The Truth About Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are low calorie or calorie free chemical substances used instead of sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. But there are so many artificial sugar names and artificial sugar brands.

They're found in thousands of products, from drinks, desserts and ready meals, to cakes, chewing gum and toothpaste.

On average, we consume the equivalent of around 20 teaspoons of sugar a day. You may not be adding it to your tea and coffee but you are taking it on board in other ways - less obvious ways. Cereals, snacks, fizzy drinks etc, etc &.they all contain a sweetener of one kind or another.

The thing is, there's actually nothing wrong with sugar. But if you are trying to lose weight, it's usually the first place we start - reading the back of packets and working out the contents calorific value. You are also likely to be on 'sugar watch' if you need to reduce your blood sugar level because of diabetes. This is where artificial sugar has it's place.

The International Food Information Council says that sweeteners are safe to use, provides sweetness without calories and give us a choice of sweet food to eat.

In 1998, a survey conducted by the Calorie Control Council reported that 144 million American adults routinely eat and drink low-calorie, sugar-free products such as desserts and artificially sweetened fizzy drinks.

The council approved 5 sweeteners:

Acesulfame (Sunett)
Aspartame (NutraSweet)
Sucralose (Splenda)
D-Tagatose (Sugaree)
Saccharin (Sweet 'N Low)
- incidentally in 1970, the FDA was going to ban saccharin as it was believed to have cancer causing effects, due to studies of male rats who formed the disease. It was later discredited as the male rats are known now to have a predisposition to bladder cancer which is unrelated to saccharin.

Today, with an influx of natural sweeteners gaining ground, the most popular artificial sweetener is Stevia. It comes from the Stevia Rebaudiana plant and is 300 times sweeter than sucrose. It is available in the following brands: Truvia, Sweetleaf and Sun Crystals.

It's calorie free and does not raise blood sugar levels. It is however more expensive to produce and therefore more expensive to buy. It's aftertaste isn't popular, being described as bitter (although I never found this myself) Others have reported feeling bloated (I'm bloated anyway so how who I know...), nauseous and upset tummy.

The acceptable level of stevia according to the FDA is 4milligrams per kilogram of a persons body weight. So, if you weigh 60kg or 132lbs, you can safely consume 9 packets of table top sweetener version of stevia.

Sugar was the singularly most difficult thing I found to give up and it took loads of failed attempts. I can't hand on heart say I've beaten it, but I can say I have a tiny amount of sugar per day compared to what I was consuming 18months ago.

You can do it too...

STOP PRESS:
Stevia leaf extract does not cause cancer. Authoritative bodies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have reviewed the scientific data, including cancer studies, on Stevia leaf extract. They agree it is safe for use in our beverages.






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