the truth about sugar


Deborah Wilder, the mother of a

T1 diabetic, is the author of the

Cook and Count Carbs app which

allows you to calculate the carb

(and other nutrient content) of

your home recipes.

MRI scans to monitor the human brain's

reaction to diet soft drinks. Volunteers'

brains reacted differently to sugary water

than to water with sweeteners added.

The sweeteners were thought to trigger

an increase in appetite without doing

anything to satisfy it, making it more likely

for us to follow a diet drink with something

more calorific. Another study following a

large population over ten years found that

those who drank diet soft drinks were

65% more likely to become overweight

over the next 7 or 8 years.

But in the absence of any clear

evidence to prove that sweeteners are

unsafe, we can't see a problem with using

them a little. Artificial sweeteners are very

strong which means we only need to use

a very small amount. There are many

different types of artificial sweeteners

including Aspartame, Acesulfame-K,

Saccharin, and Sucralose.

There are also natural, no calorie

sweeteners such as stevia. Stevia is

derived from the stevia plant, related to the

daisy and ragweed, and native of South

America. It is approved for use by various

Food and Agriculture organisations. It is

300 times sweeter than sugar and can be

used in baking.

So what's the answer? As always,

it's 'everything in moderation'. It's more

a matter of reducing your need for sugar

than just substituting it in your diet with a

sweetener. It is probably best to gradually

ween yourself off having sweet things in

your diet, just using sugar or sweeteners

very occasionally. Where you can, stick

to the naturally occurring sugars found in

fruits and try to cook from scratch where

possible, that way you can be sure of

what's in your food. Happy cooking!

The BBC's 'The Truth About' series

included programmes about fat, calories,

and sugar The Truth About Sugar.

the most rigorously tested food ingredients in history.

So long as you don't

drown in a vat of it, it won't kill you.

Saccharin was the first artificial

sweetener, originally being synthesized in 1879. It is 300 to 500 times

as sweet as sugar (sucrose) and is

often used to improve the taste of

toothpastes, dietary foods, and dietary beverages. The bitter aftertaste

of saccharin is often minimized by

blending it with other sweeteners in


Stevia has been used as a natural

sweetener in South America for

centuries. Due to its unique characteristics of zero

glycemic index and

zero calories, it's becoming popular

in many other countries. It is also

marketed as Truvia and PureVia.


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