What is a sugar substitute?

All about sugar substitutes,What is a sugar substitute?

All about sugar substitutes,What is a sugar substitute?

All about sugar substitutes – A sugar substitute is a man-made (laboratory-made) or natural (plant-based) substance that sweetens foods and beverages in place of sugar. Sugar substitutes are typically hundreds of times sweeter than sugar and have few or no calories. They are a common sweetener choice for “diet” products such as soft drinks, sauces, baked goods, or sugar-free candy or gum.

All about sugar substitutes

Aspartame
Made from the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine, it is a popular artificial sugar. It has calories, but since it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar, you consume less. It is in soft drinks, gum, yogurt, desserts and medicines. Equal and NutraSweet are common brand names. You can’t bake with it, because it is not sweet after heating.

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People with the rare condition phenylketonuria (PKU) should not eat it because their bodies cannot process it.

Saccharin
This lab-made sweetener has been around since 1879. It has no calories and can sometimes leave a bitter aftertaste. You can use it for baking. You’ll find it in processed foods like baked goods, canned fruit, chewing gum, and soft drinks. If you’re pregnant, you may want to avoid it, as it can cross the placenta to your growing baby.

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Sucralose
This product is about 600 times sweeter than sugar. It is made in a laboratory by altering a sucrose (sugar) molecule, which is why you may hear it called a non-nutritive sweetener. Your body does not absorb it, so it does not provide you with calories. One brand for it is Splenda. Sucralose is often found in soft drinks, juices, sauces, syrups, candies, and desserts. You can buy it in a bag and use it for baking.

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Stevia
This natural sugar substitute gets its sweet flavor from the extract of Stevia rebaudiana leaves. You’ll often find it as liquid drops at the store or as an ingredient in yogurts, baked goods, candies, and gum. You can use it as a sweetener in coffee or tea, or you can bake with it.

Monk fruit
This sweetener is an extract of the Chinese monk fruit melon. The Chinese have used it for hundreds of years, but it’s fairly new to the US. It has no calories and is often mixed with other sugar substitutes. Monk fruit, or lo han guo, is found in some juices, soft drinks, dairy products, condiments, and candies.

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Sugar alcohols
Sugar alcohols have characteristics of both sugar alcohols and foods (not the kind found in beverages). They are carbohydrates that are made in the laboratory or come from certain fruits. Most have “-tol” at the end of their name, such as erythritol, maltitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. You can find them in processed foods like gum, hard candy, ice cream, and pudding, as well as in mouthwash and toothpaste.

They’re safe?
The FDA has approved these natural and artificial sugar substitutes. The National Cancer Institute says there is no proof that they cause cancer. But there are some risks, especially if you overdo it. They can change your gut bacteria and cause digestive problems. They are also linked to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Are they good for weight loss?
Yes, swapping your sugar for a substitute could mean fewer calories in your food and drinks. But there is no strong evidence that using them helps you lose weight.

Are they okay if you have diabetes?
Sugar substitutes can be a good option to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep your blood sugar levels under control. Keep your daily intake below the recommended level and get your calories from whole, nutritious foods.

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