What added sweetener is healthiest for you?

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – There are two types of sugars in American diets, naturally occurring sugars, already in the foods we eat, and added sugars. The debate over what the healthiest added sugars are, is a hot topic in nutrition.

“There is a common misconception out there that natural sweeteners can sometimes be better for us.  So things like honey, pure maple sugar, agave nectar. While the do contain trace minerals, where granulated sugars do not, they still need to be controlled and used in moderation,” said Amber Groeling, a dietitian at Topeka’s Hy-Vee.

Amber said even though they’re “natural sugars”, it does not mean it’s a free for all.  As always, moderation is key. Non-caloric sweeteners are another option to please your sweet tooth.

“The most common non caloric sweeteners that you’re going to find on a food label or in your foods and beverages is aspartame, saccharine, sucralose which most people know as Splenda, but sucralose is the chemical name for it, and stevia. Stevia is a great sweetener to use and a lot of people like the fact that it’s natural. So that’s not necessarily a free for all reason to say OK that is going to be better for me.  But it does have over 200 studies showing its safety. It’s one that I have found in working with consumers that they tend to have the least negative effects by using it. The only negative downfall, is for some it does have a bitter after taste,” said Groeling.

Although adding some sugar, either natural or non-caloric, to your foods is ok, the best way to get an maintain your sugar intake is by choosing foods in their whole form, that are already naturally sweet.

“All of the sweeteners that are available on the market have been approved by the FDA as safe. Again it’s in moderation. I really like the 80-20 rule with nutrition. So 80% of the time we are focusing on foods that are naturally sweet,” said Groeling.

Some examples of naturally sweetened foods are fruit and plain Greek Yogurt.

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