Sugar seems to be a swear word these days. Why is sugar bad for you? When I look at articles from sites like WebMD, the FDA, and health.com, it doesn’t appear that sugar itself is terrible, but the amount we consume is. The recommended daily average for women is a mere 24 grams of added sugar/day. That means about 100 calories or about the same as a can of non-diet soda. For men, it’s not much more: 150 calories or about 9 teaspoons. Added sugar is linked to type 2 diabetes as well as other health implications including things like tooth decay, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners can be an attractive alternative to sugar because they aren’t typically a carbohydrate which means that they don’t raise your blood sugar levels. This can help people to limit sharp spikes and lows to help better maintain blood sugar levels.
Cardiovascular Disease and Weight Gain
The reason for these potential health issues is an excess amount of fat in your liver caused by excess sugar. Sweeteners have, for the most part, zero calories. Sweeteners are one way to look at reducing your calories, your overall sugar intake, and your weight, just by replacing sugar with alternative sweeteners.
I have never been a big fan of sweeteners. I always thought that they were a chemically created version of sugar and that I would rather just go with the natural thing. Some of them are, but according to the Mayo Clinic, most of the negativity around artificial sweeteners is based on older research. Newer research shows that they are regulated by the FDA and generally a healthy sugar alternative.
In order to help myself weed through the information, I looked at comparing some of the main different sweeteners by a few key factors to try and determine the best sugar alternatives:
- How many calories?
- How sweet are they compared to sugar?
- Hopefully, this means you can add less of the sweetener than the sugar
- Do they cause blood sugar spikes?
- Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI)
- This is measured by milligrams per kilogram body weight per day
- Can you bake with the sweetener?
|Sweet N’ Low
|Multiple Brand Names||Sunett
|Calories||No Calories||No Calories||No Calories||About 4 Calories/Pack||20 Calories/Tsp||No Calories|
|Sweetness Compared to Sugar||Up to 400 Times||Between 200 and 700 Times||About 600 Times||Up to 200 Times||25 Times||200 Times
|Blood Sugar Spikes||N||N||N||N||Y||N|
For me, I’d like to have a sweetener that is all purpose and to help keep the calories down compared to sugar. So, for this reason, I am going to forgo the Aspartame and the Agave and try out the taste of the remaining candidates.
I have tried Stevia previously and didn’t love the taste. I did however read that there are two main sweet components of Stevia: stevioside and rebaudioside. Stevioside has more of a bitter aftertaste than rebaudioside, so I am going to try looking for a product that is based on rebaudioside to see if I like the taste better.
If anyone has any suggestions on brands to try, let me know and once I try out some brands, I will do the same.