Archive | cutting calories RSS feed for this section

All sugar subs are safe to consume!

20 Jan

sweetenersI like to cut down the number of calories I consume by using sugar substitutes in my coffee or in my iced tea. I also use applesauce instead of sugar in my oatmeal as a second way to cut sugar in my diet. Applesauce can also be used when making baked goods. The third way to cut the amount of sugar we consume is by reducing the amount required by a fourth to a third in a recipe.

There are many sugar substitutes on the market. The most common non-nutritive sweeteners are saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucracolosa, stevia and Neotame (brand name Newtame). Aspartame in reality is a nutritive sweetener, but since we eat such a small amount, it adds very few calories, so we can really consider it non-nutritive.

These sugar subs are very intense compared to sugar. They are called ‘high-intensity’ because according to the director of the Division of Petition Review at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “small amounts pack a large punch when it comes to sweetness.” That is why we only need to use very small amounts. Half of an envelope of artificial sweetener is enough for a cup of coffee.

High-intensity sweeteners add few or no calories to the foods they flavor and generally do not raise blood sugar levels, contrary to sweeteners such brown sugar, honey, or molasses.

All sugar subs are safe to consume. The Food and Drug Administration does not allow any sugar substitute to be on the market if there is any health concern for the general public. According to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there’s no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the U.S., cause cancer or other serious health problems. Numerous research studies confirm that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantities, even for pregnant women.

The newest high intensity sweetener on the marked is called Advantame, which has been approved by the FDA. Advantame (which does not yet have a brand name such as Sweet’N Low, a brand name for saccharin, or Equal, a brand name for aspartame) has been approved as a new food additive for use as a sweetener and flavor enhancer in foods, except for meat and poultry.

Some artificial sweeteners may leave an aftertaste. Try different artificial sweeteners to find one or a combination that you enjoy. One benefit of artificial sweeteners is that they don’t contribute to tooth decay and cavities. If you use sugar substitutes to save calories, be careful not to eat higher calorie foods as a reward for the calories you save. Also, regardless of how they’re classified, sugar substitutes aren’t magic bullets for weight loss.

Ines Beltran, Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, University of Georgia