Getting your ultimate sugar fix should be easy and simple. I have compiled a list of artificial sweeteners which should help you out with that sweet tooth in a totally satisfying way. A quick analysis of each sugar free alternative is included to help you figure out just what you want to use and when. This is not a complete list just some of the most commonly found products on the market.
Keep in mind that you need to look at your long term health when you use these products. Read the labels and know exactly what you are getting before you purchase anything. Sugar free doesn’t always mean calorie free – watch your waist line along with your health.
Let’s start with the basics and look at some more readily available sweeteners on the market:
Commonly Used Artificial Sweeteners
- Equal. Also known as Aspartame, Equal sweetener is sold worldwide in more than 100 countries. It contains a combination of Acesulfame potassium, dextrose, starch, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide and other ingredients. It comes in small packets for individual use or tablets. Many establishments will have it available to put in substances like coffee or tea. If you are baking or cooking, Equal is not a good substitute for sugar. There is some controversy about the safety of Equal, mainly from the Acesulfame potassium component, so do your research before using. If you have phenylketonuria, don’t use Equal.
- Splenda. A derivative of sucralose commonly used in many products and readily available in restaurant establishments. Splenda unlike Equal is stable in temperature up to 450 Fahrenheit. Splenda is good for use in baking products and cooking. It is 600 times sweeter than sugar so be careful how you use it.
- Stevia. A sweetener refined from the leaves of the stevia plant. Often used as an individual sweetener like Equal. Stevia is 200-400 times as sweet as sugar so use accordingly. You can bake and cook with stevia, but due to differences from sugar, when making recipes volume will have to accounted for when making recipes. A lot of people like it as a natural alternative to other sweeteners.
- Erythritol. This sweetener falls in the sugar alcohol family. Sugar alcohols do not play well within the human digestive tract and are not absorbed in the intestines. You my experience diarrhea or digestive upset if you consume too much SO BE CAREFUL.
- Monk Fruit. Another natural sweetener derived from plants. I use it just as I would stevia and its fantastic. Start with a little and gradually add more to fill out sweetness to your taste.
- Swerve. A newer type sweetener that contains some erythritol, oligosaccharides and other natural flavors. It comes in both powder and granular forms and is said to be comparable to sugar in cooking and baking, The jury is still out on this one but it shows a lot of promise.
- NutraSweet. Used commercially in lots of food products. Said to be relatively safe but use caution and do your research.
Products You Can Buy Which Already Contain Artificial Sweeteners
- Diet Sodas. Widely available everywhere. There are diet versions of almost any common soft drink brand out there. Try to limit your soda use as much as possible but do enjoy when you imbibe.
- Baked Goods. A lot of these contain bread which still has a lot of carbs so be careful. There are the good, bad and the ugly products you can buy so read that label folks.
- Puddings and dairy products. Yogurts, puddings, custard and other dairy products fall into this category. This can be a good source of satisfaction without the guilt if you look before you buy.
- Other beverages. Teas, flavored waters, juices and the like fall into this category. Watch the calories and what else may be contained in what you are drinking. Some beverages contain a lot of caffeine to make up for the sugar so look out.
- Syrups. A lot of these contain sugar alcohols so be careful before you drown your food. There are good ones out there if you look so don’t be afraid.
- Jams and Jellies. A common form of sweet sensation for many. Just read the label and know what you are getting.
When picking a product start with what the end use will be and then go shopping. I often look at online recipes to pick out what products I will use for baking or cooking. Making beverages such as coffee or tea often lends to personal preference – use natural whenever you can if possible. When buying products with sweeteners already in them, use these judiciously. Often unflavored versions (such as waters or lemon/lime juices and such) may be better for you.
There are low carb versions of items like cookies and candies available on the market. With a bit of common sense these can provide snacking satisfaction. Keep supplies handy when that sweet tooth craving hits. Just don’t overdo it and use moderation.
Looking Out – What to Be Concerned About
In short – side effects. These are usually more of a concern with heavy use so moderation is what you want to practice. Your health is the most important concern so know what you are putting in your body. Wight gain may be an issue with some products, so keep an eye out for the scale and become concerned if the pounds start to creep up.
Other problems might involve issues such as allergies, effects on things like sleep and such, so notice how these products affect you while you are using them. Sensitivities vary person to person and no one knows what might affect you. If you do have concerns, consult a physician and discuss your concerns.
Getting It Right, The Final Word
With all the alternatives out there, a sugar free lifestyle is certainly possible. Take the time to find one that’s right for you. There’s no need not to fulfill your sweet desires as long as you practice due diligence and care. Be safe, be careful and happy shopping!