Food and Cuisine

Published on May 7th, 2012 | by Vivian Nelson Melle

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Sucralose: What is It and Alternatives for This Chlorinated Sugar

Think sucralose is a good sugar alternative? It depends on your definition of healthy. Green Living Ideas often focuses on healthy living including eating whole food diets. The more an ingredient transforms, especially in a lab, the less likely it is included in healthy food listings. Splenda is the marketed name for sucralose and it is basically chlorinated sugar. While even doctors promote it as a healthy sugar substitute due to its lack of calories, there’s a few things you should know about sucralose.

Here are a few reasons you might want to re-think products with sucralose and some alternatives.

 

Splenda

Splenda, the most well known from of sucralose

Is Sucralose Natural?

As with most money-making products, corporations have all the correct patents in place and legal authority to claim their item is safe. However, many of our readers following the results of big businesses like Monsanto know that money buys much, including government agencies.  So if you question the validity of the Food and Drug Administration(FDA), read on. Sucralose is a product showing up in many products, not just diet aids. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar so it takes less to sweeten an item making it inexpensive. It has a green light as a safe product and will continue to grow in use.

The most basic idea to focus concern is sucralose is sugar modified at a molecular level. One of the easiest ways to consider if a food is natural is if it can be recreated in your kitchen. For example, bread is not found in nature. There are no sourdough loaves growing on trees although that would be quite wonderful. You can take the necessary ingredients and make bread at home though. Can you make sucralose? Perhaps, if you are a scientist capable of adding the right amount of chlorine, changing the molecular structure of sugar.

{Splenda photo via Bukowsky18  on Flickr}

Is Sucralose Harmful?

This depends on who you trust. The FDA used studies on rats to decide minimal safety of sucralose but refused studies on rats which reported harmful effects on the body. Rats metabolize sucralose much like humans. These later studies by independent entities found sucralose decreases beneficial intestinal bacteria. Since it starts out as sugar it has similar draw backs. So, much like the corn industry claiming corn syrup is as safe as sugar, sucralose being hailed as safe as sugar isn’t truly a compliment. It’s a red flag.

bananas

Bananas makes for a great sweetener

Are There Sucralose Substitutes?

Yes, just as sugar has alternatives, so does sucralose.First, try decide if you need a sweetener. If you are eating fruit than you are getting sugar. Try your coffee and tea without sugar. It’s amazing how many more hints and bouquets of flavor you’ll notice. It’s also important to enjoy foods in moderation, this includes any sweeteners.  If you feel you really need the sweet factor than here’s a few simple alternatives.

Banana – One of the best sweeteners especially in baking since it adds rich flavor and sweetness. Use a banana and you’ll need less or maybe no other sweeteners.  It also adds more nutrients and is great for your skin.

Stevia– This herb is sweeter than sugar and has taken the lead against artificial sweeteners in Japan. It’s becoming more readily available in most grocery stores.

HoneyHoney has its own benefits and does well as a sweetener. It’s sweeter than sugar so you’ll need less. Try to buy from a local beekeeper.

Agave Nectar – Similar in sweetness to honey but a tad lighter. The sweetener mixes well in both hot and cold beverages.

Maple Syrup – Check your pancake syrup and it’s doubtful you’ll find maple syrup in the ingredients. Look for pure maple syrup when purchasing.

Blackstrap Molasses – This is my personal favorite. This bittersweet product gives gingerbread its characteristic flavor. It’s also a good source for iron, potassium and magnesium.

{banana photo via Fernando Stankuns on Flickr}

{Source: Women to Women}

What sweeteners do you prefer? What other sweeteners do you use?





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About the Author

Vivian Nelson Melle is a writer and life coach helping individuals, families, and businesses thrive. She supports small businesses especially in the areas of Green Living, Health, and Wellness. She can be found at www.viviannelsonmelle.com and www.craftyvivi.com



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