October 28, 2010

Which sweeteners are you consuming?

When I started this, I had no idea what I was getting into. The way the sweeteners are looked at and discussed varies more than a person might think. Much depends on site objectives and manufacturer influence. Sugar and sweeteners are generally viewed as a poison by some groups, and should not even be looked at for people with diabetes irregardless of type. So those articles have been ignored as I wanted something that made some sense and might be of interest.

While the glycemic index values may vary from what I have located, generally they are within a few points in the sources checked. A few values could not be found and I used (??) to indicate that. The value can also change when processed differently as in pasteurized and raw honey. The GI values listed are therefore only guides and can vary depending on method of processing.

Various sweeteners   Glycemic Index Value

Sugar                               GI  80

Other calorie containing sweeteners:
all have approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates per teaspoon
   Honey, pasteurized        GI  75
   Raw Honey                   GI  30
   Maple syrup                  GI  54
   Pancake syrup               GI (??)
   Malt syrup                     GI  42
   Karo syrup                    GI (??)
   Corn sweeteners            GI  62
   Molasses                       GI  58
   Jellies                           GI (??)
   Jams                             GI  46
   Marmalades                   GI  55
   Agave syrup, nectar       GI  15
   Brown Rice syrup          GI  25

Brown sugar                     GI  64
Fructose                           GI  22
Lactose                            GI  46
Glucose                           GI  96
Blackstrap Molasses          GI  55
Stevia – FOS Blend           GI  <1

Artificial sweeteners          GI <1
Name                          Brands
Aspartame              NutraSweet, Equal
                        People who have a condition called phenylketonuria should avoid
                        this sweetener.
Acesulfame K         Sunett, Sweet One, Swiss Sweet
Sucralose               Splenda
Saccharin               Sweet'nLow, Sugartwin
                        Avoid this sweetener if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Sugar alcohols - These are neither sugars or alcohols, but pure carbohydrates. Examples of common sugar alcohols are maltitol, sorbitol, isomalt, and xylitol and are called “polyols”. There are other manufactured sugar alcohols, but these occur naturally in plants. This article explains more on sugar alcohols.

The key to non-artificial sweeteners is to use in moderation. Overuse of any sweetener is not good for maintaining tight management of diabetes and for many people will cause weight gain.

The above information is knowledge you should make use of when reading labels. While the GI values will not be listed, these are listed here to hopefully give you ideas when you are looking at labels. This article in WebMD may answer some more questions.

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