What's the Best Sugar Substitute?

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The average person consumes approximately 100 to 150 pounds (45 to 67.5 kilos) of sugar per year with 80 percent coming from processed foods like soft drinks, candy, cereals, and baked goods. But what if we could have our sweets without the high caloric count? Would you use a sugar substitute if your cookie would taste the same and you could still lose weight?

Sugar substitutes can be natural or synthetic and are used as food additives to duplicate the taste of sugar. They are referred to as artificial sweeteners and in the US, five have been FDA approved for use: aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, neotame, and acesulfame potassium.

ASPARTAME

Patented by Monsanto, aspartame is known as Equal (the blue packets), NutraSweet, Tropicana Slim, and Canderel. A non-saccharide sweetener that is 180 times as sweet as sugar, its taste is never identical to sugar but when blended with acesulfame potassium in soft drinks, will taste more sugar-like and sweeter. Aspartame should not be used in baking because of the breakdown of its sweetness when heated but is perfect for no-bake pies and puddings. Aspartame can replace calorie-heavy sugars in many treats but people born with phenylketonuria (PKU) should avoid it.