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Sweeteners 101

What are artificial sweeteners and what are some examples?

Artificial sweeteners can be used to substitute regular table sugar.  Sweeteners such as aspartame (NutraSweet) and saccharin (Sweet n Low) are concentrated in sweetness.  One packet of these sweeteners is equivalent to the sweetness of 2 t. of table sugar.  Splenda is a sweetener fairly new on the market.  This sweetener can be measured in equal proportions to sugar - cup for cup.  These sweeteners do not contain calories.

How do I use these sweeteners?

Recipes for sweeteners are available from the manufacturers.  Many manufacturers provide contact information including phone number and website on packaging.  Use this information to access recipes for these products.

What about sugar alcohols?

Sugar alcohols (e.g. xylitol or sorbitol) contain calories and have effects on blood sugar.  Consume these sweeteners in moderation because large quantities may have a laxative effect.

Can I find sugar substitutes in pre-packaged foods?

Sweeteners are not only found in little packets but often exist in packaged food.  Diet soda, yogurts, pudding and gelatin mixes, candies, and drink mixes contain sweeteners.

Different sweeteners work favorably under certain conditions.  For example, some sweeteners might not bake well but are great in cold desserts.  Check with your diabetes educator or dietitian for recipe suggestions and to learn more about these sweeteners.

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