The Many Colors of Sweeteners

If you get confused on which colored packet sweetener is what, which ones are safe, and which colors to avoid, remember this good rule of thumb: Color Matters

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!

Despite the misleading report over twenty years ago that saccharin causes cancer, in my opinion, saccharin remains the safest of all the artificial 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 sugar replacements.

What Are Safe Natural Sweeteners?
Raw, unprocessed sugar (Sucanat®)
Brown Rice Syrup
Barley Malt
Date Sugar
Maple Syrup

*Safe for diabetics. Stevia is similar to saccharin - 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

New natural sweeteners:
Lo Han
Tastes Like Sugar®*

* Contact the Empirical Labs' Orders Department at information on this new sweetener.

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. But 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, these "grey area" sugar alcohols can give people gastric distress if consumed in excess, but are recommended over using the chemical sweetener substitutes.

Posted February 2005 | Permanent Link

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