Here in the new year, millions of Americans will try to cut back on sugar or drop it altogether. It’s a noble effort because sugar is devoid of nutrients, except for calories, which it has in spades.
Quick fact: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports each of us consumes 31 five-pound bags of sugar a year. That’s 267,840 empty calories from sugar alone. Still, people will be jonesing for something sweet to eat. Enter: monk fruit.
Traditionally, people used zero-calorie sweeteners to satisfy their sugar cravings at no caloric cost. Synthetic sugar substitutes, including aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda) and others, are added at the table but are mostly taken as carbonated diet drinks and low calorie foods. But consumption of those foods has taken a nosedive as of late as health conscious consumers flock to natural sweeteners. Stevia, the zero-calorie herb extract, is gaining appeal, but monk fruit is the real one to watch. (more…)
Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes often get a bad rap, but are they really as bad as they are made out to be? The results of a recent study suggests that maybe they aren’t; good news for all of us with sweet tooths. In the study three sweeteners were used to determine the effects on food intake, satiety, and glucose and insulin levels.
Researchers used sucrose, stevia and aspartame in the study. Stevia, a plant used as a natural sugar substitute, has come into popularity fairly recently in the United States, but has been used for centuries in South and Central America. The US Food and Drug Administration placed stevia on their Generally Recognized as Safe list. Any concern about the safety of stevia consumption comes from the eating and drinking excessive amounts, not from casual use.
Is there anything better than sweet tea on a hot summer day? We think not. And in anticipation of warmer weather just around the corner, this week we love Honest Tea’s Not Too Sweet Tea.
Honest Tea is a bottled tea company based in Maryland that specializes in organic, lower calorie, lower sugar bottled beverages. Some of their most popular products include Honest Kids organic thirst quenchers and their line of ready-to-drink bottled teas.
We not only love that Honest Tea produces quality teas with fair trade, organic ingredients. But that they’re also forging new paths as one of the most socially and environmentally responsible companies in their industry.
Honest Tea’s Not Too Sweet Tea is a lower sugar version of an old favorite brewed with organic black tea leaves and sweetened with just a touch of organic cane sugar and organic stevia. Each 16.9 oz. bottle contains 25 grams of sugar and 100 calories.
And how does it taste? Refreshing, delicious and not too sweet, just as they claim. I split open a couple bottles with my husband and a few friends and everyone agreed that if they were to opt for a sweet tea, this would be the one they’d choose. (more…)
Gatorade is a well known beverage, served at sports events everywhere, from preschool sports games to professional events. It’s arguably the most served beverage at sporting events, but many parents are not fans of it. The traditional G Series is often thought to be high in sugar, and in answer to this, Gatorade created a lower sugar version, called G2. This beverage wasn’t a perfect fit for many families, however, in that it’s sweetened with sucralose. Many families desire natural foods and beverages and Gatorade has created a new line of performance beverages to please the most discerning of athletes.
Called G Series Natural, the beverage is part of the Perform level, designed to be enjoyed while exercising. G Series Natural replenishes lost fluids and electrolytes exactly the same as traditional Gatorade. Containing only sea salt, natural flavors and natural sweeteners, this beverage meets the needs of athletes who don’t want artificial colors or sweeteners. G Series Natural is sweetened with sucrose and dextrose and has 50 calories per serving. For a lower calorie, yet still natural choice, G2 Natural is sweetened with Stevia, and has 20 calories per serving. Each bottle contains 2 servings. (Always read the label!)
The weather is getting warmer outside (hooray!) and one of the most ubiquitous sights in the spring time is the lemonade stand. As soon as it gets warm, my kids want to set up a card table at the foot of the driveway with a hand lettered sign offering lemonade for a quarter a cup.
I’ve passed many a stand in my travels, and I started to wonder – is there such a thing as a healthy lemonade? After all, lemonade by it’s very nature is simply water, lemon juice and sugar. Often lots and lots of sugar, to compensate for the bitter taste of the lemon juice. Is there a better choice? I decided to look at several of the lemonade options in an effort to find the healthiest beverage.
Crystal Light was the first powdered drink mix on the scene that gave you a low-calorie and sugar-free way to stay hydrated and quench your thirst. While the diet drink brand has been around since 1982 (actress Linda Evans was the original spokesperson), Crystal Light continues to update its offerings that marry new exciting flavors with less processed ingredients.
Classic Crystal Light is artificially sweetened with aspartame (NutraSweet), the no-calorie sweetener, but with the recent popularity of the Stevia plant, a reduced calorie sugar alternative, has spurred a new line of drink mixes, Crystal Light Pure Fitness with Truvia, the trademarked brand of Stevia. And that is why Crystal Light Pure Fitness is one of our latest Food Finds. (more…)
Every few years a new sugar alternative hits the market. People who prefer to get their sweeteners’ calorie-free rush to buy up the local supermarket’s stock and eagerly tout the benefits of the latest and greatest sweet invention. About a decade ago sucrolose (aka Splenda) gave Sweet ‘n Low and Equal a run for their money. Agave nectar has received a “health halo” among some people, despite the fact that it is nearly all fructose and may be worse for your health than table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Most recently, another non-sugar has made a splash in our coffees.
Stevia (sold at health food stores as Truvia, PureVia, Sun Crystals, among others) is made from the sweetest part of the South American stevia plant. The human body cannot use these steviol glycosides as fuel which means the calorie and carbohydrate count is zero. It also tastes 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.
Truvia is the newest, zero-calories, natural sweetener to hit the market. Truvia was developed by Cargill and Coca-Cola. “Sweetness born from a leaf, not in a lab,” they say about the product. Truvia is made from the stevia plant, which is a native plant of South America. The stevia plant is not new and has been used as a sweetener in South America and Japan for centuries. However, in the US, thus far stevia has only been sold as a dietary supplement due to FDA concerns. The ingredient list of Truvia includes: Rebiana, Erythritol, and natural flavors.
- Ribana portion comes from the sweet leaf of the stevia plant. These leaves are picked, dried, then submerged into water, which unlocks the sweetness portion and is then purified.
- Erythritol is a naturally occurring fermented sugar alcohol (found in grapes and pears). (more…)