We have strong emotional connections to sweets to the point where they are the most common pet names for our beloved. The fact is that we’re programmed from youth not only to use “sweet” language but also to consume a lot of it – on average 40 teaspoons daily, about 4x times more that the FDA’s recommends. Refined or unrefined the intake is too much. Thank you hidden sugars in soft drinks, candy, cereals, and baked goods with dressed up names for sugar like cane sugar, fruit sugar, fruit juice sweetened, fruit concentrate, caramel, carob syrup, glucose, maltose, maltodextrin, dextrose, sorbitol, natural cane sugar etc. Indeed the FDA has no particular definition of “natural” which means anyone may add it before the word sugar in an attempt to make it sound healthier. The problem is over time our body loses the ability to make enough sugar-digesting enzymes to meet the excess and sugar sensitivity develops which can result in daily headaches, aggression, insomnia, panic attacks, irritability, depression, mood swings, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay, obesity, diabetes and so on.
(Maurizio Cattalan's pieces of art in the Guggenheim museum expresses what the sugar industrie does with us pretty good - without using any words)
No Problem “suga”
Some people might say no problem let’s switch to a sugar substitute so we can have our sweets without the high caloric count. The following sugar substitutes are synthetic, which are “designed” in a laboratory:
(sugar always plentiful on the table)
- Aspartame (Equal in blue packets) which is about 180 times as sweet as sugar. It has a bitter aftertaste and loses is sweetness in cooked or baked goods.
- Neotame similar to apsartame, it’s “8000” times sweeter than sugar and only tiny amounts are needed for sweetening
- Sucralose (Splenda in yellow packets, SucraPlus) is about 600 times as sweet as sugar. It probably has the closest taste to conventional sugar and is heat stable. The texture in baked items is different though.
- Saccahrine (Sweet’n Low in pink packets) is somewhat heat stable but only in combination with conventional sugar.
A few more sugary names for you Sweetie Pie
- sucrose comes from beets or sugar cane
- sugar from sweet fruits and honey is called glucose
- cane sugar and grape sugar is called dextrose
- fruit sugar is called fructose
- milk sugar is called lactose
- malt sugar is called maltose
All chemical sugar substitute cocktails allow a consumer to cut calories while enjoying treats that may be not acceptable due to diet restrictions. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals, not food! They have no calories because they don’t nourish the body. They’re toxins your body has to get rid of. Research and experience with these types of sweeteners is limited and not sufficient. In a way we’re the laboratory rats – time will tell.
(stevia has it's place in my pantry at home)
The Future might be brighter
Stevia or sugar leaf is a plant sugar substitute available either fresh, dried or in liquid form. This one is actually from nature no strings attached totally “au natural” and it’s about 250 times sweeter than sugar but also has a licorice-like aftertaste. Sufficient research has not been done yet - or there might be a conspiracy going on from the artificial sweetener industry. Stevia has been popular in Japan since the 1970s and is widely used as an alternative to artificial sweeteners. It may be useful as a natural sweetener for diabetics.
(a bitter green salad with pears and pomegranate vinaigrette needed a few drops of stevia to balance the natural bitterness)