Chew on This: Not Your Everyday Sweetener

Sunday, Apr 30,2017

Raise your hand if you have a sweet tooth? Oh c’mon, I know you do. My hand definitely shoots right up. I love sugar in its fullest, from cereals to candy and chewing gum, I pass my daily dosage of sugar early in the morning. Why is it we love sugar so much? Our taste buds are so accustomed to the sweet tastes that we drop on them all the time that regular food is downright boring to the palate. We owe much of this to our excessive sugar intake, but we can do something to curb and, maybe even, replace the extra intake of sugar. There are plenty of sugar substitutes that can help bring us a healthier and more balanced diet. 

Sweeteners can be used to “liven” up our food and give us the sugar fix we’re looking for without actually having sugar. In the past, artificial sweeteners have been the main source to use as sugar substitutes but many have not been able to mimic the taste of sugar. These artificial sweeteners cannot be used for baking and do not have the same feel or texture as sugar. For that and many other reasons, we quickly give into our sugar cravings and go back to the real thing. The most commonly used sweeteners are saccharin and aspartame. These have been “sufficient” for many people, but we continue to seek for better alternatives that taste just like our sugar friend. 

Xylitol is a naturally occurring substitute that many people do not know about. It looks and tastes just like sugar but doesn’t carry the unhealthy side effects such as tooth decay and cavities that come from excessive amounts of sugar. It’s healthier for us and is an easier way for us to cut back on calories and will help satiate the sugar cravings we all get. Xylitol can be used to bake all your favorite foods and is in crystalline form just how we are used to sugar. 

Sugar is a huge part of many of our lives, but causes problems when eaten too much. Diabetes in kids is a growing problem and is partly due to eating too many sugary foods and a lack of exercise. Weight gain among children and adults can be attributed to sugary and fatty foods. Sugar poses a problem for all, but if consumed in proper doses, then it is not bad for us at all. 

Other than Xylitol, there are many other natural sweeteners we can turn to that will give us the sugar we need. Honey, fruit juices, maple syrup, and fructose are other alternatives that many use to substitute for regular sugar. Natural sweeteners are a healthy alternative to regular sugar. Remember that consumption is the key. Any food, including sugar, consumed in moderate amounts is not harmful. 

So it’s up to each person to take care of their body and watch the amounts of sugar eaten. Sugar is in most foods and that’s why we like to eat so much.  We can be responsible in the amount of sugar that we consume and have artificial or natural sweeteners if desired.

 

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