What kind of sweetener do you use in your morning cup of Joe???

A diabetic needs as many facts as possible when choosing foods, but have you given much thought to the sweetener you use? There are so many choices out there! Most of us know that sugar is not really an option because it’s a simple carbohydrate and raises blood sugar very quickly. It has 15 calories per teaspoon.

When I was a kid in the 1960’s, the first diet soda, TAB, hit the market. That is the only soda my mother would drink. It was sweetened with SACCHARIN, which was linked to cancer back then, but that research was debunked, and the FDA and the National Cancer Institute believe it is safe. Saccharin these days goes under the name SWEET ‘N LOW. I call it as PINK SWEET. I don’t use pink, but I just don’t like the aftertaste.

A product containing ASPARTAME came out called EQUAL. It has 4 calories per teaspoon and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It’s not easy to cook with and doesn’t work well in baked goods. Aspartame is deemed safe by the FDA and the National Cancer Institute, however, a study of more than 3,000 women linked it with kidney decline. Diabetics fight kidney issues to begin with, so for that reason alone I choose to leave aspartame alone. I call Equal BLUE SWEET. I don’t use blue, but it’s because I don’t like the aftertaste. I hate to disagree with Cher, but… oh well.

Then an artificial sweetener came out that begins as table sugar, undergoes a chemical process, and comes out 600 times sweeter than sugar with no calories. When you cook with it, use only half cup for one cup of sugar and check baked goods a few minutes before the recipe suggests. SPLENDA is my number two choice of artificial sweeteners. I call it YELLOW SWEET. I’m cautiously optimistic about SUCRALOSE, but wonder about chemically altering sugarcane. I think it’s too soon to tell if there are any side effects. It’s just too soon to tell. I use it – mostly in store-bought “diet” products such as diet cranberry juice, etc.

I use STEVIA, a zero-calorie sweetener extracted from a South American plant that is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. I do not recommend the brand Pure Via or Truvia. I like spoonable Stevia and liquid stevia in coffee flavor for my coffee in the morning. There are also flavors like English toffee and lemon drop. Go to for more information. And you can use Leslie’s code to save $5 off your first order.

OK – I think this guy is nuts – but there ya go.

Other natural choices would be agave nectar and monk fruit extract. Surprisingly, agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s. It is not, however, calorie-free. It is better than sugar but not ideal in my opinion. Monk fruit extract is calorie-free and 150-300 times sweeter than sugar. It’s a little tricky to cook with because it varies in sweetness. Something more consistent should be used for cooking or baking.

We’ve come a long way since the days of TAB and horrible aftertaste! It’s great that we have so many choices these days. I’m so glad that diabetics can enjoy just a bit of SWEET once in a while. 😉