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Sweeteners, Salt and Sugar Substitutes

Sweeteners, Salt and Sugar Substitutes

Table sugar (sucrose) has 4 calories per gram. Sugar substitutes are used to limit food energy during dieting, to reduce the formation of dental plaque, and to help regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic individuals.  Sugar substitutes are used to reduce the calories in foods and drinks. Sugar substitutes may be natural products such as sorbitol or xylitol, or they may be artificial sweeteners created in a laboratory like saccharin, sucralose or aspartame. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the following non-caloric sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, and acesulfame potassium.

A sugar substitute is a food additive that duplicates the effect of sugar in taste, usually with less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are natural and some are synthetic. Those that are not natural are, in general, called artificial sweeteners. An important class of sugar substitutes are known as high-intensity sweeteners. These are compounds with many times the sweetness of sucrose, common table sugar.


Sugar substitutes are used for a number of reasons, including:
To assist in weight loss - some people choose to limit their food energy intake by replacing high-energy sugar or corn syrup with other sweeteners having little or no food energy. This allows them to eat the same foods they normally would, while allowing them to lose weight and avoid other problems associated with excessive caloric intake.

Dental care - sugar substitutes are tooth-friendly, as they are not fermented by the microflora of the dental plaque. An example of a sweetener that can benefit dental health is xylitol. Xylitol works to prevent bacteria from adhering to the tooth surface, thus preventing plaque formation and eventually decay. The carbohydrates and sugars consumed usually adheres to the tooth enamel. Bacteria can feed upon this food source allowing them to quickly multiply. As the bacteria feed upon the sugar, they convert it to acid waste that in turn decays the tooth structure. Xylitol cannot be fermented by these bacteria, so the bacteria have difficulty thriving, thus helping to prevent plaque formation.

Diabetes mellitus - people with diabetes have difficulty regulating their blood sugar levels. By limiting their sugar intake with artificial sweeteners, they can enjoy a varied diet while closely controlling their sugar intake. Also, some sugar substitutes do release energy, but are metabolized more slowly, allowing blood sugar levels to remain more stable over time.

Reactive hypoglycemia - individuals with reactive hypoglycemia will produce an excess of insulin after quickly absorbing glucose into the bloodstream. This causes their blood glucose levels to fall below the amount needed for proper body and brain function. As a result, like diabetics, they must avoid intake of high-glycemic foods like white bread, and often choose artificial sweeteners as an alternative.

Avoiding processed foods - individuals may opt to substitute refined white sugar with less-processed sugars, such as fruit juice or maple syrup.

Cost - many sugar substitutes are cheaper than sugar. Alternative sweeteners are often low in cost because of their long shelf-life and high sweetening intensity. This allows alternative sweeteners to be used in products that will not perish after a short period of time.

Saccharin was discovered in 1879. It is the oldest nonnutritive sweetener. It is commonly sold in pink packets under the brand name Sweet'N Low. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose but has a bitter aftertaste. The use of saccharin increased during World War I due to sugar shortages, and during the 1960s because of its use in the production of low-calorie foods. Saccharin is used to sweeten drinks, candies, medicines, and toothpaste. Saccharin is not used for baking because it is unstable when heated. In 1972, the USDA tried unsuccessfully to ban the use of this sweetener after research showed that it increased the rate of bladder cancer in rats. Products were required to carry a warning that saccharin could "cause cancer in laboratory animals". In 2000, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) removed saccharin from its list of carcinogens and the requirement for warning notices was also removed. Saccharin is widely used today. The ingredients of Sweet'N Low are dextrose, 3.6% soluble saccharin, and small amounts of anti-caking agents. Ten grams of Sweet'N Low contain approximately 9 g of dextrose and provide 36 calories. The same weight of sugar provides 39 calories.

Aspartame is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is marketed under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal. Aspartame is the methyl ester of the dipeptide of the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine (aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester). Aspartame is used as a tabletop sweetener, and it is added to a wide variety of foods, including breakfast cereals, soft drinks, desserts, candy, and chewing gum. Aspartame loses its sweetness when heated and it is usually not suitable for baking. Aspartame is metabolized into its component amino acids. People with the rare disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize phenylalanine, so they should avoid aspartame. There have been some reports of headaches and dizziness from consuming aspartame, but no scientific studies have shown a definite association. Ten grams of Equal sweetener contain 8 g of dextrose and 0.84 g of maltodextrin (starch), in addition to aspartame. Ten grams of Equal provide 36 Calories; an identical weight of sugar provides 39 calories.

Sucralose is marketed as Splenda. It is available as a tabletop sweetener and as an ingredient in food processing. Sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Sucralose is stable at hot and cold temperatures and can be used in cold and hot drinks, as well as baked goods. Although Splenda is marketed as a no calorie sweetener, it is a mixture of dextrose, maltodextrin, and sucralose. Ten grams of Splenda contain 9.00 g of carbohydrates consisting of 8.03 g of sugars (dextrose) and 0.96 grams of starch (maltodextrin). For this reason, 10 grams of Splenda have 33 Calories compared to 39 Calories for an equal weight of sugar. The calories of Splenda come from the carbohydrates. Recent formulations of Splenda use resistant maltodextrin which can be categorized as fiber


Sugar Alcohols
Sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol are natural sugar alcohols found in fruits and vegetables. They can be made commercially by catalytic hydrogenation from the corresponding sugars. Xylitol is produced from xylose. Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is produced from glucose. Erythritol is produced commercially by fermentation of glucose with the yeast Moniliella pollinis. Xylitol is absorbed slowly and only partially utilized by the body, it contains 40% fewer calories than sugar, about 2.4 calories per gram. Sorbitol and xylitol are common ingredients in "sugar-free" candies and chewing gum. Other sugar alcohols include mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, and erythritol. Sugar alcohols are not well absorbed in the intestinal tract, and they are fermented by microflora that may produce bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Just 10 grams of sorbitol may be enough to cause gastrointestinal distress. Xylitol appears to be safe for humans, but it can cause seizures, liver failure, and death in dogs in relatively small doses.[4]  Erythritol is 60 to 70% as sweet as table sugar and has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram. Erythritol does not promote tooth decay, and does not cause gastric side effects like other sugar alcohols.

Stevia is the name of a bush (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) whose leaves are used to produce extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. Stevioside and rebaudioside are two of the sweet steviol glycosides in the stevia leaf. Stevioside has one beta-D-glucose molecule replacing the bottom hydrogen atom of steviol and two beta-D-glucose molecules replacing the top hydrogen site. Stevia had been marketed in the U.S. as an herbal supplement because there was not enough scientific data to certify it as a food additive. Experiments on rats and hamsters have shown that high doses of stevioside decrease the production of sperm in males and that females had fewer and smaller offspring. In December 2008, the FDA approved the use of purified rebaudioside A from S. rebaudiana Bertoni, and classified it as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Rebaudioside A, also called Reb-A and rebiana, has one beta-D-glucose molecule replacing the bottom hydrogen atom of steviol and a chain of three beta-D-glucose molecules replacing the top hydrogen site of steviol.

Stevia products are marketed under the brand names Truvia and PureVia, but the packets are not just rebiana. Both Truvia and PureVia contain erythritol, a low-calorie sugar alcohol sweetener. One packet of Truvia (3.5 grams) contains 3 grams of erythritol, and "natural flavors" of undisclosed chemical composition.

Myotcstore Related Products:

Truvia Natures Calorie Free Sweetener - 4.9 oz

Epic Dental 100% Xylitol Sweetener Pouch - 5 lb

Planetary Herbals Stevia Liquid Concentrate - 2 oz

Schiff Glucose-Ban tablets for healthy sugar - 60 ea

Wisdom Naturals Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops by SweetLeaf - 6 ml

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