“Sugar Free, Diet, Low Calorie.” These are all phrases we have heard over and over again by manufacturers in order for us to not feel guilty about eating a sweet treat
Alternative sweeteners are known for being sweeter than sugar, low in calories, and sugar free while still enhancing flavor. These are perfect for those trying to cut calories or trying to control insulin resistant diseases like diabetes. Their low carb content provide better control for diabetics when it comes to blood glucose. Even though these sweeteners are low in calories, it’s important to still check the label. Not all sweeteners may be calorie free, they still may contribute to the overall carbohydrate content of the product. Sugar Alcohols, for instance may still have 2-3 calories per gram, whereas regular sugar has 4 calories per gram. Also, we know that artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose may be harmful long term. High consumptions of sweeteners may also cause digestion issues and over consumption. So remember, everything in moderation - no matter if it’s calorie free!
Sugar as we all know is added to many things we eat, it’s sweet taste keeps us wanting more.
"The brain's saying 'Give me more like that'," says Smith. "It's getting lots of sugar without you actually knowing, so is less able than when eating sweets to say 'I've had enough. Stop now.'...sugar is in things that people don't know or recognize from their tasting. We don't allow ourselves the freedom to choose."
This sweet treat can be addicting, and like all addictions it comes with a price or in this case empty calories. It’s important to be aware of what is in your food, and to know that sugar comes in many forms -
- Turbinado Sugar
- Syrups (Agave, Maple, Molasses, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, etc.)
Don’t let the name fool you, there is actually NO alcohol in sugar alcohols. They are derived from fruits and vegetables and are mechanically altered. They are a reduced calorie sweetener because our gut cannot fully absorb them. The disadvantage is that they may cause intestinal problems, like gas, bloating, cramping, and soft stools. Sugar alcohols are usually found in foods that are labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added”.
NATURAL LOW CALORIE SWEETENERS
Natural sweeteners are becoming the “elite” version of alternative sweeteners. though they’re new to the western grocery stores, other countries have been using natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit for years. Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni (stevia) and Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle (monk fruit) are two plants that are native to South America and Southern China. These sweeteners have little to no calories or carbs making them ideal for diabetics. There is no acceptable daily intake reported by the FDA for these two sweeteners, but that doesn’t mean you should over consume.
(Sun Crystals, Truvia, Pure Via)
300X Sweeter than Sugar
(Nectresse, Monk Fruit in the Raw, PureLo)
150 - 200X Sweeter than Sugar
Everyone knows those bright pink, blue, and white packets sitting on restaurant table tops everywhere. Artificial sweeteners are usually found in diet foods and drinks as their low calories aid in weight loss, but be careful not to over do it. A lot of evidence shows they may not be the best for us long term. However, the FDA has approved consumption of them under the acceptable daily intake.
”Before approving these sweeteners, the FDA reviewed more than 100 safety studies that were conducted on each sweetener, including studies to assess cancer risk. The results of these studies showed no evidence that these sweeteners cause cancer or pose any other threat to human health.”
ADI 5mg/kg (Splenda)
600X Sweeter than Sugar
ADI 15mg/kg (Sweet 'N Low, Sweet Twin, NectaSweet)
200-700X Sweeter than Sugar
ADI 15mg/kg (Sunett & Sweet One)
200X Sweeter than Sugar
ADI 50mg/kg (Equal & NutraSweet)
200X Sweeter than Sugar