You are diabetic or watching your weight. Problem: you like sugar and have a hard time doing without this sweetness in your desserts, your yogurts or your morning coffee. There are alternatives to sugar… here is a zoom on one of the solutions: sweeteners.
Sweeteners are substances used as food additives: they give a sweet taste to foods. There are two categories: intense sweeteners/high sweetening, and mass sweeteners or polyols.
Intense sweeteners, whether natural or synthetic, have no impact on blood sugar and do not provide any calories.
- ASPARTAME (NutraSweet, Equal / Equal, Canderel)
- ACESULFAME K (Sunett)
- CYCLAMATE (Sucaryl, Sweet’n Low, Sugar Twin)
- SACCHARIN (Hermesetas)
- SUCRALOSE (Splenda)
Mass sweeteners or polyols provide 2 times less calories than sugar, but still raise blood sugar slightly.
Examples: SORBITOL- XYLITOL – MANNITOL – ISOMALT – TAGATOSE
The sweeteners benefits
Sweeteners have the advantage of not causing a blood sugar peak, unlike sugar. This explains why these products are particularly useful in diabetes, where the regulation of blood sugar is disrupted by a deficiency or lack of insulin (= the hormone secreted by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar).
Another advantage of sweeteners: they are less caloric than sugar. It is for this reason that they are often recommended in therapeutic diets as in case of obesity, for example: by replacing the sugar with sweeteners, it is then possible to reduce the energy contributions, which is favorable to a weight loss.
The sweeteners disadvantages
Sweeteners will not help you stop loving sweet foods … We do not get rid of such addiction so simply! This is why, without a particular pathology and with a normal and balanced diet, the consumption of sweeteners must be occasional. Some days, sweeteners can help you limit excess sugar added.
Another negative: at the supermarket, many sweetened products, such as chocolate, cookies or yogurt, are referred to as « light » while they are often higher in fat than identical products but not lightened.
Know how to decrypt the labels!
« Sugar free » = does not contain saccharose but may contain other sugars. It is in these products that we generally find sweeteners.
« No added sugar » = no added saccharose, but it does not mean that the product is not sweet. For example, in an applesauce without added sugar, there is no added sugar, but there is the sugar of the apple, which makes it a sweet product.
« Reduced in sugar » = reduction of at least 30% sugar compared to a similar product
« Low sugar » = contains less than 5% sugar in the product
How to use sweeteners?
• Replace 10 g of powdered sugar with 1 g of sweetener, or ½ tablespoon
• Not all sweeteners are heat-resistant. When making pastries, check that your sweetener is resistant to cooking; this is usually indicated on the packaging.