Monday, January 28, 2013

The Truth About Artificial Sweeteners VS. Sugar

Hello Everybody!

I have been asked to discuss artificial sweeteners compared to sugar and the differences between the artificial sweeteners. We are all familiar with the traditional pink, blue and yellow sweetener packets. Sweet' N Low, Equal and Splenda. You are likely to find these most anywhere you go. Sweet N Low and Equal have been around for many years. Sweet N Low was discovered in the late 1800's during the war when sugar production was low. It is quite sweeter than sugar. I personally hate Sweet N Low. I think it tastes terrible and leaves an awful aftertaste. I pretty much feel the same way about Equal. Equal contains aspartame, which many people tend to notice heaaches and stomach aches from Equal. These are FDA approved, as some sweeteners are not. (Which basically means, if it is FDA approved, the ingredients are regulated and approved for safe consumption).

I mostly want to talk about the three most popular sweeteners currently which are, Splenda, Stevia and Monk Fruit.  And I bought them all so I will be doing a personal taste test of the three with some nice, cold ice tea.

Splenda: It is derived from sugar, so it tastes like sugar...right? (ha ha, i had to say it). Personally I do like the taste of Splenda. While it is derived from real sugar in the beginning, but the time it is actually produced there is hardly and sugar left. It is manufactured in a chemical plant and is basically Sucralose, which is not a natural ingredient. While Splenda is mostly made up of man made chemicals, it is FDA approved.

Stevia: Found usually as Truvia, this is an herbal sweetener that is found South America. It is about 250 times sweeter than sugar. It is not FDA approved.

Monk Fruit: Found usually as Nectresse (from the makers of Splenda ;) lol...) It is extracted from the Monk Fruit found in Asia. Monk fruit is a small round green melon type fruit. The Chinese have been using it for years for folk remedies and is thought to improved longevity, although this has not been proved. It is only FDA approved as GRAS which means "Generally Recognized as Safe" but only for an additive. That means, the FDA is OK with it, but hasn't totally approved it.

So what do you choose with all these options? Honestly, whatever you want and tastes best to you, but whatever it is, the real it in moderation. Sugar is natural, it is found in your body. Your system knows how to metabolize it. However, it is empty calories, it has not vitamins or minerals and too much can cause diabetes and weight gain. One 12 oz soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar equaling about 130 calories.  Artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value so they have no calories. This can help if you are trying to lose weight. However, they are mostly man made chemicals processed in a plant. Some chemicals used in their makeups are unknown which is why the FDA hasn't approved some of them. Artificial sweeteners tricks your body due to the sweet taste. This causes a similar insulin response to eating sugar. When the insulin response increases, your body will store fat. The sweetness will activate the pleasure center in your brain and you will have more sweet cravings causing yourself to actually indulge in sweet things. Not good for weight loss.

Again, there is no real good answer for which is better, but I personally stick to Splenda. But in moderation. I don't want the calories from sugar, but i don't go crazy with things that are artificially sweetened for I don't want the fooled insulin response.

Taste Test: I found The Monk Fruit to be the sweetest. It is VERY sweet. But it is somewhat gritty. I did like it, but is almost too sweet to drink on a regular basis. And it does have quite an aftertaste, almost chemical like. I found Stevia to be the least sweet and the granules are also gritty and are very heavy and fall to the bottom of your glass. Not much of an aftertaste, but it was my least favorite. Splenda was the winner. I still like the sweetness for it isn't too sweet and the granules are light and dissolve quickly.

*1/29 Update: I don't recommend the Monk Fruit in your coffee. It's good in tea (minus the aftertaste) but not so much in coffee*

So that's it! Whichever you choose, just don't overdo it.

Today's Workout is from 13 minute HIIT cardio, body weight strength and stretching

Have a great day.
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I started because this is the one and only thing I have total control over in my life! My health and how I feel..and I will not quit now..not after all this time! kce