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The Sorry Secrets of Sweeteners

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
The other day I went to buy some of the individual bags of flavored waters for my kids. I was thinking that they would be preferable to the no?sugar?added juice boxes I normally offer to hydrate them in the car. Water, I reasoned, is always a healthier choice than juice.What a surprise, then, to see that one of the most popular brands of these water bags listed high fructose corn syrup as the second ingredient and sucralose as the fourth!

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post #2 of 10
Well, i presume water was the main ingredient? You never know with these products! My question with these flavored waters is that they have some flavoring in them, and is that actally made from fruit? Is it a chemical flavoring? Apart from teh health risks of artificial flavors, which may be there, who knows, there is also the risk of deceiving growing taste buds, so that they get used to artificial tastes, and are prey to all the otehr crap that is marketed and will be marketed all their lives. They also get used to water having a "flavor" when water is water and can be the most thirst-quenching thing there is. (And also, why "hydrate", rather than "quench thirst"? it makes everything sound so medicinal!)
I like things simpler: water is water, juice is juice, both are good and healthy (why is water healthier than juice? kids need lots of calories and the vitamins in juice are not bad for them).
The more industrial activity involved in making something, the less it's likely to be good for you. Just my opinion.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #3 of 10
I agree completely.

Why hydrate? The US has lost touch with what food really is. Powerbars to Gatorade. Food is simply a chemical compound you put into your body, usually one that has been heavily advertised as being healthy.
post #4 of 10
I really LIKE your opinion! I believe that the deceiving of growing taste buds is how we all got "addicted" to refined sugar, refined white flour, polished rice, and a host of other wonders of modern times, if I remember my Sugar Blues correctly. That book was an eye opener for me back in the day!
I, for one, will stick with plain old water--just not the water that comes from the fountains in my school--well water that gives me a sore throat! I bring my water from home. The kids love the flavored water and buy it by the crates. They're not my kids. They also do not drink milk, eat vegetables, and I could rant for days.
Anyway, I like your opinion!
más vale tarde que nunca
más vale tarde que nunca
post #5 of 10
all true, though when my daughter was small they were saying babies don;t need salt added to their food. So i tried to introduce vegetables, and she would never eat them, cooked all kinds of things, pressed through a strainer and she would spit them out. Evenm whe she was into finger foods, she wouldn;t eat vegetables. One day i said, the heck with this, and dipped the tip of a string bean in salt, she ate it up like it was candy! From then on i salted all her food. She takes after me, we are salt eaters.
Interestingly enough, she became a vegetarian!

I think the taste for sweets is inborn - monkeys too like sweets, and if you ever tasted breast milk (i tried my own out of curiosity) you'd see it's extremely sweet and watery. Don't forget that once, not long ago, people mainly were concerned to eat enough calories. But of course, if kids get used to sugared snacks instead of sweet fruit, they will get more of a taste for it. Interestingly enough, here in italy, kids used to get salty things for an after school snack - a piece of white pizza, a piece of bread and salame, bread rubbed with a tomato and oil and salt, or simply bread and oil with salt. I would make cakes and cookies and stuff at birthday parties, along with sandwiches, and the kids would hardly touch the sweets.
Now with commercial snacks taking over, things are different.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #6 of 10
It's a sorry state of affairs when a kid would rather eat grape-flavored fruit snacks than actual, honest-to-god grapes. Especially when real grapes taste better anyway (!
post #7 of 10
...flavored waters for my kids. I was thinking that they would be preferable to the no-sugar-added...

She had it correct, up until the "flavored" part. Why not just bring them water and a piece of fruit? If that is not nurturing enough, she could slice the fruit up beforehand.

We are trying to provide 91 nutrients while avoiding thousands of toxins.
post #8 of 10
Don't trust any of it.........

If you were to just pour a glass of water at home pour spoonfuls of sugar in each glass add your own chemical flavorings would still be less then what theses huge companies put in their bottled fruit flavored waters........
post #9 of 10
For relatively healthful "flavored water" type beverages, I'm partial to Glaceau's VitaminWater and SmartWater.

They use "crystalline fructose" as the sweetener--no high-fructose corn syrup and no artificial sweeteners. I'm pretty sure the crystalline fructose is much better for you than the others.

These drinks aren't overwhelmingly sweet. Each 20 oz. bottle of Vitamin Water contains about 150 calories, according to the label. I admit I'm hopelessly addicted to the stuff. I'm not sure the Smart Water contains any added sweetener at all; I think it may just contain flavoring alone.

Of course, Coca-Cola just bought out Glaceau, so I wouldn't bet on the product remaining quite as healthful in the future...
post #10 of 10

Although it reflects myths that are often repeated these days, I respectfully disagree with much of what is said in "The Sorry Secrets Of Sweeteners."

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a desirable food ingredient for food manufacturers because it is equally as sweet as table sugar, blends well with other foods, helps foods to maintain a long shelf life, and is less expensive (due to government subsidies on corn) than other sweeteners. It can be found in a variety of food products including soft drinks, salad dressings, ketchup, jams, sauces, ice cream and even bread.

Table sugar (also called sucrose) and HFCS both consist of two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Table sugar contains 50% of each type of simple sugar. There are two varieties of high fructose corn syrup commonly found in foods today: HFCS-55 (the main form used in soft drinks) contains 55% fructose and 45% glucose. HFCS-42 (the main form used in canned fruit syrup, ice cream, desserts, and baked goods) contains 42% fructose and 58% glucose. So table sugar and HFCS are virtually identical chemically, and provide the same number of calories (4 per gram).

Research has shown that there are no significant differences between HFCS and sucrose when it comes to the production of insulin, leptin (a hormone that regulates body weight and metabolism), ghrelin (the "hunger" hormone), or changes in blood glucose levels. In addition, the two sweeteners are identical with regard to appetite regulation, feelings of fullness, and short-term energy intake. There is no significant difference in the overall rate of absorption between table sugar and HFCS, which explains why these two sweeteners effect the body in the same way.

HFCS hit the food industry in the mid 1970s, right when the waistlines of many Americans began to expand. During this time, many diet and activity factors where changing in society. It is a well-researched fact that the current obesity crisis is very much a multi-faceted problem. The American Medical Association (AMA) has extensively examined the available research on HFCS and obesity. This organization has publicly stated that, to date, there is nothing unique about HFCS that causes obesity. It does not appear to contribute more to obesity than any other type of sweetener. Obesity is the result of consuming more calories than you burn. Since the mid seventies, our society has been consuming more, but exercising less. I grew up in the seventies and spent most of my non-school hours running around outside. Today, my kids and their peers spend nearly all of their free time watching our hundreds of cable TV channels or playing video games.

"The Sorry Secrets Of Sweeteners" mentions a study that correlates the consumption of diet soda with gaining weight. Diet soda contains aspartame, not corn syrup, so this isn't an indictment of HFCS. It's important to note that this study doesn't show causation, just correlation. Diet soda drinking is linked to obesity, but doesn't necessarily cause obesity. People who drink diet soda do so because they are having trouble controlling their weight and are prone to obesity. So the people in that study probably would have gained weight no matter what they drank.

It is also possible that diet soda drinkers use the calorie-free drink as a "free pass" to include other unhealthy, calorie-dense foods on their plates. In addition, it may be that offering your brain something sweet that's not actually backed by calories could cause future cravings that lead to binge eating. But this would also be true for chewing gum and any food or drink that is sweet yet low-calorie, even if it doesn't contain any artificial sweetener.

Needless to say, neither table sugar nor HFCS would exist without human processing. You cannot just go to a field and squeeze corn syrup out of corn or table sugar out of sugar beets or sugarcane. Too much sugar is bad for you — even if it comes from what you might think of as natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup (which is also highly refined and actually higher in fructose than HFCS) or raw sugar. Barry Popkin, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at the Univeristy of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, scoffs at people who promote "natural" sweeteners, saying "They all have the same caloric effects as sugar. I don’t care whether something contains concentrated fruit juice, brown sugar, honey or HFCS. The only better sweetener option is ‘none of the above.’”

This brings us to "healthy options to satisfy a sweet tooth." Options that contain lots of sugar from any source aren't healthy. Healthy options include using sugar-free sweeteners like sucralose.

While it has been suggested by some that no-calorie sweeteners may cause weight gain, these claims are not backed by the collective scientific data. These claims are often based on studies that were not designed to understand actual effects on weight management, and are often of very short duration and involve only a small number of people or animals. In contrast, studies in people for up several years show that no calorie sweeteners can be useful in weight management strategies. Additionally, rigorous, large studies in rats that received sucralose at doses equal in sweetness to over 40 pounds of sugar per day over a lifetime showed that sucralose does not cause increases in body weight. In determining the safety of sucralose, the FDA reviewed data from more than 110 studies in humans and animals. No negative effects were found. The studies show that sucralose and other no-calorie sweeteners can be useful for weight management.

Sucralose tastes like sugar, but is calorie-free, does not affect insulin levels, does not promote dental cavities, has a long shelf-life, and is highly heat stable. It is probably the closest thing we have to the perfect sweetener. When purchased in liquid form (e.g. Sucralite Liquid), it doesn't even contain any bulking agents that can contribute hidden calories. As a no-calorie alternative to sugar, sucralose-containing foods and beverages still allow people who are following a weight loss or weight management program to enjoy sweet, good tasting options. It has been extremely useful to me as I continue to maintain a healthy weight while still enjoying sweets.

People tend to be conspiracy-minded, but there really aren't any dark secrets in the world of sweeteners - at least not for people who are open-minded and rely on scientific evidence instead of fear and hearsay.

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