Kitchen Think: Fed Up With Pseudo-Sugars


We all have demons. Mine is sugar.

Mama has a really bad sweet tooth. It’s a struggle for me to end a meal without having some sort of goodie. A piece of fruit just won’t cut it.

That’s why I was intrigued by an article I read today about the rush to sell low-calorie sweets with fake sugar.

I’ve never cared for artificial, chemically made sweeteners. Aspartame (you know it as Equal) gives me a headache. Saccharin (also known as Sweet’n Low) leaves a nasty aftertaste in my mouth… same with sucralose (aka Splenda). At one time, I really liked cyclamates, but they took it off the market because it gave rats bladder cancer. Figures.

Have you heard of stevia? It’s been around for a few years, but it’s apparently now the new darling of the no-calorie sweetener world because it’s not made in a lab, but comes from a plant in the chrysanthemum family. You might have seen it sold as Truvia, Sweet Leaf or PureVia.

Like most “natural” products… it’s more expensive. But that hasn’t stopped food makers from adding it to everything from water (Glacéau Vitamin Water Zero) to yogurt (Tillamook)… and there are more on the way.

Stevia is the closest scientists have come to developing a pseudo-sugar that looks and tastes like real sugar. It even has a grainy texture like sugar. But, I think it’s a little too sweet, even for my sweet tooth. There’s a slight aftertaste, though, I admit, it’s not as bad as some of the others.

But I wonder: instead of looking for a substitute, why not simply cut back on sugar in your diet? Even if you eat something that is sugar free, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily fat free or cholesterol free. I worry that people will delude themselves into thinking they’re eating something healthy just because it contains a so-called “natural” sugar… and wind up consuming even more.

And, artificially sweet or not, that’s not good for anyone.






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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: