Sugar Substitutes: Angel or Villain?

It is becoming common knowledge that sugar is pretty darn bad for us. This is a major bummer, especially for those of us who are as dependent on sugar as some are for coffee. Luckily, alternatives that won't spike sugar levels or add heaps of calories, but are still sweet and delicious, exist. If you have made the resolution to eat less sugar, good for you! Knowing about sugar alternatives, and their pros and cons, is a helpful way to have the resolution stick for good. Knowing who to trust however, can be difficult. In this article, we will present some conflicting information from a variety of trusted sources. Ultimately, you will need to decide what option is best for you.


Artificial Sweeteners


According to the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, 86 percent of Americans use artificial sweeteners. The American love affair with them is well documented, but many are skeptical of how safe they really are.

Artificial Sweeteners
Saccharin (Sweet 'n Low, Sugar Twin)
Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal)
Sucralose (Splenda)
ADI
(What the FDA deemed safe for consumption every day)
5 milligrams per kilogram of weight, the same as 9-12 packets
50 milligrams per kilogram of weight, the same as 18 to 19 cans of diet soda
5 milligrams per kilogram, the same as 6 cans of soda
What it is:
Is the oldest artificial sweetener, made legal by Teddy Roosevelt. It is made from petroleum and is 300 times sweeter than sugar.
It is made by combining 2 amino acids with methanol, it is 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar.
A chemically altered sugar molecule, it became common in 1999. It's bulky, and therefore works for baking.
Calories
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Noncaloric, non-nutritive
Glycemic Index
None
None
None



Natural Sweeteners

Looking for something that is not made from petroleum, is a naturally made, and won't effect you like sugar does? Here is a list of some natural sweeteners and what they can offer.


Natural sugar alternatives
Agave nectar
Date sugar
Maple Syrup
Raw Honey
Stevia
What it is:
Comes from the extraction and purification of sap from the Blue Nectar Agave plant. No nutritional value. 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and processed like other sugars.
Comes from dehydrated dates, high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Many consider it to be a healthy sugar alternative.
From the sap of maple trees. More nutritious then table sugar.
A healthy alternative in moderation. Has antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes. Raw, unprocessed honey is considered a super food by many.
200-300 times sweeter than sugar, it is made from an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It does not feed on yeast, or cause any of the problems caused by sugar consumption. No nutritional value.
Glycemic Index
15-30
N/A
54
30
Less than 1
*Raw sugar has a glycemic index of 65


There are many alternatives to sugar, some of them are man-made and others are natural. Some nutritionists will say sugar or artificial sweeteners are acceptable for consumption and do not harm the body. Others say that the only healthy alternative is maple syrup or Stevia. Finding the optimal choice for your requires testing and being mindful of which ones work best for your body and lifestyle. Kay's Naturals has 1-3 grams of sugar per serving (the same amount as a serving of ketchup), and is sweetened with Cane Sugar, Honey, or Stevia depending on the snack. Our glycemic index is low enough for individuals who are diabetic. For everyone who its looking for healthy and sweet snacks, that are very low in sugar, we hope you will find what we have to offer a satisfying alternative.


References:


Sucralose side-effects, www.livestrong.com
4 Artificial Sweeteners and Their FDA Safe Levels, www.fitday.com
Artificial Sweetener and other sugar substitutes, MayoClinic.com
Is Stevia Safe?, www.eatingwell.com
Healthy Sugar Alternatives, www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

The Truth about Agave, www.webmd.com

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