Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Which Sweeteners Are Best?

According to recent studies, many popular artificial sweeteners--such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose--may be detrimental to consumers' health. Dr. David Friedman, health expert on Lifetime Television's popular morning show, "The Balancing Act", recently revealed the three natural sweeteners that he recommends for optimal health and well-being.


In order to demonstrate why natural sweeteners are best, Friedman first explained the negatives of the artificial options.

"Anything labeled 'artificial' is usually created by chemists in a lab, and therefore is not easily digested by the body," explained Friedman. "Additionally, the chemicals in many artificial sweeteners have been shown to actually stimulate the appetite, which is bad news for people trying to lose weight while using these sugar substitutes."

He also explained that many chemicals are used to modify natural sugar in order to make it calorie-free, including: chlorine, acetone, formaldehyde, benzene (a carcinogen found in oil and gas), and chemicals used in engine anti-freeze and windshield washing fluid. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other laboratory studies, a litany of adverse reactions and ailments has been associated with these sweeteners over the past few decades.

The solution? Three natural, low-calorie sweeteners top Friedman's choices for people and families across the nation.

The first option Friedman recommends is Xylitol, which is extracted from the birch tree and sometimes referred to as birch sugar.

Another of his recommendations is agave nectar. Agave nectar comes straight from the agave plant with no chemical modifications, and is sweeter than table sugar.
"Agave nectar is a great option for vegans because unlike honey, it is not an animal product. It also easily dissolves in liquids, so it makes a great sweetener in beverages like iced tea," Friedman said.

The third natural sweetener he recommends is Stevia. Stevia has been used as a sweetener in South America for more than 1,500 years and is sold in the United States as a nutritional herb. Stevia is 100 percent natural and 300 times sweeter than sugar.
"Just one teaspoon of Stevia replaces one whole cup of sugar," explained Friedman. "The calorie savings add up very quickly."
To find these three natural sweeteners, Friedman recommends going to the local health food store

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