Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet, and health questions.
Want to know which foods to curb sugar cravings? Or, what should you eat before a workout? Ask Keri anything, HERE!
This week’s question…
“I’ve been hearing a lot about this new sweetener, Nectresse. Why is it different from the other sweeteners? And should I be using it to sweeten my foods and drinks?” – Brandon, Boulder, Colo.
It was only a matter of time before a new sweetener hit the grocery store shelves! Nectresse, the latest zero calorie sweetener is made by the makers of SPLENDA, but don’t confuse it with the SPLENDA product itself! So, is the orange packet the new blue, pink or yellow? Let’s find out. The ingredient list reads: erythritol, sugar, monk fruit extract and molasses.
To take a closer look:
- Erythirtol: without getting too science-y, erythritol is a sugar alcohol and is commonly used in place of table sugars. Sugar alcohols are not metabolized by the body, giving them their 0-cal rep; however, it is not all fun and games. If eaten in excess, they cause gas and bloating.
- Sugar: Sugar is sugar, plain and simple. It’s the same ol’ empty calories you borrowed a cup of from your neighbor last week!
- Monk fruit extract: or should we say luo-han-guo extract, as the Chinese call it, comes from a natural fruit that resembles a small green melon. It tastes sweet and is commonly found in the tropic and subtropical region of South East Asia.
- Molasses: a byproduct of sugarcane, grapes, or sugar beets. Calorie for calorie and carbohydrate for carbohydrate, molasses and sugar are practically identical. However, molasses does contain low levels of some minerals like manganese, copper, iron, and calcium.
Sound too good to be true? Regardless of what color packet the sweetener comes in, we want to avoid adding sweetness whenever possible.
One artificial sweetener of particular concern is aspartame. Stop, drop, and run from this one. Aspartame is up to 700 times sweeter than sugar. Research has found that artificial sweeteners may actually make you more prone to overindulge since your body is tricked into thinking it is getting calories (from all the sweetness).
When the calories do not follow the sweetness, you look for them elsewhere. If you find yourself adding all those blue packets to your morning coffee, don’t be surprised later when that Snickers bar is calling your name.
When I need a little sweetness, I like to follow Winnie The Poo’s lead and go for a small amount of honey. Honey aka Nature’s sweetener has also been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Don’t like honey? Just a drop of another natural sweetener will do just fine.
As far as this newbie is concerned, Nectresse is the lesser of the no calorie evils, so orange just may be the new pink and blue.
-- Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman