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Perception vs. Reality: Low-Calorie Sweetener Edition

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN

I’m often amazed by the number of choices available in nearly every category in my local supermarket. From cereals to sodas, we can always find a choice that suits our mood, our budget, or our health goals.

The other day I noticed a store display featuring sparkling waters, offering twelve flavors to choose from, so I selected a few and headed to the checkout area. The cashier was quick to comment on the sparkling waters, saying “Those are so much better for you than diet sodas.” I wanted to explain to her that they are nearly identical to diet sodas. Like diet sodas, zero-calorie, flavored, sparkling waters are composed of mainly water, flavorings, and low-calorie sweeteners, which are safe and effective for sweetening a wide variety of foods and beverages.

A recent consensus statement from nutrition experts around the world summarized the benefits of low-calories sweeteners as follows:

  1.  Low calorie sweeteners do not increase appetite and have no discernible effect on hunger or fullness.
  2. Low calorie sweeteners help to reduce calorie intake when used in place of higher calorie ingredients.
  3. Low calorie sweeteners can enhance weight loss under real-life conditions when used as part of a healthy, balanced weight loss program that strives to incorporate lifestyle changes.
  4. Low calorie sweeteners may have a beneficial effect on post-meal glucose and insulin levels in healthy individuals, as well as in people with diabetes.

Like diet sodas, zero-calorie flavored, sparkling waters are a wonderful choice for people who want to balance their calorie intake by limiting calories from beverages. And with so many flavors to choose from today, there’s a sparkling water to fit every occasion, from family picnics and summer pool parties to kids’ baseball games!

Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist who has lived well with Type I diabetes for more than 37 years. The owner of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting, she consults with a variety of food and beverage clients on issues related to nutrition and health.



Tags: Health National Blog Choice
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