I’m so exhausted. Found out today I have to have ANOTHER colonoscopy. Fabulous. (Don’t ask why, its a long story). Must be some kinda record for 23 yr olds. Needless to say, my creative juices are not flowing. But I just wanted to get this post out for Stephanie Bailey before I forgot to do it!
There are many types of artificial sweeteners out there on the market. These products may also be called sugar substitutes or noncaloric / non-nutritive sweetener. I know that some people claim they don’t use them, but really artificial sweeteners are in a lot of foods that you don’t even realize. For example, diet coke, light yogurt, and those sugar free or light coffee beverages all contain sugar subs.
First, we have the ever popular Splenda. The chemical/generic name of Splenda is sucralose. Sucralose is simply regular table sugar (sucrose) which has chlorine added to it. Sounds scary, right? Well, when I think of eating chlorine it kinda gives me the heeby geebys and I imagine drinking pool water. But actually, it turns out, small amounts of chlorine are not so bad for us and it’s in many common things that we eat all the time. So, the truth is that Splenda is made from REAL SUGAR, just as they advertise, but it has been chemically altered. My take on splenda is this; if you like using it, go for it! Personally, I think it tastes nasty. But that is just my opinion. Splenda does not have calories and it will not harm your health. Here’s an interesting tidbit: the reason that Splenda does not have calories is because when the chlorine is added, the molecule becomes too large for you to absorb and it simply passes through your GI tract. Pretty cool, right? hahahah, I may be the only person on the planet that thinks that’s cool… Anyway, has anyone ever tried baking with Splenda? They say that you can, but I’m a bit weary. But I would be willing to give it a try. Send me your recipes!
Next we have aspartame. There was a lot of hulabaloo about aspartame in the 90’s and how it gives you cancer. That myth came from a study that fed huge quantities of aspartame to mice. These mice ate only aspartame and nothing else for like a year. And guess what? Some of these mice did get cancer. There have never been studies proving that aspartame gives humans cancer, and let me tell you the FDA really does vigorously test products for safety. So again, aspartame is safe. Aspartame is also known as Equal. Aspartame is also found in diet drinks, diet jello, diet hot chocolate, diet anything really. If you like the taste of Aspartame go for it.
Lastly, are these new “natural” noncaloric sweeteners that are coming out such as Stevia. Stevia is also marketed as Truvia. This is a pretty cool product. It comes from the Stevia plant. I was pretty excited to try this stuff, but o sooo disappointed when I tried it. It does not taste like sugar. It leaves this awful taste in my mouth! BUT, we all have different taste buds and if you’re interested try it! Some people may like it. It is very very sweet, I think that may be why I don’t like it. Start off by using just a little bit and see how it goes. I did eat it on a strawberry one time, and it tasted just fine on that, but I usually don’t feel the need to put sugar on my strawberries.
In conclusion, artificial sweeteners are safe, calorie free, and leave a bad taste in my mouth. The first parts are fact, the second part solely opinion. I think that they are definitely practical for people with diabetes or people with high blood glucose. They can also aid in weight loss. For example, I think that switching from regular coke to diet is a great move! Although, of course as a future dietitian I would have to advocate switching from coke to water or nonfat milk as the best move. But baby steps is best! Additionally, there are studies that show that people who use sugar substitutes do not weigh any less than their regular sugar using counterparts. However, this is more of a which came first the chicken or the egg dilemma. Are they fat because they are using sugar subs., or do they use sugar subs because they are fat? I will leave that for you to ponder. As for me, I will stick to small amounts of regular sugar and have my occasional diet 7 up.