Using sugar alternatives to cut calories

Are you diabetic and concerned about managing your blood glucose levels? Or, are you someone who wants to manage their weight? Sugar alternatives can be helpful in limiting your sugar intake and lowering your calorie count.

For many concerned about their weight or for people who are diabetic, sugar becomes a main concern in the daily diet. But what are the alternatives to sugar and are they safe?

Intense sweeteners can provide a sweet taste with very few calories. Intense sweeteners are also known as artificial sweeteners. The common names of artificial sweeteners approved by the Federal Drug Administration include acesulfame potassium, aspartame, neotame,saccharin, sucralose and tagalose. Extensive research has been completed on the safety of these sugar alternatives and all have been approved for consumption.

Intense sweeteners do not contribute to energy as they are non-nutritive and do not provide the body with calories according to the American Dietetic Association. These types of sweeteners are a good alternative to cutting sugar in one’s diet for people with diabetes or anyone on a weight management plan. They can be added to foods like yogurt and cereals without changing the nutrients of the food.

Since most artificial sweeteners are about 200 times the sweet flavor of sugar, very little amounts need to be added to any food. One should check the food label on the sweetener before using it for sugar equivalents. Some artificial sweeteners add bulk to the product and may measure differently than other artificial sweeteners.

If you want to bake with artificial sweeteners, be sure to check label directions. Sugar has other purposes in baking besides providing sweetness. Some artificial sweeteners may not withstand the high temperatures of baking or canning foods. Be sure to read label directions for the products use and limitations. You can also check the manufacturers’ websites for tips and recipes for using their product in your cooking or baking.

If you are diabetic or just concerned about your weight and cutting calories, using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar in your diet can be an effective way to cut calories and manage your blood glucose levels.

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