The Truth About Alternative Sweeteners

Published 08/01 2014 10:54AM

Updated 08/04 2014 09:30AM

Ali Spencer, the Outpatient Dietician at the LDS hospital, came into GTU today to reveal the truth behind alternative sweeteners. Everyone eats it—and most Americans are getting more than double the recommended amount daily! The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 25 grams of sugar or 6 tsp for women and 38 grams of sugar or 9 tsp for men.

Too much added sugar can lead to obesity, a precursor to many chronic diseases, and can cause cavities. Additionally, foods higher in added sugars, tend to be lower in other nutrients.

Much of our added sugar comes in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup or cane/beet sugar (sucrose). But what are the best alternatives? From monk fruit to molasses, sweeteners take many forms—and so do the health claims. All the ‘hype’ for these sweeteners is unfounded – in some cases, it may be based on a small kernel of truth, but blown way out of proportion. However, for most of them, they are purely anecdotal ‘evidence.’

Ali told us about sugar substitutes like Stevia, monk fruit extract, honey, agave, black strap molasses provide slight health benefits that sugar and high fructose corn syrup cannot.

Bottom Line: Added sugar is added sugar. No matter what sweetener you choose, choose the amount you use wisely. Although some of the sweeteners we talked about today are essentially calorie free, they still should be taken in moderation. Keep in mind the recommendation is an upper limit- getting less than the recommendation is even better!

For more health tips and to learn more about the LDS hospital, visit their website

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