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Control your sweet tooth- Valentine Sweetener Edition

Steve February 13, 2014

Are you struggling to control your sweet tooth?

Sure most of us get Wide Eyes when mauling over a sweets table, but what are you consuming (or about to) and what are the effects?  Especially when you have or are borderline diabetic, including sweets in your diet requires careful planning.  Often a daunting task, it can be hard to just save sweets for special occasions.

Curb Your Cravings:

Sugar stackFoods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are an option that may help curb your cravings for something sweet.

Sometimes low-calorie sweeteners are also called artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes or non-nutritive sweeteners. They can be used to sweeten food and drinks for less calories and carbohydrate when they replace sugar.

The sweetening power of most low-calorie sweeteners is at least 100 times more intense than regular sugar, so only a small amount is needed when you use these sugar substitutes.

Also, with the exception of aspartame, all of the sweeteners listed below cannot be broken down by the body.  They pass through our systems without being digested so they provide no extra calories.

Still, many foods containing low-calorie sweeteners will provide some calories and carbohydrate from other ingredients.  That means foods that carry claims like “sugar-free,” “reduced sugar” or “no sugar added” are not necessarily carbohdyrate-free or lower in carbohydrate than the original version of the food.  Always check the nutrition facts panel, even for foods that carry these claims.
FDA Approved

There are five artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  •     acesulfame potassium (also called acesulfame K)
  •     aspartame
  •     saccharin
  •     sucralose
  •     neotame

These sweeteners are used by food companies to make diet drinks, baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt, and chewing gum.  You can buy them to use as table top sweeteners.  Add them to coffee, tea, or sprinkle them on top of fruit.  Some are also available in “granular” versions which can be used in cooking and baking.
What’s The Deal With Stevia?

Stevia is also referred to as Rebaudioside A, Reb-A, or rebiana*.  Technically, Reb-A is a highly purified product that comes from the stevia plant and is several hundred times sweeter than sugar.  According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Reb-A is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a food additive and table top sweetener.  When something is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, it means that experts have agreed that it is safe for use by the public in appropriate amounts.

For more information, visit the Food and Drug Administration website at www.fda.gov.  *Resources from diabetes.org

Sugar Substitutes in the Store:

The chart below lists the brand names seen in stores for each sweetener

Store sweeteners

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