This may be the solution for those who actually want to reduce sugar intake in their diet but still wants to enjoy the “sweetness” in life. Low-calorie sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners are sugar substitutes which are capable of providing sweetness without adding significant amount of calories as compared from sugar. These are widely used all over the world in different products such as soft drinks, chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candies, fruit juices, ice cream, yogurt and so many other things that are actually sweet in taste. You may not know it, but you are already taking it in your daily life. These sweeteners have become well-known and well used by people without the knowledge of the different kinds of sweeteners. It would be essential for you to know the type of sweeteners to be able to determine what particular sweetener is actually good for you.
- Artificial sweeteners are sweeter than sugar but are non-nutritive and non- caloric such as Acesulfame Potassium, Aspartame, Saccharin and Sucralose. A normal table sugar would contain 4 calories per gram. For a cola, you might have to add 8 teaspoons of sugar (around 4 grams per teaspoon) to satisfy the sweetness you’ve been looking for. Doing a little math, you’ll end up gaining around 128 calories but if you use artificial sweeteners, you’ll free yourself from these calories. Since they are not carbohydrates, they don’t affect or raise your blood sugar levels making it safe for diabetes. However, this has been seen to increase risk of certain diseases such as cancer in which too much intake is a NO for your health.
- Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that naturally occur in certain fruits and vegetables. They are less sweet that sugar and are of lesser calories. This has been one of the mistakes in generalization in which they think that sugar alcohols are also non-caloric. They only have LOWER calories than sugar. Erythritol, Mannitol, Lactitol, Xylitol are some of the sugar alcohol which only contains around 2 calories per gram. Since they are carbohydrates they can still raise your blood sugar level and can still contribute to weight only at lower rate since they contain lower calories and are not easily absorbed by the body.
- Novel Sweeteners are combination of various types of sweeteners such as Stevia, tagatose, and trechalose. These are sweeteners which are made as they are made. They still undergo several processes before they become a sweetener. It is quite confusing though because you cannot really assure whether it can add up to your weight since it is a combination of sweeteners. however, stevia has been promoted recently as a good sugar substitute as it is organic and contributes god calories.
- Natural sweeteners are molasses, maple syrup, honey, date sugar, fruit juice concentrate and the like. The kind depends on the amount of calories it may contain. Though they are sweet, you cannot greatly depend on it as they also add calories to your diet but are good to health as to some are taken for its medicinal benefits such as honey.
Different sugar alternatives normally offers an after taste effect that is different from a normal sugar. Food industry works on ways to adjust the taste making it acceptable to the consumers. Before you decide to take any of the low calorie sweeteners, better check it with your doctor to avoid problems such as possible allergic reactions and can give you a limit of the amount you are allowed to take.