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On Sugar Consumption And Sugar Substitute

Aug 18, 2007
According to a survey conducted by The NPD Group, the growing concerns about obesity and type-2 diabetes is driving low-sugar, sugar-free or sugar substituted products forward. About 70 percent of adult Americans want to cut down or avoid sugar completely, with 40 percent admitting they check food labels regularly for sugar content.

44 percent of American homemakers are extremely or very concerned about serving foods with sugar, with over 50 percent of consumers noting they are aware of and concerned about high fructose corn syrup (one of the most commonly-used sweeteners today). All of these concerns are giving rise to more consumption of foods and beverages that are low-sugar, sugar-free, or contain sugar substitutes.

Although according to Harry Balzer, "There's little doubt that Americans right now are increasingly concerned about sugar consumption. But we've been here before; back in the 1980s, nearly 60 percent of Americans expressed concern about the sugar they were consuming, before declining during the early 1990s. I suspect we'll see the same trend during the next 10 years."

Honestly, I've always been apprehensive on sugar substitutes - I've always felt that they are chemically wrong and will do more harm than good. If I would watch out for my sugar consumption, I'd go for low-sugar or go totally for sugar-free products. It can also be a danger with respect to weight, metabolism and diabetes that is.

One sugar substitute that has always been in the limelight is aspartame - a low-calorie sweetener used to sweeten a wide variety of low- and reduced-calorie foods and beverages, including low-calorie tabletop sweeteners.

Aspartame - which is commercially popular - is composed of two amino acids (aspartic acid and phenylalanine) as the methyl ester (L-alpha-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester) and also popular because of its implication to cancer.

Can aspartame really cause cancer?

Clinical oncology dietitian Dena McDowell, MS, RD answers that very question in a scrutinizing review of aspartame.

Bottom line is that:
Although research is ongoing, products containing aspartame are generally considered to be safe. As long as consumption of aspartame is within the ADI, no chronic health issues should be seen as a result of ingestion.

Like in anything else, moderation is the key. Whether it be sugar per se or any sugar substitute, if you overdo the intake it will do more harm than good.

That been said, I really do not care anymore whether it is sugar or a sugar substitute in my food as long as I eat moderately, I'll be safe even if I have diabetes or not.
About the Author
The author writes about Snacks For Diabetics and blogs at http://www.daily-diabetic.com/.
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