sweetMany of us are so attached to sweetness that it is almost like an addiction. While a dash of salt or a sprinkle of sugar can improve the overall flavor of our food, heaping it on is usually unnecessary and it can be deadly. It’s easy to “sit on the sidelines and throw rocks” (Translated: it’s easy to criticize.) The difficult thing is to offer a reasonable solution.

For people who want more sweetness there are ways to reach the goal without adding toxic chemicals or processed sugar. Here’s a simple list of some relatively safe sweeteners on the left and those that you should try to avoid at all cost on the right.

Sweeteners to Use

  • Stevia *
  • Evaporated Cane Juice
  • Fruit Juice
  • Rice Syrup
  • Honey
  • Licorice Root (small amounts)
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Amasake
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Sugar Alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol) **
  • Maple Syrup (Without Added Sugar)
  • Barley Malt

Sweeteners to Avoid

  • Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Canderel)
  • Neotame
  • Sucralose (Splenda)
  • Acesulfame-K (Sunette, Sweet & Safe, Sweet One)
  • Cyclamates
  • Saccharin
  • Refined Sugar
  • High Fructose Sweeteners
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (often found in soft drinks)

* Safe for Diabetics

** Use in Small Amounts & avoid if you have bowel disease because they can cause irritation and diarrhea.

Read the labels! Artificial sweeteners may be found in: soft drinks, over-the-counter drugs & prescription drugs (very common and listed under “inactive ingredients”), vitamin & herb supplements, yogurt, instant breakfasts, candy, breath mints, cereals, sugar-free chewing gum, cocoa mixes, coffee beverages, instant breakfasts, gelatin desserts, frozen desserts, juice beverages, laxatives, milk drinks, shake mixes, tabletop sweeteners, tea beverages, instant teas and coffees, topping mixes, wine coolers, etc. I noticed that aspartame is an ingredient in the coating of a generic brand of Tylenol®.

Processed white sugar is readily available and inexpensive. The more you use it the more you seem to want it. I don’t recommend that people use white sugar. But, compared to the chemicals in theSweeteners to Avoid list above sugar is definitely safer.

The BEST solution is to NOT add sweeteners.

If you MUST, choose from the items in the Sweeteners to Use list at the top.