Sweeteners

It seems we are all born with an affinity for eating things that are sweet. Sugar is in many products from cookies to ketchup and more. However, many Americans are struggling with excess weight and diabetes and are looking for sweetness without the calories of sugar.

Added sugar in our diets is not essential. It adds empty calories which can cause weight gain. This excess weight can lead to increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and more. The American Heart Association recommends that we consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day. Would you be surprised to know that a regular Coke contains about 7 teaspoons of sugar!

Low calorie sweeteners can give you the flavor of sweetness but without the calories of sugar. The Food and Drug Administration considers low-calorie sweeteners safe for consumption. They are useful to help people reduce their caloric intake in order to lose weight as well as to control diabetes.

The most common artificial sweeteners are Aspartame (Equal), Sucralose (Splenda), Saccharin (Sweet nā€™ Low), and Stevia. Stevia is not FDA approved because it is considered a supplement. Small amounts of these sweeteners are considered safe. However, using artificial sweeteners, which are sweeter than sugar, can cause you to crave even more sweetness. A healthy choice would be to reduce the use of all added sweeteners which may help curb sweet cravings that can lead to overeating.

Article Source: Mary Grider, Nutrition Educator

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