Sugar Substitutes: The Sweet Truth
Are your snacks, desserts, medicines, and even toiletries made with the healthiest sweeteners? From aspartame to stevia, we take a close look at popular sugar substitutes. By: Maureen Callahan, M.S., R.D.
Made from the leaves of a South American plant, stevia is the new darling of the sweetener world. Big soft drink companies rushed to put it in their lines with the brand Truvia (Coke) and Pure Via (Pepsi.)
Sweetening Power: About 200 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
Precautions: Experts at the Mayo Clinic suggest caution for pregnant women, women who are breast-feeding, and anyone taking medication for hypertension or diabetes. For the latter group, the concern is hypoglycemia or hypotension (low blood pressure).
The Sweet Truth: While leaves of the stevia plant have been used for years, the new extracts haven't so the jury is still out on its safety.
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