FROM PHIL LEMPERT, SUPERMARKET GURU
June 20, 2011
Here is a quick SupermarketGuru guide to shopping for artificial sweeteners. From what they are, to how to store, we’ve got everything you need in this quick reference article.
What is Artificial Sweetener? Man-made products created to add sweetness to baking, cooking, and beverages. Helpful for restricted diets for weight loss or diabetes.
How to Buy: Mostly in single serve packages, check expiration date as sweetness will decrease over time.
How to Read the Label: Check for sweetness level, baking or cooking uses, equivalent amount equal to 1 tsp. sugar.
Choices: Saccharin is petroleum byproduct from methyl anthranulate, a synthesized organic molecule found in grapes and other fruits. Manufactured since 1879. Sweet’n Low®, Necta Sweet®; 300-500x sweeter than sugar. Not for baking.
Aspartame combines methanol w/ amino acids phenylalanine and aspartic acid. 4 cal. per gram. Add at end of cooking. Sold as NutraSweet® and Equal® since 1981. 200x sweeter than sugar. PKU patients should avoid it.
Sucralose: no calories; 600x sweeter than sugar. Begins as cane sugar molecule; substitutes 3 hydrogen-oxygen groups w/3 highly-bound chlorine atoms. Sold as Splenda® since 1998.
Acesulfame potassium or acesulfame K is 200x sweeter than sugar, no calories; use in hot or cold foods or drinks. Not for baking. Sold as Sunette® since 1988.
Stevia rebaudiana aka Stevia is an herb related to the chrysanthemum; grows as a shrub in Paraguay and Brazil. 250-300x sweeter than sugar, sold since 2008 as Truvia® and PureVia®.
How to Use: Substitute for natural sugars.
How to Store: Keep in a cool dark place.
Health Benefits: Does not promote tooth decay; no nutritional benefit but low glycemic, low in calories and little or no carbohydrates.
Smarter Shopping Trivia: Bulking agents dextrose and maltodextrin contain about 4 calories per tsp.; not listed on the nutrition panel.