With Halloween just around the corner and the feasting holidays coming right behind now is a good time to look at sugar, artificial sweeteners and the role they play in our weight loss surgery diets. I am always nervous about the "sugar" issue because if there is one thing health conscious people have strong opinions about it is sweet foods and how they get to be sweet. There is so much information (and mis-information) about sweets in the American diet that we can find "studies" or "proof" to support just about any position we want to take. Today let's look at what the American Diabetes Association says about artificial sweeteners:
Are you struggling to control your sweet tooth?
When you have diabetes, including sweets in your diet requires careful planning. However, it can be hard to just save sweets for special occasions.
Curb Your Cravings
Foods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are another option that may help curb your cravings for something sweet.
Sometimes artificial sweeteners are also called low-calorie sweeteners, sugar substitutes, or non-nutritive sweeteners. They can be used to sweeten food and drinks for less calories and carbohydrate when they replace sugar.
However, many foods containing artificial sweeteners still have calories and carbs, so be sure to check the nutrition facts label.
Their sweetening power is at least 100 times more intense than regular sugar, so only a small amount is needed when you use these sugar substitutes.
Also, with the exception of aspartame, all of the sweeteners listed below cannot be broken down by the body. They pass through our systems without being digested so they provide no extra calories.
There are five artificial sweeteners that have been tested and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- acesulfame potassium (Brand Names: Sunett, Sweet One)
- aspartame (Brand Names: Nutrasweet, Equal)
- saccharin (Brand Names: Sweet 'N Low, Sweet Twin, Sugar Twin:
- sucralose (Brand Name: Splenda)
- neotame (Brand Names: Best of All, A Sweet Leaf, Sun Crystals, Steviva, Truvia, PureVia)
These sweeteners are used by food companies to make diet drinks, baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, light yogurt, and chewing gum. You can buy them to use as table top sweeteners. Add them to coffee, tea, or sprinkle them on top of fruit. Some are also available in "granular" versions which can be used in cooking and baking.
What's The Deal With Stevia?
Stevia (sometimes called Rebaudioside A or rebiana) is now generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA as a food additive and table top sweetener. When something is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, it means that experts have agreed that it is safe for use by the public in appropriate amounts.
Stevia is several hundred times sweeter than sugar. It comes from the sweetest part of the stevia plant and is an ingredient in many foods that you can buy at the store.
Sugar Substitutes in the Store.