetened with allulose to a function, and people had a hard time believing they were sugar free.

Allulose is not metabolized by the body. It gets absorbed by the small intestine, and then actually excreted. What this means is that none of the calories get absorbed or stored in your body. Studies have found that allulose doesn’t have effects on blood sugar or an insulin response which makes it an excellent sugar substitute.

 

Photo from http://www.intheraw.com

As the manufacturer states; “This sweetener can be used anywhere you would normally use sugar — whether it’s in your morning coffee or tea, in your favorite baking, cooking or cocktail recipe, or sprinkled in your smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt”.

This zero calorie sweetener looks, tastes and crunches like sugar without any kind of aftertaste. It is a perfect blend of monk fruit, stevia, allulose, and erythritol. As with the two preceding sweeteners, this one is also great for diabetics. For those who are trying to lose weight it checks all the boxes of being natural, zero calorie, vegan, kosher, keto friendly and non GMO! You can’t go wrong.

Some would argue against these sweeteners.

You can argue that these sweeteners are not good for you and that you might as well eat sugar. However, that would be a dumb argument. These products are not going to have an effect on your blood sugar, nor insulin like sugar will. If you foolishly believe that eating sugar is better for you, then you best consider the physical and mental harm which comes from consuming sugar.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day for men and 6 teaspoons per day for women to maintain or achieve peak health.

But, it is obvious to any whom are paying attention that limiting ourselves to those numbers is difficult. Just look at the weight problems of the average  American of today coupled with the growing epidemic of type 2 diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.  American diets are full of foods with added sugars, when really there is absolutely no need to even use sugars anymore when you consider all of the alternatives on the market nowadays.

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