Artificial Sugar Substitutes or Sweeteners


One way to avoid sugar-based food additives is to avoid the foods that contain them, if that is possible. It is a long list and includes diet sodas and other beverages, protein shakes, cereals, breakfast bars, sugar-free and frozen desserts, powdered desserts like puddings and gelatin, candy, chewing gum, baked goods, diet foods, toothpaste, mouthwash, chewable and liquid medicines, etc. Translate etc to mean read all labels.

Acesulfame potassium, which goes by the name of Sunett or Sweet One is often blended with other artificial sweeteners because of its unpleasant aftertaste. It can handle high heat baking.

Aspartame has been around since 1965 and is the preferred sweetener of the US food industry. The more common name is Equal or NutraSweet. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It doesn’t hold up to high temperature baking.

Saccharin has been around since the 19th century and is about 400 times as sweet as table sugar. It is a chemical that is more commonly known as Sweet’N Low. It has no calories and has been known to prevent tooth decay. It was banned by Canada in 1977, but is accepted in the US. It does not hold up to baking.

Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It goes by the name of Splenda and is a sugar with added chlorine. Its price is continuing to decline, so it may soon beat out NutraSweet as the primary sweetener in US foods. Most countries consider sucralose a safe ingredient. It can handle high heat baking and frying. Another NutraSweet sweetener goes by the name of neotame. It is a super sweetener over 7000 times as sweet as granulated sugar.

Xylitol and sorbitol are fruit or vegetable sugars that are made by hydrogenation (adding hydrogen like hydrogenated oils). It is made mostly of glucose, but has fewer calories per gram. Xylitol has been shown to prevent tooth decay.

Stevia has been used as a sweetener since the 1950s. Truvia and PureVia, developed as sweeteners by soda manufacturers, come from stevia leaves. These stevia derivatives were accepted by the Food and Drug Administration, which had given conflicting opinions on stevia use prior to these new additives

It is difficult to avoid artificial sweeteners and may be impossible in the near future, especially if you use pre-packaged foods, mixes and canned goods. Artificial sweeteners do make life sweeter for those with diabetes, who have to constantly watch their blood sugar levels. But at least now you can be aware of what some of the ingredients on the labels are. If you are a purist, you might just conclude that baking your own cookies from scratch is worth the time to avoid additives. We all eat and drink the wrong things some of the time, whether with natural or artificial sweeteners. The key thing is to eat and drink the right things most of the time.

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