Posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am
What’s in the food or drink you are serving to your family? Many of us read food labels in order to find the most nutritious, least processed, food possible. Others read the food labels in order to avoid allergens. Either way, it helps if you are well informed about the different kinds of things that might be in your food. Here is a quick look at some of the different kinds of sweeteners.
When you see the word “sugar” on a food label, it is referring to a crystalline substance that is derived from plants. It comes from either sugar cane or sugar beet. Sucrose is the more scientific name for sugar. Many people check the food labels on juice drinks to find out how much sugar has been added to the juice.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener. Sucralose is not found in nature and is not a natural product. There are several brands of Sucralose-based sweeteners, including Splenda, Sukrana, SucraPlus, Candys, Cukren, and Nevella. Some find it appealing because it contains zero calories. Sucralose is often found in diet sodas and other diet foods and is said to be 600 times sweeter than sugar.
The Sucralose Website says that the Sucralose molecule contains three atoms of chlorine. Snopes.com has investigated the claim that Splenda was inadequately tested and unsafe and found it to be false.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrup is also called HFCS, Glucose-Fructose, Isoglucose, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Fructose-Glucose Syrup, or High Fructose Maize Syrup. HFCS is the most common sweetener used in processed foods and drinks (in the United States). HFCS comes from corn, and contains more fructose than normal corn syrup. It also contains glucose.
The Mayo Clinic points out that HFCS is chemically similar to “table sugar” and that controversy exists about whether or not the body handles HFCS differently than table sugar.
Fructose is also called “fruit-sugar”. It is found in many plants including honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries, and some root vegetables.
Glucose is also called “grape sugar” or dextrose. It is found in plants and is one of the main products of photosynthesis.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that was first sold under the name NutraSweet. It is said to be 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has almost zero calories. Aspartame is often found in diet sodas. The American Cancer Society notes that people who have Phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid aspartame. It also points out that “most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer.”