When artificial sweeteners first came out there was an enormous amount of fear that came with them, the great cancer warning. Nobody at the time, identified the fact that eating a huge amount of sugar in your diet could have something to do with cancer. And, as so many things in life are political, my wondering is if the identification of artificial sweeteners with cancer, was a political move to in order to maintain the status quo.
Since then, things have really changed, and the questionable link between artificial sweeteners and cancers have all but abated. For example, artificial sweeteners have been around since the 1800’s. Saccharin was first created by accident by Remsen and Fahlberg in 1879. Stevia was widely used in South America for centuries and in Japan since 1970. Stevia was finally approved (sort of, “no-objection” approval) by the FDA for coca-cola to use in 2008.
Now, numerous products are made and are on the market sweetened with artificial sweeteners. My experience of them is that I had to develop a ‘taste’ for them and once I did, “diet” pop has become the norm.
The truth is, your preference for sweetness is created by your genetics, and/or exposure of sweet foods during early childhood. Another component, is whether you were brought up in your food consumption of needing to eat until feeling full or by fasting to maintain a level of feeling hungry.
Nutritive sweetener is a sweetener that is sweet tasting, and has energy such as sucrose and fructose. Sugar alcohols are also nutritive sweeteners and have names such as manitol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch. These foods can be labeled as sugar free because they have reduced glycemic response, minimize cavities and may also have a prebiotic effect.
Non-nutritive sweeteners on the other hand, provide the sweet taste but with no energy. These are names such as aspartame, neotame, saccharine, and scurrilous. Aspartame, otherwise known as Nutro-Sweet, generates a limited glycemic response where as the others do not. They are beneficial in managing diabetes, controlling weight, and preventing cavities. It might have taken a long time to get these sweeteners approved but finally by the year 2000 they got the label of being generally regarded as safe for consumption and non producing of cavities.
Sugar, provides the body with energy. So when you see added sugar on a food label it means that sugar has been added to the food or drink. Added sugar gives you energy for a short duration but actually doesn’t help you in any other way. Mostly all foods contain sugars, except for water and meat. Foods such as milk, fruit, vegetables, starches, and grains, all contain sugar.
A high sugar diet has been linked to heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, and cavities. So, even though sugar is natural as compared to artificial sugars, they are not actually good for you especially in high quantities. So, when you are looking at the packaging and reading those food and beverage labels, no added sugar means that the food item does not have added sugars such as glucose, fructose, honey, or molasses. However, it still may contain naturally occurring sugars from fruit and dairy products. Reduced or lower in sugar labels means that the food item contains at least 25% and five grams less sugar than its counter part.
Unsweetened on the label means that the food item contains no added sugars or artificial sweeteners like aspartame or sucrolose. Sugar free or sugarless, means that the food item contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar and less than 5 calories per serving.
So lets take a look at how much sugar you may be consuming if you are not drinking ‘diet’. In a can of soda there are ten tsp’s of added sugar, and if you were to drink two added cans of soda per day you can actually gain 30 additional pounds per year. 100% orange juice on the other hand (250ml) contains 5.5 tsp’s of added sugar. A sports drink contains 5 added tsp’s of sugar, and a specialty coffee can have as many or more then 7 added tsp’s of sugar.
Good to take look at where you might be adding in sugar to your diet without even knowing it.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.