How “sweet” is your sweetener?

All of these commercials circulating about the wonderful goodness of High Fructose Corn Syrup disturb me.

“When it comes to corn sugar or cane sugar, your body doesn’t know the difference. Sugar is sugar.” Really? Well that’s what the commercial says . . .

In fact, sugar is sugar, HFCS is NOT sugar (even the FDA won’t consider it natural) and evidence shows that your body DOES know the difference.

1) Unlike natural sugar found in fruits HFCS is not bound to fiber – only one reason it’s absorbed faster and leaves you craving more.

2) HFCS is more than twice as sweet as real sugar, and all of this excess sweetness is almost immediately absorbed by the body and stored as FAT.

3) While some claim that the nearly identical chemical makeup of Sucrose to HFCS makes their dietary difference negligible, however this doesn’t seem to be the case. Table sugar is 50/50 fructose to glucose and each fructose molecule is bound to a glucose molecule, meaning they have to undergo additional processing by the body before they are released into the bloodstream. HFCS is 55/42 fructose to glucose an imbalanced proportion with a left over 3% made up of saccharides. In this composition, the fructose is not bound to the glucose. Meaning the components are immediately absorbed into the blood causing a dangerous spike in blood-sugar levels. (This is often why diabetics have to avoid HFCS even more so than sugar.)

4) The commercials claim that the key is moderation, well where’s moderation when HFCS is everywhere?? Breads, ketchup, jelly, peanut butter, crackers . . . Look on the box or the bag, HFCS is even in things not traditionally thought of as sweetened – including the bread on that Subway sandwich, why? Because it’s also a widely used preservative, and it’s sometimes just used to create a thicker consistency in certain foods.

A study by Princeton University showed that, “Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.”

What about other artificial sweeteners?

Saccharin (aka Sweet-n-Low) is a sulfonamide, you know, that strange thing in all of the asthma commercial warnings that may cause an increase in chances of asthma-related death? It is also suspected to be a weak carcinogen.

Aspartame (aka that stuff in your diet soda) is one of the most controversial sweeteners mostly because it doesn’t get metabolized, it just builds up in you system over years of consumption. Leading to symptoms like mood swings, vomiting or nausea, headaches (ever get a migraine after drinking a diet soda?), memory loss, and cramps, among many others. It may also be linked with many cases of fibromyalgia, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. While these diseases may not be directly brought on by the chemical, many doctors are claiming that some people are being misdiagnosed who are actually suffering from “Aspartame disease.” Like HFCS, Aspartame also causes an increased feeling of hunger, which may lead to over eating.

Sucralose (aka Splenda) was actually created accidentally while trying to create a new insecticide, but currently the dangers associated with this sweetener are minor compared to others. The most dangerous aspect is the presence of chlorine, but due to the relatively new nature of this sweetener, few long-term studies have been conducted. It has been shown that Splenda may affect the absorption of certain medications. And the sweetener itself has 0 calories, 1 cup of Splenda contains 96 calories due to the dextrose and maltodextrin used to increase the bulk of the product.

Maybe mother nature got it right with sugar cane! There are pros and cons to every sweetener, even sugar, and they should all be consumed in moderation. The point here is that you have to be aware of what you’re eating, and realize that even if something isn’t intended to be sweet (most breads) it may contain artificial sweetener. Luckily, some manufacturers are starting to make HFCS free products.

Bimbo sliced bread is HFCS free, Heinz now makes HFCS free Ketchup, and Smuckers makes HFCS free jelly. Read the label and do your own research, know what you’re putting in your body!


About Fel Wetzig

Felicia Wetzig writes to appease the “peasants” in her head. A student of history and library science, she enjoys finding new ways to look at folklore. You can find her and the peasants at Scotzig’s Blog, and on twitter with @Scotzig .

5 comments on “How “sweet” is your sweetener?

  1. Mistakes.. No offense, just want to point out aspartame was created as an ant poision, it is also classified as a neutotoxin *meaning likes to play badly with the functions of the brain. Aspartame does make you over eat *its also a flavour inhancer, its the sugary version M.S.G. I know because I have problems with both Aspartame and MSG, and depending on what is in with the aspartame can result in the body forming or unleashing formaldehyde. I have long researched these artificial sweetners, preservatives, and flavour inhancers.

    • I take no offense, but I’m not sure what mistakes you are referring to. Your comments don’t contradict what I have said. I was only doing an overview and concentrating mostly on HFCS, so I welcome additional information. You may be refering to the sweetener Stevia, which I did not cover, because I don’t believe enough extensive research has been done on it. There is, however, research that suggests that people can have bad reactions to it especially if they already take certain medications. (And I believe you mean ‘Enhancers’)

  2. There is yet another sweetener, I dont think is see it here. It comes from a natural plant, it isnt even a sweetener, it’s not a sugar. but the taste says it’s sugar. It is the most natural one that doesnt cause blood sugar to go up. Can’t think of name, it isnt a carcincigen, it isnt a neurotoxin, it isnt bleached, it isnt burnt. If you want it as a sweetener and a reciepe asks for 1 cup of sugar you put in one teaspoon-> 1 tablespoon of this and it works as a very sweet alternative :-). What alot of people think about these dieter sweeteners (ex. aspartame) is that it doesnt give off a blood sugar spike. The scientist and doctors all seem to not come out and tell the truth with that. If you poke far enough and long enough you will find that scientist already know it DOES cause blood sugar issues and also obesity!!

  3. I havent heard any bad or adverse reactions to Stevia, which in fact is the one I was trying to remember the name of. Anyhow I added and I didnt know if you would take offense. I have spent many years researching and also noticing the trend of taking counterversal information of the online internet bases. Making it utterly hard to get to these offensive information about things like sweetener and things like MSG which my reactions and reactions of alot I have met over the years seems like MSG is more powerful of the two. Which would make sense after knowing what these things were meant to kill. Used to have obsession with aspartame lollipops sucking on them hours on end while I was at school. And drinking diet pops. Then there was the msg in alot of the popular brands of cheesies and that beloved type/brand of chip. Yes I agree these things tend to make you more hungry or make you over eat I highly believe they were created in the benefits of the food companies, not the dieters nor the diabetics.

  4. Stevia belongs to the same family of plants as ragweed, a common allergen so people who are allergic to ragweed should use caution when consuming Stevia (I am allergic so I stay away from it). There is also some evidence that some of the chemicals in Stevia can actually lower blood sugar which can make it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar effectively. Currently it is not reccomended that anyone taking Lithium, Diabetes medications or Blood pressure medications consume anything that contains Stevia. But as I said not a lot of conclusive evidence has been done on this one.

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