Welcome back to another night at Carol's Corner. Sorry I didn't make it here yesterday. My body just wouldn't let me stay up. I had just laid down intending to take an hour nap, but when the alarm went off I just couldn't get out of bed. This past week I had to heed my bodies calls for rest.
Love the textured look on this FitBit band. Sometimes it looks gray and other times it looks a little blue. Before I get on with our topic, I wanted to share some results from my Doctor's visit. I was diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic about 4 1/2 years ago. There was a point where my weight got out of control and my numbers were worse. For a short time I was on an oral medication. After losing all my weight and exercising almost daily my numbers are now normal. I was worried that this time they would be worse. But turned out they were awesome. My resting glucose was 98 and my A1C was 5.5. All normal. So it CAN be done. Mine is all controlled by diet and exercise. So that brings us to our topic: artificial sweeteners and sugar substitute as well as sugars. Being a diabetic I can't use sugar , at least not all the time. We'll take a look at all the options out there. Sugar contributes to tooth decay and obesity, but people still use it by the spoonfuls. Americans eat 165 pounds of added sugar every year. But are all the other forms of sweetener healthier? Let's take a look at them. We're taking info from Health.com. First up is Sucrose. Sucrose is table sugar, the every day variety. It had 16 calories per teaspoon. It offers energy, but no nutritional value. In 2003 experts recommended that added sugars should make up no more than 10% of your diet or 12 tsps for a 2000 calorie diet. In 2009 The American Heart Association slashed that even more. They suggested women consume no more than 6 tsps of added sugar and men 9 tsps. Next up is Acesulfame Potassium. Contains zero calories. It is called Sweet One. I don't think I've actually heard of this one. It's found in soft drinks, gelatins, chewing gums and frozen desserts. It was approved by the FDA in 1988. It has a 22 year track record with no known problems. There were a few long term animal studies that showed a possible cancer link, but none that could translate to humans. In 1996 The Center For Science In The Public Interest, urged the FDA to require better testing, but for now it seems to be safe in moderation. Next we will look at Agave Nectar. This is not a zero calorie product and actually has more calories than sugar, at 20 calories per tsp. The nectar is a product of the Agave Cactus. It's taste and texture is similar to honey, but doesn't contain as many antioxidants. It's sweeter than sugar so people who use it say you can use less. It contains more fructose than sugar, which a recent study, suggested it is less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar, but could be more likely to reduce your metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Now we come to Aspartame, more commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal. It contains zero calories and is found in drinks , gum , yogurt, and cough drops, to name a few. This is one of the most studied artificial sweeteners and has been accused of causing everything from weight gain to cancer. However since being approved by the FDA in 1981, studies have shown no convincing evidence, And the FDA, The World Health Organization, and The American Dietetic Association, say aspartame in moderation poses no serious threat. The CSPI feels differently, and gives it their lowest rankings in a review of food additives. People who have phenylketonuria ( an inherited genetic disorder) should refrain from using Aspartame . There are from things I've read, people who cannot tolerate this sweetener and have almost an allergic reaction from it. Next we come to one I know that is extremely bad for Diabetics , but is in everything. That would be High Fructose Corn Syrup. It contains 17 calories per teaspoon. It's found in sodas, desserts, and cereals to name just a few. Start reading labels and you will see how prevalent it is. This contains the sugars fructose and glucose from processed corn syrup. Because it's cheaper than sucrose and has a longer shelf life, more packaged food in the US contain HFCS as added sugar, than sucrose. Some studies suggest it contributes to obesity, but others say it is no worse for health. It's best to limit your consumption. For Diabetics it's imperative. Now we come to honey. Honey has 21 calories per tsp. Honey has trace amounts of vitamins and minerals , and studies suggest It may not raise blood sugars as fast as other sweet products. It is better to have a slow and steady rise after eating, rather then a dramatic spike. It does contain calories though, and should be used as sparingly as any other full-calorie sweetener. Next is another that I have never heard about. It is called Neotame. It is a zero calorie sweetener. It is found in some drinks, dairy products, frozen drinks, puddings, and fruit juices. It is the newest on the market, approved in 2002. It is between 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter Than sugar, depending what it is added to. It is produced by the same company that makes Aspartame.Neotame is one of the only non nutrative sweeteners to get the seal of approval from the CSPI, but is rarely used In every day products. Our next one is Rebenia, AKA Truvia. It is a zero calorie product. It is found in diet drinks,yogurts, and individual packets. It is derived from the Stevia plant and is deemed the natural alternative to artificial sweetener. Crude stevia extracts are not approved by the FDA, but refined products such as Truvia, received a (GRAS), generally guarded as safe rating, from the FDA in 2008. In 2013 the CSPI said it considers Rebiana, A natural high- potency sweetner obtained from Stevia, to be “Safe”, but deserving of better “testing”. Next up we find Saccharin, AKA Sweet'NLow . It is a zero calorie sweetener found in drinks,canned goods,and candy. Here's the skinny on the saccharin story, In the 1970's, rat studies found a link between consuming Saccharin and Bladder Cancer. In 1981 congress mandated that all foods containing it carry a warning. Later studies showed this may only occur in rats, and there was lack of evidence that it caused cancer in humans. In 2010, The U.S. National Toxicology Program's report on carcinogens was removed from the list and congress repealed the warning label. The CSPI has it on their “avoid list”, but acknowledges that removal of the warning label will likely result in greater use of the sweetener. Now we come to my sweetner of choice, Sucralose, AKA Splenda. It is a zero calorie product and is found in fruit drinks, canned fruit, syrups, baked goods, and some sodas. It received approval by the FDA in 1998. Although one study showed It may negatively impact the immune system, follow-up studies found no such correlation. The CSPI deems it safe, and several studies have shown it to be non carcinogenic This sweetener is one of the few not sensitive to the heat, and for that reason can be used in baking. This is a plus for dieters and Diabetics both, who are limiting empty-calorie carbohydrates. Last up we have Sugar Alcohols, AKA, Sorbitol, Mannitol, and Xylitol. It contains 10 calories per teaspoon, and is found in such things as sugar-free candies, gum, and desserts. Sugar Alcohols are something I didn't actually understand before , so this is beneficial for me to know. Sugar Alcohols aren't non nutrative sweeteners. They have 2.6 calories per gram, but don't cause tooth decay like table sugar. Although generally less sweet and caloric then sugar, eating too much, especially Mannitol, can cause bloating and diarrhea. They are often used In sugar-free foods marketed to diabetics, because they contain fewer carbs than table sugar. They do contain some carbs, so eating them in excess could cause a rise in blood sugar. The ADA reccomends consuming sugar alcohols In moderation , and counting half the grams of sugar alcohols as carbs, because only half get digested. So there you have an overview of the many sweeteners available for use. Now it will be for you to decide what are the best options for you. If you need a more exhaustive study of a specific one let me know. Hope you found this informative and useful. So gals, let's end this week with a bang. Make your plan for the next few days, and work it, work it, work it. Till next time, God Bless!!!