Saturday, August 29, 2009

What You Should Know About Natural Sweeteners Before You Make Them Part of Your Diet

By Jamis Hartley

Are natural sweeteners right for you? Many believe all natural is the only way to go, therefore natural sweeteners are right for everyone. At this point the highest level of interest in natural sweeteners is found among those trying to lose weight or those who have a medical condition that is forcing them to reduce sugar intake. Fortunately, there are a lot of choices these days which are great all natural alternatives to sugar. But be careful, some may or may not be the right fit for you. Do a little research and make the right choice. This article will give you a few basics and recommendations to consider.

* Sugar: Has a Glycemic Index of 60 and 4 calories per gram

* Xylitol: Has a Glycemic Index of 13 and 2 and a half calories per gram

* Sorbitol: Has a Glycemic Index of 9 and 2 and a half calories per gram

* Isomalt: Has a Glycemic Index of 8 and 2.1 calories per gram

* Maltitol Syrup: Has a Glycemic Index of 52 and 3 calories per gram

* Lactitol: Has a Glycemic Index of 6 and 3 calories per gram

* Erythritol: Has a Glycemic Index of 0 and .2 calories per gram

Of the available natural sweeteners recognized as safe to consume there is really only one that stands above the rest. When comparing the Glycemic Index and carbohydrate levels (not listed) Erythritol seems to be the clear choice. It is interesting to note that the only two that do not cause tooth decay is Xylitol and Erythritol. Flavor would obviously be a very determining factor, but that is based only on personal preference as each will pass the test of being pleasingly sweet. The biggest and most important factor to separate Erythritol as the preferred natural sweetener is the method by which the body digests the sweetener. Erythritol is digested mostly in the small intestine and excreted through the bladder saving you the discomfort of the digestive issues caused by the other sweeteners.

Found naturally in many fruits and vegetables like pears, melons, potatoes and grapes, Erythritol is abundantly available. Erythritol has many of the desired qualities of sugar and is widely used as a replacement of sugar to sweeten drinks and add flavor to cooking recipes. It is approximately 70% as sweet as sugar but much better for the teeth and body. Diabetics appreciate the fact that Erythritol does not spike the blood sugar levels and makes managing their diabetes easier. There is plenty of information regarding all the different natural sweeteners online and you would do well to read through some portion of it before making the switch.

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