Be conscious when you want to add a touch of sweetness to your favourite food or drink. You may want to carefully consider the sweetener you use. Most Americans consume far too much-added sugar in the form of refined sweeteners like white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
These sweeteners are often added to sweetened beverages, sugary cereals, sweet snacks, and desserts. Although sweets taste delicious, eating too much added sugar may take a toll on your health.
For example, diets high in added sugar are strongly linked to medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease. While it’s perfectly healthy to enjoy foods that contain a small amount of added sugar on occasion, keeping your total sugar intake to a minimum may help reduce your risk of these conditions and improve your health in other ways. If you want to cut your intake of common refined sweeteners like white sugar and HFCS, there are many alternatives to choose from. Some of these even contain zero or very few calories.
Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are a type of carbohydrate naturally found in fruits and vegetables. Popular sugar alcohols used as sugar alternatives include erythritol, xylitol, and maltitol. The bacteria in your mouth don’t ferment sugar alcohols, so they don’t damage your teeth the way that regular sugar does. Plus, they have substantially fewer calories and don’t significantly affect blood sugar levels, making them a smart alternative for those with diabetes (
Erythritol contains just 0.2 calories per gram, while xylitol provides 2.4 calories per gram. For reference, sucrose — or table sugar — packs 4 calories per gram. Although sugar alcohols are considered generally safe, some may cause digestive upset when eaten in large amounts. For example, sorbitol may trigger laxative effects in doses of 20–50 grams, while erythritol may cause stomach upset if you eat over 455 mg per pound (1,000 mg per kg) of body weight
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