Happy National Sugar Awareness Week!

Here are a few types of sugar in descending order of “bad for you” so you can assess how much or how often you might choose to use each of them, whether in prepared foods (check the labels) or in your own cooking. Choosing alternatives to regular sugar may help you lose weight, control diabetes and other maladies, and feel healthier. Look for these different sweeteners in beverages, baked goods, gum, candy, frozen items, yogurt, cereal, jams and sauces, even in seasoned meats.

High fructose corn syrup is the big meanie. It’s a cheap sweetener that seems to be in almost everything that’s processed. Avoid it, and the inevitable blood sugar spike, whenever possible.

Sucrose is table sugar. The most you should consume in a day is 25 grams; about 6 teaspoons. It, too, will spike your blood sugar and can contribute to negative health consequences.

Agave nectar, made from cactus, is sweeter than sugar and often touted as a healthy alternative, but since it is 85 percent fructose it will still cause a spike in blood sugar levels.

Artificial sweeteners like aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet &Low) and sucralose (Splenda) have shown up in tests as causing one problem or another, but no study has been conclusive enough, so use sparingly. Sucralose is the only one not sensitive to heat, so it can be used in baking.

In the next tier, we have the sugar alcohols. All have less carbs than regular sugar.

Sorbitol and manitol have been around for years, and are often found in “sugar-free” products like candies, cookies and gum.

Erythritol, found in many fruits, is less sweet.

Xylitol has 40 percent fewer calories than sugar and zero fructose. It can improve dental health and is found in “healthier” brands of toothpastes and gums. However, it’s toxic to dogs, so caution is urged if you have four-legged friends in the household.

All sugar alcohols can cause bloating, gas or diarrhea, so use sparingly until you know how they affect you.

Honey comes from our friends the bees and offers antioxidants and less of a blood sugar spike. But it’s high in calories, so not always a good choice for those trying to lose or maintain their weight.

Molasses, made from sugar cane and sugar beets, has iron and potassium, but is also high in sugar and should be used sparingly.

Barley malt extract gives a little protein, but is similar to molasses.

Coconut sugar, from the sap of the coconut tree, has only 6 percent of the calories in sugar, as well as some potassium, but is also high in fructose.

Real maple syrup, made from the sap of maple trees, has antioxidants and minerals and is preferable to the others in this group, in moderation.

When baking with honey or agave, it is often recommended to reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees, as the fructose content in these sugars will speed up browning.

And the winner is … Stevia, also called RebA, extracted from the stevia plant/rebiana. Currently, it seems to be the sweetener of choice, with no major negative effects.

Content provided by News Article in West Hawaii Today. For more information, please review the article! Wonderful information sited and provided regarding this topic. Xlylitol is approved through the American Dental Association as a great option in SugerFree Gum and lozenges to prevent Dental Caries. 

~Piney Creek Family Dentistry Team