Do you get confused which colored sweetener packet is what, which ones are safe, or which colors to avoid? Remember this good rule of thumb: Color Matters.
Colored Sweetener Packets
Here’s a good way to remember which sweeteners you should avoid:
The yellow packet (Splenda®) = caution like in a traffic light;
The blue packet (Equal®) = makes you feel blue;
The pink packet (Sweet’N’Low® or generic saccharin*) = you’re in the pink!
The Pink Packet
Despite the misleading reports from over 30 years ago that saccharin causes cancer, according to the research and the stats, saccharin remains the safest of all the artificial, chemical sweeteners.
Its simplicity may be the key to its ability to be used by the body as a sugar substitute. Saccharin is not a “chemically combined” sweetener like the other artificial sweeteners, it’s not injected with toxic chemicals like the methanol in aspartame or the chlorine in sucralose, and saccharin is the safest choice for diabetics from this group of colored, sugar replacements.
The Safe Natural Sweeteners
- Raw, unprocessed sugar (Sucanat®)
- Brown Rice Syrup
- Barley Malt
- Date Sugar
- Maple Syrup
*Safe for diabetics. Stevia is similar to saccharin in potency – use it sparingly or it is bitter – otherwise, it’s “naturally” delicious and a much healthier choice!
Secondary Natural Sweetener Choices (Use With Discretion)
- Fruit Juice Concentrate
- Juice Concentrate
- Sugar alcohols (Polyols)
- Turbinado® Sugar
I am not a fan of sugar alcohols because they are extracted from (lifted out of) their natural sources. Sugar alcohols are actually made from sugar. Part of their structure chemically resembles sugar and part is similar to alcohol.
To complicate matters more, these sweeteners are neither sugars nor alcohols – they are best described as a sugar byproduct refined by nature. Sugar alcohols fall into a “grey area” in the sweetener arena because they are actually carbohydrates (starches) more than they are sugars. They are typically used cup-for-cup in the same amount as refined sugar, but they each vary in sweetness, ranging from half as sweet to as sweet as sugar.
Sugar alcohols blend well with other sugars, so they are commonly added to products such as gums, candies and mints, toothpaste and mouthwash. Please keep in mind that these “grey area” sugar alcohols can give people gastric distress if consumed in excess, but these sweeteners are recommended over using the chemical sweetener substitutes like aspartame.
There is no question that the best choice is NOT to use the packet sweeteners at all, but let’s keep it real … most people are going to zip open one of those colored sweetener packets sitting on their table. If you are one of those people, always make the safest and most natural choice.