K Compares: Artifical “Sweetners”

I crave something sweet about 5 times a day: when I wake up (like a sweet breakfast) to chase my first cup of joe, at lunch, around 4/5, and after dinner. I truly believe that is absolutely normal and fine, that desire…it signals my body’s need for fuel, and my heart’s longing for warmth.

Americans eat up about 150 pounds of sugar each year. That’s about 50 teaspoons a day, or 4 12 ounce sodas.  The amount is up 30% from the early 80s. But be wary of numbers like this…Economic consumption simply indicates the total weight of a product that is used throughout a year. No matter the goods, economic consumption is calculated by subtracting year-end inventory from the sum of the amount of merchandise produced during the year + the stock-on-hand at the beginning of the same year.  And the word sugar is really ANY sweetener. Honey, Agave, Corn Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice, Rice Syrup, Maple Syrup, Artificial babies, the hunky James Bond …you name it.

Why use artificial sweeteners? Here are some of the reasons I have in the past 1) they don’t make me “crash” like regular sugar 2) I wanted to “cut-calories”  or save them for the real stuff (sugar free pudding mix I heart you)  Why not use them?: 1) they are “artificial” …really chemically manufactured 2) there is evidence back and forth on their safety (although eating a ton of sugar isn’t “safe” either)  2) they have a tendency to taste funny.

For non-artificial sweetners, I prefer Sucanut (like a cource Brown Sugar) and Agave, and unsweetened applesauce. I like to use these primarily in baking…

BUT NOT DRINKING or even candy. I have a Diet Soda daily (I heart Diet Rootbeer, Soda Water and 3-4 Diet Coked per week.  Sometimes I drink sugar-free protein powders and occassional water flavorings. And I always have sugar free hard mints to enjoy.

I know in the health and foodie world, there is a lot of “if I want something sweet, I get the real thing.” In fact, I am a little ashamed sometimes to write that I eat this junk or make stuff from a box on

occassion. But you know what? I love the slurp of my Diet Coke in

Cancer?

Cancer?

the summer during a road trip. And I am allowed. Especially because research shows (see Appetite, 51(3), 2008) that we consume more of a prohibited food (both “healthy” like fruit and “unhealthy” like chips) once we “prohibit” it. Yep…my 100 mile “diet” did that trick. So score one for Nutrasweet in the Land of Diet Coke.  

So, what’s the best? For me, it depends on what the function is for: drinking or baking.  I combed through research and then experimented with my own.

Here’s what I compared: Coffee: Slenda VS Sweet N Low. I have my first cup of coffee black, and then in the afternoon have a coffee or tea with milk and an artificial sweetner. On Thursday Splenda, Friday Sweet N Low: half a packet each. I know the pink stuff received a bad rap in the past, but it is the WINNER here! Why? It’s cheaper and sweeter and mimics sugar. The yellow stuff paled in flavor and I wanted some vanilla or nutmeg with it. And it is twice as pricey.

But they flip flop once you heat ingriedients up a lot. I can’t tell the difference between sugar and splenda when using in baking.

I haven’t been able to buy Stevia in bulk, but I like it in my diet sodas, and drink 2 nutrasweet goodies (DC) to 1 stevia diet soda.  My favorite sweetener for things to bake with or top with by far, however, is something called Xlyitol.  

What do you think about artifical sweeteners? Sometimes I think I go sugar free because I don’t want the food “to count.”

Hmmmm….

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8 thoughts on “K Compares: Artifical “Sweetners”

  1. I had such a hard time breaking my artificial sweetener habit, but aspartame was totally giving me headaches…didn’t help that I was drinking up to 5 or 6 Coke Zeros a day. It was bad. I still have the occasional sorbitol-containing mint, and I do love a good Diet Root Beer, but otherwise I say far far away from the stuff and stick with stevia. However, there is even research out there that says stevia is not good for us either. It stinks because sometimes, I just need something sweet, and my body does not like refined or even all natural sweeteners. :(

  2. i drink a daily 12-oz can of diet coke (with lime!). i figure as long as i’m not consuming pound after pound of the stuff i’m okay in life.

    and don’t feel guilty / bad at all about making stuff from a box. while since being at school i don’t cook for myself but when dinner is up to me i can’t stand the thought of making something from scratch. so i dont :)

  3. Nice post.
    I don’t use many artificial sweeteners, but I use splenda and Purevia when I do. Xylitol gives me gas and cramps!
    If you have not tried Zevia yet, you should. IT’s diet cola made with all natural stevia sweetener and it’s very tasty, with no aftertaste!

  4. I’ve recently weaned myself off Splenda and most other artificial sweeteners. I was having stomach issues and they seem to have subsided since I’ve omitted them from my diet. I do miss some of the sweet treats that I would eat that contained those sweeteners.
    Overall, I think that everything in moderation is just fine. Even some artificial sweeteners :)

  5. I will be the first to admit….this is where I FAIL!

    I’ve tried cutting out diet sodas from my life completely – and I was soooo unhappy. I think because I’m incredibly unhappy at my job, this gives me something to look forward to. Seriously, it makes my day (how sad?!). I’m looking forward to the day when I don’t dread my job (workin’ on it!) and can sip on my water (which I drink about 150 oz. daily already) and tea. :-)

    I need to try stevia!!

  6. Nowadays you’ll find nothing(or as little as I can possibly keep it) artificial in my diet. That being said, there was a time when I lived off diet soda, yogurt sweetened with aspartame, and never cared a bit about artificial colors/flavors/ingredients and I lived to this point just fine. I don’t know/think any of that artificial stuff is poisonous, but it’s something I keep out of my diet since I can control that.
    Artificial sweeteners I mind slightly less in the American diet than colors or flavors. The truth is, nobody needs their mint ice cream to be neon green. But there are obese americans who need to lower their calorie intake, particularly sugar, and at least artificial sugars can assist them temporarily. However, for the average american, I think they’re largely unnecessary, and though they might not pose a health threat, a packet of real sugar rather than Splenda in a cup of coffee will do even less harm.

  7. K, how do I contact you? Did you ask me to write a guest post this week?

    And, yes, I heart sugar. But I try to avoid all kinds of sweeteners. Of course, I spend most of my life trying to forgive myself for failing on that front.

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