Continuing with the A- Z Blogging Challenge and am blogging the letter S. Ah! my chance to rant about sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners. Do I use sugar substitutes ? Yes ! I do and here’s why . I have a sweet tooth and cannot pass up dessert so I get a fair amount of sugar from those decadently delish deserts that you just can’t use splenda for 😉 In addition I guzzle about 5 cups of tea and 2 shakes a day. If I used sugar for my shakes and teas as well, add an additional 500 calories to my day. I would bloat!! So for my shakes and teas I rely on sugar substitutes, BUT I have done some research to make sure am only licking the sugar substitutes that are safe. Before I go in to the safe ones , let me give you my scoop on the ones I do NOT use.
Sugar Substitutes that are dubious ( to me )
Saccharin commonly marketed as Sweet N Low. Deemed safe in small quantities according to FDA. Some studies show it to be a carcinogen. If saccharin is even a weak carcinogen, that’s enough to scare me. I have enough history of cancer in my family. You can’t control stuff that happens in life, but I like to play safe and whether its just been tested on mice or men, I would rather stay away.
Aspartame – Commonly marketed as Nutra- Sweet and Equal. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. These include Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, and muscle spasms. I myself have experienced headaches which disappeared when I let go of Equal in my diet, so that’s a good enough reason for me to steer clear of it.
Splenda – Marketed as splenda is very natural tasting and tastes like sugar. i consider it safer than the above two, but will not trust it in larger quantities. It was after all stumbled upon when searching for a pesticide and has a similar composition to DDT. It is fairly new and has not been tested on people for several years to see if it is safe, so the reality is that we are the guinea pigs for Splenda. Another reason I would prefer plain sugar to splenda. I do occasionally have a diet coke though but do not deem it safe for my copious amounts of tea and shakes
Sugar substitutes that are All Natural and Safe
Stevia : I am big fan of Stevia. It has been around for centuries and been used extensively by the Japanese and we have yet to see any side effects. The only problem is : unlike Splenda it does not taste exactly like sugar. It’s a cultured taste and takes some getting used to. I find the liquid version works great for teas and smoothies. The powdered version works for baked goods. I’ve never tried that but people who have said it works great.
Agave Nectar : This is not a calorie free sweetener, but for all purposes has been deemed safe. If it’s not calorie free, what’s the point of it ? Agave nectar has a lower Glycemic Index (GI ) than sugar or honey, thus making it a good sweetener for diabetics and anyone in general. GI is the rate at which food hits your blood sugar levels. It is also very strong, hence 1/2 a tsp would be sufficient where 1 tsp is required. To read more about Agave Nectar, click here !
If you need recipes using Stevia and Agave Nectar click here ! This is neat website by one of my buddy foodie bloggers who developed this site for people who want to cut artificial sweeteners out of their diet. It has many fabulous recipes using Stevia and Agave Nectar
To read more in my A- Z Blogging challenge, click here and check back tomorrow to read my post on the letter T. I am blogging a delish recipe for home made Tangy Tangerine Bubble Tea !