Tip #4: Skip the Non-caloric Sweeteners!

So far, we’ve decided to cut sugar out of beverages, but we tend to replace it by using non-caloric sweeteners. There are many types and the most common are:

1. Aspartame

It is a compound of two amino acids with a chemical modification in one end.

Brands: Equal, NutraSweet and Canderel – Blue packets

2. Saccharin

Saccharin is unstable when heated, so it can’t be used in cooking or baking.

Brands: Sweet’N Low – Pink packets

3. Sucralose

It is manufactured by replacing specific parts of the sucrose molecule (table sugar) with chlorine atoms. Most of it is not broken down when ingested and it is stable under heat (so it is used on baking and cooking products).

Brands:  Splenda – Yellow packets

4. Stevia

It is a natural sweetener extracted from the Stevia plant. (We should remember that it is not because something is natural, that it is necessarily good for our health.)

Brands: Truvia, PureVia, Stevia in the Raw

5. Acesulfame Potassium

It is mostly used by the food industry than used directly by the consumer. It’s present in a lot of artificially sweetened foods and drinks because the blend with other sweeteners results in a similar taste of sugar by masking the off-tastes.

Brands: Sunett, Sweet One

These non-caloric sweeteners are still controversial regarding their safety and toxicity to our health and the environment (here is an interesting article from the NYT’s Well Blog).

We still don’t know what are their long-term consequences and more has to be studied and analyzed to assure us about their safety.

So, it’s better to be safe than sorry by using less (or none) of them. Instead of substituting regular sodas for diet sodas, choose Water! Water is still the best option!