Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners

One way to avoid sugar-based food additives is to avoid foods that contain them, if possible. It’s a long list and includes diet sodas and other beverages, protein shakes, cereals, breakfast bars, frozen and sugar-free desserts, powdered desserts like puddings and gelatin, candy, gum, baked goods, diet foods, pasta teeth, mouthwash, chewable and liquid medications, etc. Translate etc mean read all labels.

Acesulfame potassium, which goes by the name Sunett or Sweet One, is often mixed with other artificial sweeteners due to its unpleasant taste. It can handle high temperature baking.

Aspartame has been around since 1965 and is the sweetener of choice for the US food industry. The more common name is Equal or NutraSweet. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar. It does not resist baking at high temperatures.

Saccharin has been around since the 19th century and is about 400 times sweeter than table sugar. It is a chemical that is more commonly known as Sweet’N Low. It has no calories and is known to prevent tooth decay. Canada banned it in 1977, but it’s accepted in the US It doesn’t hold up to baking.

Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar. It is known by the name of Splenda and is a sugar with added chlorine. Its price keeps falling, so it could soon overtake NutraSweet as the leading sweetener in American foods. Most countries consider sucralose to be a safe ingredient. It can handle baking and frying at high temperatures. Another NutraSweet sweetener goes by the name neotame. It is a super sweetener over 7,000 times sweeter than granulated sugar.

Xylitol and sorbitol are fruit or vegetable sugars that are obtained by hydrogenation (adding hydrogen like hydrogenated oils). It’s made mostly of glucose, but has fewer calories per gram. Xylitol has been shown to prevent tooth decay.

Stevia has been used as a sweetener since the 1950s. Truvia and PureVia, developed as sweeteners by soft drink manufacturers, come from stevia leaves. These stevia derivatives were accepted by the Food and Drug Administration, which had issued conflicting opinions on the use of stevia prior to these new additives.

Avoiding artificial sweeteners is difficult and may be impossible in the near future, especially if you use prepackaged foods, mixes, and canned goods. Artificial sweeteners make life sweeter for people with diabetes, who have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels. But at least now you can know what some of the ingredients are on the labels. If you’re a purist, you might conclude that it’s worth baking your own cookies from scratch to avoid additives. We all eat and drink the wrong things from time to time, whether with natural or artificial sweeteners. The key is to eat and drink the right things most of the time.


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