Artificial sweeteners have endured a lot of controversy over the years. We've been told they cause cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, digestive problems, and more. Yet, credible organizations, such as the National Cancer Institute, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and American Heart Association are not telling us to stop using them. So what gives?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve any sweetener before it can enter into the marketplace. Thus far, none of the approved artificial sweeteners are definitively linked to any major health problems in the general population. But what about those recent media reports that link artificial sweeteners to an increase in blood sugar? It's important to always consider the weight of the evidence. This study was conducted largely on mice and on seven humans who did not normally consume artificial sweeteners. While it's intriguing that the study was partially done on humans, the extremely small sample size may not be representative of a large population. Even the authors note that more studies and confirmation of their results are needed before a definitive recommendation that is backed by science can be given.
The four most common artificial sweeteners approved by the FDA are acesulfame potassium, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. Stevia is a considered a novel sweetener and is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. Consumers are always faced with balancing what they hear and see, with what the larger part of science proves. Ultimately, it's your decision, and if you still opt to not consume artificial sweeteners, that's fine! But eat less sugar.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup trans-fat free margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granular sucralose
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350ᵒF. Combine flours, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat margarine, brown sugar, and sucralose together until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until blended. Slowly mix in flour mixture until evenly combined; stir in chocolate chips. Form into golf ball-sized balls. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-9 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
Yield: 40 servings, 1 cookie per serving
Nutrition analysis per serving: 140 calories, 8g fat, 140mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 2g protein