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Food Sweeteners

Food sweeteners

Controversial Corn Syrup

Corn Syrup:  Produced from a mixture of refined sugars, water and partially digested starches. Corn syrup is artificially flavored and used for pancake syrups. Used in place of sugar in candy making and ice creams. Honey would be a better substitute.

Honey

  • The best honey will be labeled 100 percent pure unfiltered, raw or uncooked. This pure type of honey will not be nutrient depleted by the heat of processing.
  • To use honey as a spread, look for the labeling that says creamed, spun or granulated.
  • Honey has many different flavors, depending where the bee obtained the nectar.
  • Blended honey is the least expensive and lacks a unique flavor.
  • Honey is one of the only foods in which bacteria will not grow.
  • Honey should be stored at room temperature and has a very long shelf life.

Maple Syrup

Read the label on maple syrups well!

Make sure it does not say maple flavored, maple blended or uses the word imitation. The real thing is rare and does contain an excellent blend of natural nutrients, especially iron and calcium.

A Byte of Maple Syrup History: Mohawk Indians and other Northeastern tribes used maple bark to prepare a blood purifier, eye medicine, and cough medicine, in addition to boiling it as a sweetener. (See also: Fab Food: Maple Syrup)

Molasses.  Made from sugar cane which goes through a complex processing which removes all of the nutrients resulting in a white sugar. The residue that remains after the processing is the actual blackstrap molasses product. Unsulphured molasses is actually produced to make molasses and not the results of the processing to make sugar.

Raw Sugar (turbinado):  Refined sugar, almost exactly like refined white sugar, except with the addition of molasses for color.

There is no real advantage over normal refined sugar other than personal preference or perhaps to enhance a baked good. If a recipe specifically calls for raw sugar, it is best to use it.

The technical definition of turbinado sugar is "Washed raw sugar, with a thin film of molasses." (Benders Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology)

Artificial Sweeteners

Sugar and Sugar Substitutes Acesulfame K:  A non-nutritive sweetener also called Sunette or Sweet One. It sweetens and does not breakdown in the body, but passes through and is excreted. Can also be used for high temperature cooking and baking unlike Nutrasweet. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Used in chewing gums, dry beverage mixes, candies, puddings and custards. Received FDA approval in 1988. Has about the same sweetening power as Aspratame. Presently, approved in 20 countries.

Alltame:  A super sweetener produced from two amino acids and is 2,000 times sweeter than sugar. It is metabolized by the body normally, with almost no calories. A good all around sweetener that may be used in almost any recipe and baked goods.

Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet):  Two approved food additives, glutamate and aspartate (the two ingredients in Equal) have been cleared of any health hazards. When aspartame is heated, a percentage may turn into methyl alcohol. It is best if not used in baked goods and any drink that uses boiling water.

Cyclamates:  The FDA has now decided to reverse its original decision that cyclamates are carcinogenic. It may very well be back on the market and commercially used in baking goods. It would be best to read labels well and limit artificial sweetener intake.

L-Sugars:  Contain no calories or after taste and may be used to replace a number of present day sweeteners. Can be substituted cup for cup for refined sugar in recipes.

Saccharin:  Has been used as a sweetener since 1879 and is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Used in mouthwashes and lipsticks. The FDA has proposed additional testing and recommended limiting intake. Products containing saccharin have a warning label stating that saccharin may be hazardous to your health.

Sucralose:  Produced from common table sugar but is 600 times sweeter and has no calories. A very stable product in foods and carbonated beverages. Originally approved for use in Canada under the name we are all now familiar with: Splenda. No health risks have been associated with it as yet.

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