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What do you guys think about sugar substitutes?

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Old 08-11-2010, 12:10 AM   #1
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Question What do you guys think about sugar substitutes?

For a few weeks I was using Sweet & Low, and it was great! Then I found out some sugar substitutes are actually bad for you. What do you think? I really did love using it in my oatmeal in the mornings and I'm trying to decide if I should go ahead and buy a box, or just stick to real sugar...
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:26 AM   #2
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There are a lot of arguments for use of artificial sweeteners, and many against. There is no consensus - and even the "experts" in the field disagree.

You can use the search tab in the blue bar at the top of the screen to search "artificial sweeteners" and you'll find a ton of threads in which the topic is discussed in great length.
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Old 08-11-2010, 02:43 AM   #3
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I don't use them, because I'm trying not to eat 'artificial' foods. I either don't sweeten at all or I use sugar in tiny quantities: I count the calories, I watch out for sugar spikes - and yes, I do know sugar is a hideously processed food in intself!
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:22 AM   #4
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I love my sugar substitutes and I say if it helps you cut calories and stick to a healthy eating plan long term, go for it. Like Kaplods said, there is no consensus even from 'experts'.

Having said all that, I have read that sucralose (Splenda) was the only artificial sweetener available that had no bad reports. Plus, I think it tastes more like sugar. But, really, I believe that if you like your Sweet N Low, use it and enjoy it.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:29 AM   #5
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I use Splenda. All the aspertame products give me horrible headaches, so sucralose it is!!!
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:01 AM   #6
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I think that artificial sweeteners have their place, but that they can be overused.

I almost never use refined sugar. If I want a little bit of sweet, I use a measured amount of honey, 100% maple syrup, or agave nectar. They are still sugar, but somewhat less unnatural.

Also, if you stop using sweeteners of any kind for awhile, you'll find that you want a lot less when you add them back in small, measured amounts. Most commercial foods taste way too sweet to me now, and that's a good thing because it's another reason to avoid them.

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Old 08-11-2010, 07:27 AM   #7
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I use Aspartame in my Total Greek yogurt and in oatmeal and the studies that I have read have found that it is generally safe in that quantity (4 packets a day). I can't stand the taste of Organic Zero (Organic Erythritol) the plant-derived sweetener that is sold at Whole Foods.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:30 AM   #8
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I eat them like crazy.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natasha1534 View Post
I use Splenda. All the aspertame products give me horrible headaches, so sucralose it is!!!
I'm here, but worse. All sugar substitutes give my full blown can't-get-out-of-bed migraines and I don't get migraines. I've heard others are the same.

Simply put...I don't trust them.
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:30 AM   #10
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To each their own when it comes to sweeteners. Some people are really against them. It's more of a health issue than a weigh issue though. Sweeteners are not going to hamper your weight loss unless they leave you craving sugar as they can for some people. I have always used Splenda and Stevia with no problems. These sweeteners have helped me lose weight by replacing the high calorie sugar in my drinks and recipes. Personally, I don't like sweet n low, despite my screen name LOL. I find aspartame based sweeteners taste bitter and have a bad reputation for side effects. I do drink Crystal Light though so I am getting aspartame even though I don't like it. basically, its what ever works for you
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:43 AM   #11
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I think they are probably really really bad for you. They're not real food at all, they're chemicals, that can't be good, you know?

At the same time, I am drinking Diet Coke right now. The more I read, the more I'm convinced that I'm going to have to give it up. It is harder to think about giving up Diet Coke than it was to think about quitting smoking. That right there should let me know how addictive it is, and if it's addictive that can't be good.

Do I let my child have artificial sweeteners? NO. I only have two really hardcore rules for my daughter that even grandparents don't get to break: no artificial sweeteners and no chicken nuggets.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shmead View Post
I eat them like crazy.
Me too.

I've used them for as long as I can remember as an alternative to real sugar wherever possible. I've never had any correlated illness or health issues from them that I can think of. And as far as I'm concerned processed sugar has just as many possible detrimental effects on health as substitutes.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:22 PM   #13
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I think any artificial sweetners are ok in moderation. If all you use is a packet of sweetnlow a day on your oatmeal, well, I say, go for it. If you wouldn't like or eat oatmeal without it, all the more so, have the sweetnlow.
Oatmeal is so good for you in other ways.
I use splenda personally, and I have some people doing fruit canning using stevia. (the fruit tastes sooo fresh!)
I don't like equal or aspertame as much, but will have it if my choice is that or sugar. FOr diet soda, I prefer schwepps gingerale, it uses splenda, so does diet crush. (at least it does in Canada)
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:28 PM   #14
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Also...sugar has 15 calories per tsp. I just use it in moderation, like all things good.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
I think they are probably really really bad for you. They're not real food at all, they're chemicals, that can't be good, you know?

Everything on the planet is made up of chemicals. Earth, air, water, plants, animals - it's all made up of chemicals. There are factory-made substances that that are safe and even healthy (like citric acid and penicillin) and there are natural chemicals that are unhealthy and unsafe (like rhubarb leaves and hemlock).

In some ways, even modern "natural foods" such as fruits are "processed foods" in the sense that modern fruits have been bred to be much sweeter - to have a much higher sugar content than counterparts that have evolved in the wild.

It doesn't mean that all processed foods are bad, or that all natural foods are good - it's more complicated than that. It certainly won't hurt you to avoid artificial sweeteners, but natural sweeteners aren't necessarily any better.

"Natural" sweeteners such as stevia do not need to be tested by the FDA, because supplements fall through the cracks. Only after there are problems, will "natural" supplements be regulated (such as in the case of ephedra).

There've been some studies that suggest that stevia may affect the reproductive tract (especially in males - reduced sperm count and reduced testicle size).

There haven't been a lot of studies, basically because there's no requirement or incentive to do them (no funding). Man made chemicals must pass rigorous testing. Natural substances do not. Man made chemicals are considered guilty until proven innocent, natural chemicals are considered innocent until proven (dramtically proven) guilty.



Stevia has been used for generations - but only in small quantities. There's no precedent for using it in the quantities that Americans tend to use sweeteners.

Caffeine is a "natural" component of coffee beans and tea leaves. The research findings on it's healthfulness are mixed. There are health risks associated with caffeine, and there are also health benefits.


Food science isn't terribly complicated, but it's a field of study that is undervalued in our society. Rarely does insurance cover nutritional therapy (except in limited circumstances such as diabetes. Ironic in the case of type II diabetes, because early education could prevent the disease in the first place). Not only does the average person get very little education in nutrition and food science, even medical doctors get little to no education on the subject.
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