With so many beverages and prepared foods containing added sugars, Americans are eating way more of the white stuff than they used to. According to the American Heart Association, eating too much is contributing to a plethora of health issues including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Women are urged to cut back and consume no more than 100 calories of added processed sugar each day, which is equal to six teaspoons (25 grams). Do you think you exceed this amount?
While researching light foods recently, I came upon an interesting ingredient I'd never heard of: erythritol. Sounds like some kind of chemically-derived alcohol that shouldn't be anywhere near wholesome and natual apple juice.
The nutrition label for this light juice reads "certified organic erythritol is a 100 percent natural low calorie organic sweetener derived from GMO free organic cane juice." Approved for use in foods in Japan in 1990, in the US it has been characterized as being Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) since 1997. I also found that it's classified as a sugar alcohol, and comes in granulated and powder forms, but it also occurs naturally in grapes, melons, mushrooms, and fermented foods such as wine, beer, cheese, and soy sauce. This sugar alcohol is about 70 percent as sweet as regular sugar, but has almost no calories. Another plus is that it doesn't cause digestive issues such as diarrhea like other sugar alcohols can, including sorbitol and xylitol. What's more? It doesn't contribute to tooth decay. Seems like this ingredient gets the green light, but I'll still stick to sugar and other all natural sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar and just watch my portions of sweets.
If you're a fan of sprinkling a packet of artificial sweetener in your coffee instead of sugar, you may be excited to hear that Splenda has a new product out that contains fiber. Each packet of Splenda (which has the sweetening power of two packets of sugar) offers one gram of fiber. Now I'm all for getting extra fiber whenever I can, since the recommended amount is between 25 and 30 grams a day, but I just don't feel right about this. That's because for one, I am no fan of artificial sweeteners, and two, I'd rather get my daily fiber by eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains, since these also contain valuable vitamins and nutrients.
I do applaud Splenda for trying to make a healthier version of their sweetener, because the packets with fiber are definitely a better option than plain old Splenda. So if artificial sweeteners are your thing, you might as well have your coffee and your fiber too.
Have you ever heard of the miracle berry? This exotic West African fruit, has the astonishing ability to make bitter and sour foods taste sweet. The berry contains an active molecule that binds to the tongue's taste buds causing certain foods — like limes or lemons — to seem sweet. Although the fruit is not a sweetener, it does have the ability to turn non sweet foods into sweet foods without any additives! In the 1970s, an American entrepreneur, realized the potential the miracle berry could have on the food industry and went to great lengths to mass produce the plant. However, his plan was suspiciously and abruptly ended. A recent article from BBC News states:
In 1974, the FDA changed its mind about the Miracle Berry product on the very eve of the product launch in drug stores across the whole of the Eastern seaboard. In the most brutal way, the FDA ordered all the products to be withdrawn at once.
Thus, the sweetening powers of the miracle berry were never fully realized. I find the story incredibly interesting and would love to get my hands on the berries. Have you ever tasted the miracle berry? What would today's world be like if junk food without the junk existed?
Zsweet Is Sweet Enough for Me
Many people out there are looking for a way to satisfy their sweet tooth without compromising the size of their waist. Zsweet ($15 / 1.5 pounds), a natural sweetener, may just be a solution for this dilemma. The "Z" stands for "zero" since it contains zero calories and has zero glycemic affect, making it a viable option for diabetics.
Office coffee is usually more of a necessity than a luxury. It's often bitter, burnt or bland and you suffer through each cup in order to make it through the day. Well the folks at Bada Beans feel your pain and have come up with a small new coffee confection to help you out. These cutely titled "beans" currently come in three different flavors (Vanilla Bean, Caramel Fudge and Hazelnut) and are meant to jazz up that bland cup of coffee. Created as an alternative to flavored syrups (which are not easily portable or storable), Bada Beans are tiny mint-sized beans that you put into coffee to enhance the flavor.
Since I don't usually enjoy my coffee black, I decided to see if these beans lived up to their potential and gave them all a try. To check out my full review, read more