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Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Posted by Laura Binder-Hines
Laura Binder-Hines
Laura Binder-Hines, MS, RD is a member of Whitsons' nutrition department as a Registered Dietitian. Laura, al...
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on Monday, 17 October 2016 in School Nutrition Blog

SugarandSugarSubstitutesThe new updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/) urges the US population to cut back on added sugar intake.  Americans between the ages of 4-18 years old consume up to 17% of their daily calories from added sugar, compared to the recommendation that a maximum of 10% of daily calories come from added sugar.  The majority of added sugars in the American diet are found in beverages­­, snacks, desserts, jams, syrups, and other sweet toppings.

 

The food industry has tried to reduce the amount of added sugars in their products by replacing regular sugar, AKA sucrose/table sugar, with non-nutritive AKA non-caloric sweeteners.  Some examples of artificial non-nutritive sweeteners are sucralose (Splenda®), aspartame (Equal®), acesulfame potassium (Sweet One® or Sunett®) and saccharin (Sweet N Low®).  Stevia is also a non-nutritive sweetener, but is classified as a naturally-derived product.  Stevia can be found in Truevia® and Pure Via®.  These products all taste much sweeter than regular table sugar, but they do not contribute calories.  Sugar alcohols are also sometimes used to replace sugar, and they can be identified on a food label as any product with “–ol” at the end of it (i.e maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol).  Sugar alcohols contribute less calories than regular sugar.

 

There has been much discussion about whether non-nutritive sweeteners are safe and healthy alternatives to table sugar.  The FDA classifies all of the products previously mentioned as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS), which is a classification that can be earned if a food product has been extensively studied, or if it has been consumed by the general population for a long enough period of time without a clear connection to adverse health effects.  However, these products continue to be examined and debated about among health professionals about their appropriate use in the diet.

 

So, what is the best option for you and your family?  To achieve the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it is best to reduce or eliminate the amount of sweetened beverages and dessert-type foods that you consume on a daily basis, regardless of how they are sweetened, and replace those beverages and foods with plain or lightly flavored water, fruits, and vegetables.  You can find meal planning advice to reduce added sugars through the USDA’s MyPlate resource (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/added-sugars), as well as find a wealth of other meal planning information for overall health.

 

Whitsons Culinary Group’s Nutrition Services’ team of registered dietitians are available year-round to provide on-site nutrition education services for organizations and the community.  Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn about our offerings to help further enhance life one meal at a time.

 

Sources:

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#other-components

http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/sugar-alcohols.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author and should not be construed as the opinions of Whitsons Culinary Group or any of its affiliates.  All content and material contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only, and no representation is made as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.  It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual.  It is not medical advice and should not be treated as such.  You should not rely on the information in this blog as a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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Laura Binder-Hines, MS, RD is a member of Whitsons' nutrition department as a Registered Dietitian. Laura, along with Courtney Yablonsky and Katherine Barfuss, assist our team members in the field pass their state administrative reviews by offering support with menu development and recipe creation. Laura is also a certified yoga instructor and essential oils enthusiast, and loves to contribute to Whitsons’ social media outlets to discuss nutrition and stress management-related topics.

Comments

Guest
sugar substitutes Monday, 31 October 2016

Nice blog with great explanation. And it is very clear and useful too. And I really enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing your great thoughts with us.

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Guest
Guest Thursday, 30 March 2017