Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - What Form of Sweetener Is Acceptable to You?




saef
09-24-2010, 03:09 PM
When I talk with people who eat mindfully, there is one topic that seems slightly divisive, and where beliefs can diverge radically. That is in the question of what people use when they want to taste something sweet.

I'm curious about various attitudes at 3FC on natural & artificial sweeteners.


Joy2MeNu
09-24-2010, 04:16 PM
Stevia -- TRUVIA!

mandalinn82
09-24-2010, 04:27 PM
I use a wide variety of sweeteners, for various applications.

Sometimes, you need a little sugar for texture as well as sweetness. Sugar is essential to get a proper balsamic glaze, for example, because it gets syrupy in a way that other sweeteners do not. Sometimes I sub agave or honey for the glaze, but in baking, sometimes the sugar is structurally important. And if I'm using just a teaspoon or two, I'll usually use real sugar, since the impact in the total recipe is so minimal. So there are times I make the choice to use a caloric sweetener of some kind - those foods are "sometimes" foods, except for the balsamic reduction, which is so low calorie and used in such small quantities that I don't really worry too terribly much about that.

When I need sweetness in a recipe where 1. sugar does not provide structure or texture to the recipe and 2. the amount of sugar is significant, I'll usually use Splenda, but less Splenda than the sugar called for in the recipe because I generally like things less sweet.

I actively try to avoid HFCS. Mostly I cook so much at home that I'd have no cause to eat it anyway (it isn't in my pantry).


carter
09-24-2010, 04:30 PM
I voted for both sugar and natural sweeteners like honey, etc.

I never been a big sweetener of things, though, so this isn't a huge issue for me. I take milk in my coffee but haven't put sugar in my coffee for more than 20 years. When I make tea, I usually add spices and a very small amount of sugar (I make masala chai, in the Indian style - not the syrupy-sweet commercial sort of chai). I don't add sugar to fruit. When I do eat oatmeal or yogurt, it's about a 50/50 toss-up whether I'll add sweetener or not, and if I do, it will be a little honey or brown sugar.

So, that's it - I use so little sweetener that I'm more than happy to stick with the real thing and count the calories for it - I don't need a substitute.

catherinef
09-24-2010, 04:48 PM
I said Splenda, because it's what I tend to use the most, in hot drinks and smoothies. For cooking, though, if necessary I will use small quantities of natural sweeteners, because generally I'm using so little that it's going to portion out to something very close to negligible. (I am thinking specifically of tossing maybe a teaspoon of sugar into a big vat of a tomato-based sauce, or a pinch of sugar in a couple of Asian dishes I make regularly.)

evilwomaniamshe
09-24-2010, 05:02 PM
I quit the artificial stuff cold turkey several years ago & couldn't be happier! :) My body thanks me everyday for going this route & I'm thrilled to have kicked that $hit to the curb! :) *Don't be mad users, I'm just sayin..... that stuff is NOT for me! Everybody is different as to side effects, etc.
~ Wendalyn

SCraver
09-24-2010, 05:43 PM
My mom always used to (and still does) buy diet soad. Period. NEVER regular. Unless there was company coming and they were particular. I never had a problem with it. I drank it every now and then... But then I got PG with my son and something happened. Artificial sweetners (all that I have tried) tasted nasty to me and I have not been able to go back to them. I would rather go without than have artificial sweetner.

I don't know what happened. :shrug:

And I avoid HFCS like the plague. LoL!

I am kinda curious to try out stevia. And next grocery trip, I am going to pick up some agave to try.

GreenTeaYum
09-24-2010, 06:10 PM
I try to stay as natural as possible. I occasionally binge and have a diet soda, but I really don't like high fructose corn syrup, splenda, or any artificial sweeteners.

I think I had a bad reaction to Splenda after a binge on those diabetic Russell Stover candies. It's a long story, but my mom gave me like 6 bags of the darn things a few months back- she just needed to get rid of them but didn't want to throw them away. So, me being the trooper that I am, took them. It's my own fault, but I ate like 10-15 of the chocolate sugar-free candies in one night and I was SO sick to my stomach for 3 days. It was just awful. I had never really been aware of the artificial sweeteners before, but ever since then, I avoid them at all costs.

I cook/bake for the vast majority of our meals, so I use honey or natural sugar when needed.

kaplods
09-24-2010, 06:18 PM
I try to stay as natural as possible. I occasionally binge and have a diet soda, but I really don't like high fructose corn syrup, splenda, or any artificial sweeteners.

I think I had a bad reaction to Splenda after a binge on those diabetic Russell Stover candies. It's a long story, but my mom gave me like 6 bags of the darn things a few months back- she just needed to get rid of them but didn't want to throw them away. So, me being the trooper that I am, took them. It's my own fault, but I ate like 10-15 of the chocolate sugar-free candies in one night and I was SO sick to my stomach for 3 days. It was just awful. I had never really been aware of the artificial sweeteners before, but ever since then, I avoid them at all costs.

I cook/bake for the vast majority of our meals, so I use honey or natural sugar when needed.



It probably wasn't the Splenda, it was more likely the sugar alcohols, which are notoriously hard on the digestive system (causing cramping, diarrhea and gas). We've had the same problems. I'm a little more resistant than hubby (he has no tolerance for anything ending in "ol" like xylitol or malitol or all the other sugar alcohols ending in "ol." Even one piece will make him sick as a dog).

GreenTeaYum
09-24-2010, 06:20 PM
Kaplods- Maybe that's what it was. Because I haven't ever had any problems with anything else with Splenda, but the cramping was so unbearable, I will never be able to walk down the sugar-free candy section of the store without cringing again.

mandalinn82
09-24-2010, 06:23 PM
LOL Kaplods - I PM'd her at the same time you were posting! If only because if that's what it is, you might need to become a label sleuth for avoiding them otherwise!

kaplods
09-24-2010, 06:37 PM
Yeah, those darned sugar alcohols. Even though I don't have a problem with them if I stick to the appropriate serving size, they can still be tricky.

When I was working for State Farm Corporate, I bought some sugar free Jelly Bellys from the company store after lunch one day - The bag was quite tiny, so I assumed (without checking) that one bag was one serving (the bag was less than 2" square).

Turns out the recommended "serving" was 4 jelly beans (who eats only 4 jelly beans - well, not me!)

Thank goodness I didn't eat them until late afternoon, or I would have had to go home sick (and thank goodness we only lived 5 minutes from my work).

You don't make the sugar alcohol mistake too many times, that's for sure!.

Bombe
09-25-2010, 11:42 AM
Well I voted in 2 categories; I rarely sweeten anything so I voted that, but when I do use sweetener I prefer natural and I usually reach for honey or maple syrup (the REAL kind!) so I voted for that one too.

Jojo381972
09-25-2010, 10:02 PM
I use Splenda for everything. I've totally cut out sugar for now. I think there is enough sugar in foods without adding more. I've cut sugar out for a few years now, but I have went back to sugar for short periods, then felt guilty and went back to splenda.

Karen925
09-26-2010, 07:46 PM
Love Splenda. Agree on the sugar alcohols, avoid those. Avoid HFCS.

Rochester
09-26-2010, 08:54 PM
99% of the time I go natural - honey, agave, maple syrup, date sugar, Stevia. I will occasionally use sugar/brown sugar in recipes if I'm not certain how to make a natural substitution. I avoid the chemical fake stuff like the plague - it all tastes horrid and I'm skeered of it. ;)

emaline29
10-01-2010, 07:53 PM
I always use natural sugar, pref brown type, but never, ever any artificial stuff. YUK!! Apart from the fact I usually end up with a headache or some other reaction I can always taste the stuff and it's awful!

losermom
10-01-2010, 08:10 PM
Ok, I'm going to be honest! I have a real sweet tooth. I will use the real stuff if I'm baking. And I don't have a problem with Splenda in diet colas or other products. Lately I've been using Stevia in my oatmeal and plain greek yogurt. Yummy! If it's sweet and lower in calories it's for me. It doesn't seem to bother me or trigger cravings.