Skip Splenda and Use This Instead

by Jennifer Boudreau on October 9, 2014

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Skip splenda and use this insteadMy morning coffee… it’s a ritual I absolutely love and look forward to every morning. Just as you may do, I like to add something that will sweeten up my morning cup of brew. Unlike my husband, I’m not a big fan of the bitter kick that coffee has when you drink it black. He enjoys savoring the richness of the coffee bean. That’s not me. I like it sweet and could care less how the coffee bean tastes. I just want the caffeine!

Since most days I drink two to three cups of coffee, I reach for a zero calorie sweetener. For years I used sucralose, AKA Splenda, because it was “just like sugar.” Sucralose is popular and found just about everywhere. Not only can you buy it as the brand name Splenda, but you can find it in baked goods, beverages, gum, protein drinks and the list goes on.

There are several issues I now have with sucralose which is why it’s no longer a staple in our home.

First, sucralose isn’t “just like sugar.” While sucralose starts out as a sugar molecule, three chlorine molecules are added to it during processing. Additionally, sucralose does not naturally have zero calories, rather it is manufactured to a degree making it unable to be metabolized by your body…which is why it has zero calories.

The second concern I have with sucralose is that the consumer watchdog group, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), has downgraded sucralose’s rating in its Chemical Cuisine magazine. After a study conducted in Italy found that the sweetener caused leukemia in mice, the CSPI downgraded sucralose’s rating from “safe” to “caution.”

When I realized sucralose wasn’t as safe as I once thought it was, I decided to look for a better alternative. I had been hearing about stevia, but wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Come to find out stevia is an actual plant, often grown in South America. Even though stevia extract is 200 times sweeter than sugar, it doesn’t impact insulin levels. Sounded good to me!

So my husband and I scoured the grocery store aisle reading labels for different brands of stevia. We quickly realized all brands of stevia are not created equal. Stevia manufacturers use different forms of processing, sometimes using chemicals that are known carcinogens. We also quickly realized that many manufacturers used highly processed forms of sugar alcohols and genetically engineered sweeteners. This was NOT what I was looking for.

I was starting to lose hope thinking the only option would be to grow my own stevia plant at home…which was not going to happen. I can’t keep any plants alive in this house. Then we stumbled on the brand we continue to use today, SweetLeaf. This brand uses “high-grade, all natural organic stevia leaves and is blended with inulin, a natural soluble vegetable fiber pre-biotic that nourishes the beneficial intestinal floras, promoting digestive health.” With that being said, there are literally two ingredients in powdered SweetLeaf stevia: inulin soluble fiber and USDA Certified Organic SweetLeaf Stevia Extract. Just as the box claims, no aspartame, sucralose, maltodextrin, dextrose or other additives.

Skip splenda and use this instead

 

And yes, SweetLeaf has zero calories, but it has zero calories naturally.

You can buy SweetLeaf in powdered or liquid form. A variety of flavors are available if you buy the liquid, with my favorite being their liquid Vanilla Crème flavor! Compared to the powdered version, the liquid forms of SweetLeaf do have a few extra, yet simple, ingredients. As an example, the Vanilla Crème flavor lists purified water, organic stevia leaf extract, natural flavors and vanilla extract as the ingredients.

Skip splenda and use this instead

If you’re like me and enjoy a touch of sweetness without the calories or chemicals, SweetLeaf is definitely a brand worth looking into! Locally I’m able to buy powdered SweetLeaf at Meijer and the liquid version at Kroger. Most health food stores will carry SweetLeaf options as well!

Tell me, how do you sweeten up your morning cup of brew or tea?

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