Archives for the day Sunday, August 21st, 2011

People food for thought Part XVIII; Artificial sweeteners

 In the previous entry titled “People food for thought Part II: Hidden sugar in food“,I wrote about hidden sugar in food and how to identify the hidden sugar in the food.

 There,I wrote that according to Julie Deardorff article on hidden sugar at Chicago tribune website, American Heart
Association now have new guideline for sugar intake.

 For women, 25 grams
of added sugar is boarder line sugar amount, and for men, it is 37.5
grams of added sugar is border line for guideline.

 When you think about it, sugars are added to many products, and you will find that so called “healthy” snack such as granola, apple sauce,honey roasted Turkey breast, fruit flavored yogurt etc are actually sugary stuff and not so healthy as you might think as we wrote in the previous entry titled “People food for thought“.

 Considering 12 oz can of coca cola has already 36 grams of sugar in there, it is already pretty close to the daily guideline for sugar intake for men, and already more than guideline sugar intake for women. If you have meals that had added sugar in it,then, you will be consuming much more than guideline sugar intake amount in a day.

 In fact, according to the article written by Mara Betsch at website, Americans consume 165 pounds of added sugar each year.

 That is a lot of sugar to consume..
 Naturally, if you look into reduce the sugar intake or calories from daily meals/snacks, you may look into switching the table white sugar to artificial sweetener or pick the food labeled “Sugar free”,”Diet”.

 Is Artificial sweetener good for your health?

 According to mayo clinic website article, artificial sweeteners are found in the variety of food and drinks that marketed as “sugar free”,”diet” such as sodas,chewing gums,jellies,candy,baked goods,fruit juice,and ice creams.

 By definition, sugar substitute can be anything that adds sweet taste to the foods such as honey, but some of the artificial sweetener can sweeten up the products without adding any calories to the products, and many food companies are attracted to the use of artificial sweeteners in their processed food.

 To read the full article at mayo clinic website,please click here.

 What exactly are artificial sweeteners?

 Artificial sweetener is synthetic sugar substitute,but they can be delivered from naturally occurring substances  such as sugar or herbs. These artificial sweeteners are known for the intense sweetness because they are much sweeter than regular white table sugar.

 According to the article written by Jocelyn Selim at discovery magazine, in 2004, food industries introduced 2,225 reduced sugar or sugar free products.Of which, many were made with artificial sweetener sucralose.

 If you have dogs, you would know that they will give you that sad eye look when you munch on food, and sometimes you would give in with the look and give nibbles.

 However,please be aware that some of the “Sugar free products” such as Sugar free baked goods etc contains “Xylitol”,which is toxic to dogs, and it is NOT good stuff to share with your dogs.

 You can read more about “Xylitol” in the previous entry titled “Xyilitol” here.

** Sucralose

 In case of artificial sweetener “sucralose”, they are made via complex chemical processing involving chlorine and phosgene gas.

 She has the chart on her article to tell you how sweet the artificial sweetener is, but if table sugar was level one sweetness, sucralose is at 600 level,which means, the artificial sweetener sucralose is 600 times more sweeter than natural table sugar.

 These artificial sweetener “sucralose” and “sacchiarin (which was in the list of anticipated human carcinogen in 1981)” are not absorbed by the body and, it is not completely calorie free because additives “maltodextrin” ,which makes bulk the sweeteners up, or “dextrose” which dilute the sweetness to imitate the real sugar taste or both are in the artificial sweetener and contains about quarter of sugar calories.

 To read the full article by Jocelyn Selim at discovery magazine website,please click here.

 For food industries to be able to put the claim “zero calorie” on the box of products, FDA permits the manufacturers to use the “zero calorie” claim on the box if products were containing less than 5 calories per serving.

 Another kind of artificial sweetener is the use of acesulfame K, according to website.

** Acesulfame

 Acesulfame K is 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar, and it has no calories in them because body cannot metabolize them.

** Aspartame

 Asparyame is 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar like Acesulfame. Difference between aspartame and acesulfame is that body can break aspartame down, and aspartame provides 4 calories per grams. Since aspartame is not heat stable, use of this artificial sweetener is limited.

 For products made with aspartame, manufacturer must put the warning for those who are phenylketonuria that read “product contains phenylalanine” because people with phenylketonuria cannot metabolize it,and must limit all foods that contains phenylalanine.

** Neotame

 Neotame is made with aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and it is 8,000 times sweeter than regular table sugar. Just like aspartame, body can metabolize neotame and, has calories in them.

** Sacchiarin

 Sachiarin is 200-700 times sweeter than regular table sugar. With sachiarin as artificial sweetener, ingredients would list “dextrose;which dilute the sweetness to imitate the real sugar taste“,”sodium sacchiarin”, and “calcium silicate;which prevents them from caking”.

 To read on artificial sweetener at, please click here.

Real sugar vs artificial sweeteners..

 If you are just looking calories,and nothing else, switching regular can of coca cola to diet coca cola can slash a lot of calories due to artificial sweeteners in them, but knowing that some artificial sweeteners were made at lab with some added food additives,or gas etc.., for me, personally, artificial sweeteners/products made with artificial sweeteners are not something I would put it into in our shopping cart.

 Plus, I am a big fan of fresh food,not processed food. So, I prefer the real thing.

 When you look around, you will be surprised to know that there are so many substitute food products such as butter substitute made with “vegetable oil blend” instead of real thing;sweet cream and salt.

Recently, I came across the article about interesting study; artificial sweetener and body by Purdue University professors.

 According to the study, professor Terry Davidson,and associate professor Susan Swithers has found that artificial sweeteners may disrupt the body’s natural ability to count the calorie based on food’s sweetness.

 The study suggest that being able to automatically match the caloric intake with caloric need depends on the body’s ability to learn that the taste and feel of food by the mouth suggests the appropriate caloric intake.

 Interesting thing in their article is that body will learn,without thinking about it,it can use the food characteristics such as sweetness,viscosity to gauge the caloric intake.

 They have done study using two groups of rats;one was served natural high calorie sugar so there will be consistent relationship between sweetness and calories ,and the other group was served liquid sweetened up with non caloric sacchiarin so the sweetness and calorie were inconsistent.

 After 10 days of exposure to those sweetened liquid,they were served sweet, high calorie small chocolate flavored snacks. Then, as a result, the group that was exposed to artificial sweetener liquid ate a lot more than the other group.

 They suggested that with this rat study, experience with inconsistent relationship of sweet taste and calorie reduced the natural ability of rats to use the sweet taste to judge the caloric content of the snack.

 The professors also studied with rats for viscosity (difference in the liquid thickness) by providing one group of rats regular meal with chocolate pudding like consistency of dietary supplement, the other group with regular meal with chocolate milk like consistency of dietary supplement.

 The rat group that were served chocolate milk consistency of dietary supplement gained weight.

 The study suggests that rat could not use the viscosity to gauge the caloric intake properly with liquid than semi solid foods.

 To read the full article at sciencedaily website,please click here.

 It is also good idea to reach for real fruits when you have sugar craving. They are not processed,and fresh, and gives you more nutrient than highly processed sugary snacks.

 In the past, I have seen a segment in talk show that asked one viewer to try out sugar free diet; not the diet made with artificial sweetener, but take all the sugar out from the regular diet.

 The lady viewer could do sugar free days for 3-4 days, but she could not do sugar free diet for long term.

 I think that we all love sweet things; donuts,ice creams, candies.. but everything should be moderation. It does not have to be extreme;taking all the sugar from the diet etc.. I think that it is okay for us to eat the food made with real sugar now and then.

 I find there are so many diet styles in the states and one particular style says “you cannot eat xxx”  or the other style says “you should eat xxx for xxx days and eat yyy for yyy days..” and in the past, there was a segment for one high school student who wanted to loose the weight by prom night and one talk show helped her by providing staff that made diet menu plan for her.

 I saw a lot of struggles in her because diet was restricted, and she had certain things she could not eat to follow the plan.

 The first lady “Michelle Obama” encourages people to eat fresh food,not processed food and, in the past, radio DJ statement made was on news show that said she is promoting the healthy food but she had BBQ ribs..

 I too encourage people to eat healthy and, cook with fresh ingredients, and I try to provide healthy meal for our family. I eat/make pizza, I eat/make ribs, I eat/make burgers.. but I do not eat them day in day out. I eat those with moderation and, diet should be that way.

 I think variety of foods,eating food with moderation, and strong will so you would not indulge in the meals that are not so healthy day in day out are important.

 And of course, exercise and limit sugary food out from the pantry would help too.

 Going to the restaurants, or flipping through the food magazines, flipping through food TV channel, I also feel that there are not as many variety of vegetable on the plate as I see back home in Japan.

I found that not many restaurant here in the states serve cut-up fruits as desert and always baked goods, or other type of sugary desert.

 Maybe it is time for America to start thinking about food concept on the plate.

 What are your thoughts on real sugar vs artificial sweeteners?

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Aug 21, 2011 | 0 | Uncategorized