Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Do you know the different types of sugars in the market?

I love sugar, but a diet of full of sugary snacks, desserts and drinks is definitely not good for your health or waistline. Fortunately, there are a variety of sugar substitutes on the market for one to choose from. Knowing about the different types of sugar substitutes can help you to choose the best product for your lifestyle.

Saccharine — the main ingredient in the popular pink-packets of "Sweet N Low," saccharine is one of the more well-known sugar substitutes. Saccharine was popular years ago but fell out of favor when it was concluded laboratory rats developed cancer after using this artificial sweetener. While rats may have experienced unfortunate
side effects, this has not been proven to be the case with humans. It's not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Saccharine can be used to sweeten drinks of all temperatures and can be used in place of sugar in recipes.

Stevia - Stevia sweetener is produced from the species of herb called Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni, which is also known as “sweet leaf” or “sugar leaf.” Stevia is much sweeter than sugar. Stevia sweetener is made by extracting the leaf’s sweetening agents: glycosides, steviosides, and rebaudiosides. Further, the body does not metabolize the glycosides in Stevia sweetener, which results in a caloric intake of zero.

Aspartame — you might recognize aspartame as the product contained in the blue packet with "Nutra Sweet" printed on the front. While aspartame might be popular in diet soft drinks, coffee and tea, it's not recommended for baking as it can lose its flavor after being exposed to heat for certain period of time.
Acesulfame-K — also known as "Ace-K," this sugar substitute is actually two hundred times sweeter than sugar! This sweetener should be used in moderation. Ace-K is fine for baking, just use it sparingly.

Cyclamate — this is the sugar substitute used by Weight Watchers. It's great for cooking and baking. It's sweeter than sugar, about ten times sweeter, so keep this in mind when opening a package of "Sugar Twin."

Sucralose — Sucralose is what is contained in a yellow packet of "Splenda." Splenda is gaining popularity not only because it's made of sugar, thereby tasting just like sugar, but because it measures the same as sugar, which makes it more convenient for baking than other sugar substitutes. Sucralose is six hundred times sweeter than sugar, however, so if one is not using the Splenda brand, one will have to do some math to figure out how much to add to your baking.

Most of the above sugar substitutes have been approved by the
FDA as safe for use by diabetics. Those who are diabetic, pregnant or nursing would probably find it in their best interests to check with their physicians before using any of these products regularly.

1 comment: