a soda tax won't change what we choose to drink

Why Taxing Soda Won’t Reduce Obesity

TAXING ONE SOURCE OF CALORIES IN THE DIET DOES NOT MEAN WE WILL CONSUME FEWER CALORIES

I’m in favor anything that might help Americans reduce their caloric intake in order to curb obesity, but I don’t believe taxing sugar-sweetened beverages is the way to go. Economists use mathematical equations to “predict” the potential weight loss benefits of a penny per ounce soda tax, but they can’t factor in all the complex variables that shape human eating behavior.

People adjust to price changes all the time. Think about the last time the price for your favorite English muffins went up or a tank of gas. Initially, you may have bought the store-brand muffins or combined errands into one trip to save gas, but as you grew accustomed to seeing the new price, you probably drifted back to your favorite brands and old driving habits. No doubt you were making adjustments somewhere else in your budget by then. Our ability to continually reshuffle our priorities to pay for what we need, and what we want, gets plenty of practice since the cost of everything we buy only changes in one direction — and that’s up!

Price Isn’t the Only Factor in Food Choice

Another reason why a soda tax won’t change our buying habits is because a wide range of prices for sugar-sweetened, unsweetened and low-calorie or diet drinks is already available on the shelf. If you can’t afford the premium brand, you can always pay less for something else. But price isn’t the only, or even the main, factor that governs our selection.

I walked past 20 feet of refrigerated drinks in a convenience store recently and spent more than 5 minutes evaluating my options. I ended up choosing a brand of iced tea in a flavor I really like. I could have tried something similar that was less expensive, but I went with what I knew would satisfy my thirst and taste preferences. Taking a chance on an unfamiliar product to save a few cents wasn’t worth it to me if it meant I might not enjoy it as much. Serving size and type of container were two of the other factors I considered besides price.

All Calories Contribute Equally to Weight Gain

But some economists believe that adding a 20 cent tax to the price of a 20 ounce sweetened drink will make us switch to an untaxed and unsweetened one. The folly in this plan is that it ignores the fact we could switch from a taxed orange soda to an untaxed orange juice, which won’t reduce our caloric intake one bit since they have the same caloric value per ounce. We could also go from a brand name drink to a generic one that costs less, even with the tax, but it, too, will have the same number of calories as our original choice. How is that going to reduce obesity?

Consuming fewer total calories is the best way to lose weight, and it doesn’t matter where those calories come from. Taxing one source of calories as a means to deal with the problem is misguided. It makes far more sense to focus our efforts on teaching people how to balance the calories from all of the foods and beverages they choose with enough physical activity so they can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. And if we did that, the savings we would realize in healthcare costs could go a long way towards paying for the next hike in gasoline prices!

Disclosure: I am a consultant to The Coca-Cola Company and the Calorie Control Council, but the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.

replacing sugar with low calorie sweeteners, like Splenda, can help control weight

How Small Swaps, Choosing Foods with Less Added Sugar, Can Have Lifelong Benefits

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living and published on April 1, 2014. You can read the original blog here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

The history of weight loss is filled with outlandish diets and bizarre gimmicks that promise to “melt fat away” while you sleep. If only that were possible! But as I like to remind my clients, if any one of those crazy schemes really worked, there would be no need for the next one. Yet quicker than you can say chocolate cream pie, another miracle diet comes along filling people with hope that it might be the one to do the trick for them.

While there is no magic bullet that can produce instant weight loss, there is a way to reach your goal weight without one. Just live each day as if you’re already there. This approach really makes sense since even if you could miraculously wake up at your goal weight, you’d still need a plan to help you maintain it.

By doing the things now that you would do if you had already reached your goal, you can make steady progress towards a lower weight while reinforcing the behaviors that will help you stay there once you get there.

Trading in Old Habits for New

A healthy lifestyle is created by reinforcing a series of good habits to govern our food choices, activity level, sleep routine and other personal care. Once we have the right habits in place we no longer have to think about making the right choices, they just happen automatically.

By taking a closer look at our food habits we can find ways to reduce our caloric intake without resorting to extreme diets. For example, most of us don’t have to think about how we like our coffee or what dressing we want on our salad. Those “decisions” have become automatic over time.

If we substitute a packet of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in our coffee to replace two teaspoons of sugar we can eliminate 28 calories per cup. For someone who drinks 3 cups of coffee a day that will add up to a potential savings of 84 calories! And just by using two tablespoons of fat-free ranch dressing in our salad instead of regular creamy ranch we can remove another 100 calories easily.

Here are 7 Simple Swaps with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener or sucralose (the sweetening ingredient in all SPLENDA® Sweetener Products) that can save you even more calories without giving up the good taste of the foods and drinks you love. The trick is to make it a habit to choose the lower calorie or sugar-free option as part your healthy lifestyle.

 

7 Simple Calorie-Saving (and Sugar Reducing) Swaps


Note: Calorie savings are approximate, based on standard serving sizes and an average of similar products. In some cases they are not only the result of the sucralose substitution for sugar (sucralose is the sweetening ingredient found in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products); other ingredients may provide calorie savings as well.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

Each sugar substitute is made from a different compund

Sucralose, Stevia, Aspartame, What’s the Difference?

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me

FACT VS. FICTION: ALL SUGAR SUBSTITUTES ARE THE SAME

The low-calorie sweeteners we have today all come from different sources and different techniques are used to make them.

It’s important to remember that when you hear news about low-calorie sweeteners, they are often discussed as if they’re all the same. They’re not, and the differences can be significant.

What’s in a Name?

Several different umbrella terms are used to describe the category I refer to as “low-calorie sweeteners.” They include non-nutritive sweeteners, zero-calorie sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners, intense sweeteners and alternative sweeteners to name a few.

When I see or hear a news report that uses one of these terms, I always pay attention to find out which specific sweetener the story is about. Since they aren’t all the same, the results of a study using one of them won’t necessarily apply to all of them. I’ve learned that I have to read the entire study rather than rely on the news coverage about sweeteners to determine which one was used. That is especially true with some of the stories on diet sodas that don’t make it clear what sweeteners are involved. And many studies involving low-calorie sweeteners aren’t designed to demonstrate cause and effect, but the headlines can make it seem like they are.

Here are the names of the most common low-calorie sweeteners sold as retail sweeteners or found in prepared foods and beverages:

  • acesulfame potassium (ace-K)
  • aspartame
  • monk fruit extract (luo han guo)
  • saccharin
  • stevia
  • sucralose

Different Sources for Different Sweeteners

Taking a closer look at the source and/or makeup of each low-cal sweetener makes it easier to understand why each one should be treated individually. It also helps to explain why they perform differently in different food and beverage applications.

Aspartame is made from two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, which are commonly found in foods with protein. When these two amino acids are put together in specific ways they are extremely sweet, yet readily released from the sweeteners during digestion and absorbed just like the amino acids found in meat, eggs and other foods.

Saccharin and acesulfame potassium (ace-K) are synthesized from carbon and minerals commonly found in other foods (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur and potassium). They, too, are intensely sweet and are excreted soon after ingesting and not stored in the body.

Stevia and monk fruit extract are made by isolating and concentrating the sweet compounds found in certain plant leaves and fruit.

Sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in SPLENDA® Sweeteners, is a modified form of sucrose, or sugar. It is changed by removing hydrogen-oxygen groups from certain places on the sucrose molecule and putting chlorine in their place. It’s important to remember that chlorine is also found in many safe components of food. This change makes the sucralose molecule much sweeter than sugar, but with none of the calories. Most of the sucralose we consume passes through our bodies unchanged, and it all leaves the body very quickly without being broken down for energy.

As you can see, some of the low-cal sweeteners you use at home have unique formulations. All taste sweet and have no calories per serving, but that’s where their similarities end. That’s worth remembering the next time you hear someone trying to lump them all together as if they were the same ingredient in different colored packets.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

 

Dr. Oz continues to make unsupported claims about sugar substitutes

Misinformation About Sugar Substitutes Continues on The Dr. Oz Show

You can see and hear my interview with The Skinny On Low Cal about the recent Dr. Oz Show that continued his misguided attack on low calorie sweeteners here: Myth-busting the Recent Dr. Oz segment on Low Calorie Sweeteners . Don’t be fooled by all his circus tricks. The published and peer-reviewed science says these sweeteners are safe and an effective tool for weight management when used as part of a balanced diet along with regular exercise. That is also the opinion of international food regulatory agencies and trusted health organizations including the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

 

Disclosure: I am a consultant to the Calorie Control Council, but all statements are my own.

woman weighting herself on balance beam scale

Do Low-Calorie Sweeteners like SPLENDA® Cause Weight Gain?

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here.

THE POWER OF MYTHS AND OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WEIGHT CONTROL

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

At one time or another we’ve all experienced the jaw-dropping discovery that something we believed to be true, isn’t. I still can recall the unsettling moments in my childhood when I found out the truth about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy!

If you’ve had similar situations where something that you thought was a fact suddenly became fiction, then you understand the power of myths.

Myths often begin as a way to explain things we don’t understand. Based on my 30+ years as a consulting dietitian I know that over time myths can become “common knowledge” as more and more people accept and repeat them. Soon, there’s no one left to question whether that information is true or not, and the myth becomes part of our reality.

That is why it can be is so hard to accept some of the scientific reports we hear these days. When they challenge our long held beliefs, our initial reaction is to reject them, even if we have no evidence to support our version of the truth.

Too Much Myth-Information around Weight Gain

The subject of weight loss is one where myths and misinformation often collide. I like to call the result myth-information. Here are just a few examples of widely reported myths I’ve bet you’ve heard before:

  • Eating late at night makes you gain weight
  • Starchy foods increase belly fat
  • Sugar substitutes (even SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener, heaven forbid!) can cause obesity

None of those statements is true based on the best scientific evidence available, but many people still believe them. They have a hard time accepting the research that shows it is the total number of calories we consume each day that contributes to weight gain, not the time of day we eat them. Similarly, some people have doubts about the studies that demonstrate starchy foods, or foods high in carbohydrates, are no more likely to produce belly fat than any other source of calories.

Letting go of the myth about sugar substitutes and weight gain is particularly difficult for some people, despite the evidence to the contrary.

Research on the biggest users of sugar substitutes has found they are most often people who are trying to control their weight and improve the quality of their diets. In fact, a study of participants enrolled in the Weight Control Registry showed regular use of foods and beverages sweetened with low calorie sweeteners, including SPLENDA®, is a common strategy employed by those who have had long-term success maintaining a significant weight loss. (Note: SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener is a brand name for sucralose, the sweetening ingredient in all SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, and has been enjoyed by millions of consumers for over 20 years.)

Using a low cal sweetener such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener in place of sugar, is probably not enough to make you reach your weight loss goal, but can certainly help, and is one of many small changes you can make in your diet and physical activity to get there. Just like using smaller plates to control portion sizes and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, small changes can add up to big results when they become part of a healthy lifestyle.

If you find it hard letting go of a myth, it may help to remember that it probably began to explain something we once didn’t understand. But after we have the facts to explain it, we don’t need the myth any more.

You can look forward to more truth telling in my upcoming blogs on SPLENDA LIVING™, which I promise will be based on science and well-documented facts, not myth-information.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

For more information, please visit:

  • Sacks FM, Bray GA, Carey VJ et al. Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. N Engl J Med. 2009;360(9):859-873
  • Anderson GH, Foreyt J, Sigman-Grant M, Allison DB. The Use of Low-Calorie Sweeteners by Adults: Impact on Weight Management. J Nutr. 2012;142(6):S1163-S1169
  • Sigman-Grant MJ, Hsieh G. Reported Use of Reduced-sugar Foods and Beverages Reflect High-quality Diets. J Food Sci. 2005;70(1):S42-S46
  • Phelan S, Lang W, Jordan D, Wing RR. Use of artificial sweeteners and fat-modified foods in weight loss maintainers and always-normal weight individuals. Int J Obes.2009;33(10):1183-1190
A look past the headlines reveals the truth about the safety of low calorie sweeteners

Is it the Science or the Sweeteners?

CONCERNS ABOUT LOW CALORIE SWEETENERS OFTEN STEM FROM A MISREPRESENTATION OF THE SCIENCE

Those colorful little packets of low calorie sweeteners have been on tabletops since the 1950’s when the pink ones first appeared. The blues ones followed in 1981, with yellow, green and orange filling in the rainbow over the next 30 years. The sweetening agents in those packets have also been used in thousands of foods and beverages providing us with a range of sugar free and reduced or no calorie products.

For those of us who have been regular users of low calorie sweeteners in one form or another, their availability has added up to countless calories that we haven’t consumed since they’ve been available. I find it comforting to know I’ve saved 140 calories for every can diet soda I’ve drunk, 30 calories for each packet of sweetener I’ve used and 120 calories for every 8 ounce container of light yogurt I’ve eaten. And I could go on.

So if, like me, you’re also a regular user of low calorie sweeteners, you’re probably wondering why everyone hasn’t embraced their calorie-saving benefits. After following all of the negative press they have received, I think I can explain.

Science Isn’t Emotional

Whenever you see a headline or hear a news broadcast about low calorie sweeteners they always tilt towards the sensational. It seems no one can talk about them rationally, objectively, unemotionally.

But questions that can be answered by sound scientific research are not emotional. The answers are reached by following precise, methodological procedures and the results are published so all the world can see them.

Everyone may not like the results, but you can’t argue with facts. Yet when it comes to reports on low cal sweeteners, they’re always tainted with opinion, conjecture and suspicion.

There is No Conspiracy

Speaking of suspicion, some of the controversy surrounding the safety of low cal sweeteners stems from the belief by a radical minority that you can’t trust the FDA, a government agency, for ruling on the safety of what’s in our food. These naysayers actually believe the chemists, microbiologists, toxicologists, food technologists, pathologists, molecular biologists, pharmacologists, nutritionists, epidemiologists, mathematicians, sanitarians, physicians and veterinarians who serve as food safety experts at the FDA are all corrupt.

I don’t believe in that conspiracy, but for those who do, I have three questions:

  1. If you don’t trust the FDA’s ruling on low cal sweeteners, what about the thousands of other products they have jurisdiction over, including food additives, infant formula, cosmetics, non-prescription drugs, medical devices, and veterinary products?
  2. How do you explain the fact that the regulatory agencies in more than 100 countries have reviewed the research on low calorie sweeteners and have also found them to be safe for use by their populations?
  3. Do you also doubt the integrity of independent health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Diabetes Association, since they, too, have endorsed the safety of low calorie sweeteners?

shutterstock_102057922

New Research Doesn’t Cancel Out Old

Even if you accept the wisdom of the experts, what do you do when a new study comes along that “suggests” a particular low calorie sweetener “may” be “linked” to some problem? Whatever you do, don’t toss out all your diet drinks and sugar-free desserts. Those studies do not prove the sweetener caused the problem in question. The researchers have simply made a “connection” between point A and point B, and they’d have to do a whole lot more research in order to connect those dots.

If and until that research is done using the kinds of studies that can prove cause and effect, preferably in human beings, the existing body of evidence stands firm. It helps to keep in mind that much of the scientific process is based on trial and error, and half of that process results is errors. That’s why we don’t abandon the proven and tested body of evidence we already have based on a single study.

 

How Much Evidence Is Enough?

But for those who still aren’t convinced we know enough about low calorie sweeteners, I offer these final facts:

  • over 200 studies have been done that support the safety and effectiveness of low cal sweeteners
  • low calorie sweeteners have been used around the world for over 40 years
  • more than 200,000,000 people (that’s 200 million) safely use and enjoy low calorie sweeteners!

As a registered dietitian who has been advising consumers about healthy eating habits for over 35 years I feel confident that low calorie sweeteners are not a problem. And when they are used in place of sugar as part of a balanced diet complemented by regular physical activity they can help prevent weight gain – and that is a really big problem.

Low calorie sweeteners can help you enjoy the sweet life and control your cravings

Low-Calorie Sweeteners and Sweet Cravings

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here.

LEARN HOW TO SATISFY YOUR SWEET CRAVINGS WITH LOW CALORIE SWEETENERS

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Have you ever wished we lived in a world where you could eat whatever you wanted and not have to worry about gaining weight or getting sick? If you have, you’re not alone. Sadly, until that distant planet is discovered we have to pay attention to what and how much we eat to stay healthy here on earth.

But that doesn’t mean we can never have the foods we crave. I know I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I couldn’t enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie once in a while.

PLEASE PASS THE CHOCOLATE

Anyone who has had an intense desire to eat a certain food has experienced a food craving. What separates a craving from hunger is the desire for a very specific food, while almost any food can satisfy hunger.

If this sounds familiar to you, then you can count yourself among the 97% of us who have had food cravings. Studies show women report more of them than men, and the frequency, strength and types of foods women crave are different, too. But the one food more of us crave than any other is chocolate!

ICE CREAM AND BOO BOOS

As common as they are, the reasons behind food cravings are poorly understood. One popular theory is that we learn to associate certain foods with positive feelings early in life, such as getting an ice cream cone after we skin our knee.

Eating ice cream after a fall probably did help us forget about our boo-boos when we were children. Unfortunately, the more the connection was reinforced between special foods and feeling better, the harder it became to break. That is why so many adults still deal with all types of discomfort, both physical and emotional, by eating foods they crave.

SATISFYING OUR SWEET TOOTH WITH SPLENDA® SWEETENER

Other theories about what trigger food cravings include meal monotony, rigid food restrictions and nutritional imbalances. Is it any wonder why weight loss diets are so hard to stick to? They’re often boring, unpalatable and incomplete, so our food cravings get the best of us.

If your food cravings lead you to something sweet, there is a way to satisfy that desire and still keep your calories under control. Using a no cal sweetener, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, in place of sugar lets us have the sweet taste we want without all the calories.

And despite what you may have read somewhere on the Internet, there is nothing in SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, or any other low calorie sweetener, that will increase or extend our desire for sweets. I know there have been some of contradictory studies on this topic covered in the media, which can be confusing. However, the scientific evidence points in the opposite direction by showing that low cal sweeteners do not stimulate appetite or food intake and don’t cause weight gain. One of their biggest advantages is how they can help reduce caloric intake and consequently body weight.

Of course, we still have to pay attention to what triggers our food cravings and how we deal with them, but we don’t have to completely avoid all the foods we crave. Sometimes we may just need to take a smaller portion and savor every bite to feel satisfied.

MAKING EVERY DAY A LITTLE SWEETER

To help keep my sweet tooth in check I start my day with a delicious breakfast parfait made by sprinkling SPLENDA® Sweetener on some high-fiber cereal and plain yogurt layered with fresh berries. Later in the day I whirl SPLENDA® into a frothy iced latte made with fat free milk for the perfect afternoon pick-me up. And when I really want to have a chocolate chip cookie, I know I can take one from my freezer, made using a SPLENDA® recipe, and warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave oven for a sweet treat.

I am a firm believer in practicing what I preach. That’s why I am confident in providing this sensible nutrition advice: By including foods and beverages made with low calorie sweeteners in our daily diets we can enjoy the sweet taste we love, but with fewer calories. It’s almost like living in a perfect world!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

Keep your New Years Resolution to eat well with these tips for Super Bowl appetizers

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Even During the Big Game!

This post was written as a guest blog for Splenda Living. You can read the original post here.

Put SPLENDA® Sweetener in Your Game Plan!
I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

There’s nothing like a new calendar signaling the start of a brand new year to motivate us to lose the weight we may have gained during the holiday season. That must be why New Year’s Resolutions are so easy to make But by the end of January the first big obstacle many of us will have to tackle is around the corner – parties to celebrate the Big Game. If your year of healthier eating has started off strong, don’t let this football feeding frenzy throw you out of bounds.

What you need is a strategy to carry you through game day, just as your team’s quarterback needs a playbook to move the ball down the field. In fact, planning to win will help you with every “interference” that may come your way in the year ahead.

Step Up Your Activity

One way we can get in shape after the holidays, and to prepare for the extra calories that often go with football parties, is by increasing our energy output long before game day. Wearing a pedometer to count your daily steps is a great way to set goals and measure your progress.

If you regularly work out in a gym, try adding 10 minutes or more to each workout or add another day to your weekly workout schedule to burn more calories. The best part is, if you stick to this new routine you should reach your weight management and fitness goals even sooner.

Plate Every Portion

Party food tends to be indulgent, but even worse, we sometimes eat it mindlessly. How can you keep track of how many chips and how much dip you’ve eaten when you’re cheering on your favorite team? I know I can’t.

The best way around this dilemma is to plate everything you’re going to eat before putting it in your mouth. You can use a cocktail napkin, small paper plate or drink cup to serve yourself the portion you want to eat instead of endlessly reaching into the big bowls of snacks and platters of food all around you. I find this especially helpful when faced with easily munchable treats like roasted peanuts, kettle corn and candy.

Even vegetables can be a problem if you end up eating too much high calorie dip with them. That’s why I use a piece of celery to scoop a tablespoon of dip onto my plate, then add plenty of vegetables to go with it. Not only does it help control the amount of dip I eat, it prevents double-dipping, too.

Rethink Your Recipes

Another way to save calories you’ll never miss is by preparing your party foods using low calorie ingredients, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners instead of sugar, Neufchatel cheese instead of cream cheese, and reduced fat sour cream instead of regular. Best of all, these simple substitutions can lower the excess saturated fat and added sugar content of many recipes in addition to lowering the calories, and that’s good for everyone.

Of course, we still want these popular dishes to taste delicious, which is why I turn to tried-and-true recipes like those found on SPLENDA.com. Three big winners for me are Sweet Red Pepper Hummus, Raspberry Cocktail Sauce with Chilled Shrimp and Sweet and Crunchy Nuts. If you’re asked to bring something to the party, why not make one of these and see if you agree with me?

Score Every Point You Can!

Staying on track with your eating and exercise resolutions for the New Year is one way you can win by losing, so make every calorie count. Using SPLENDA® Sweeteners instead of sugar can help, especially since Valentine’s Day is just two weeks after the Big Game!

For more delicious appetizers and salads sweetened with SPLENDA® Sweetener: http://recipes.splenda.com/recipes?category_id=1-Appetizer

If you haven’t signed up for the SPLENDA® Recipe Club, to receive THE SWEET DISH® e-newsletter (for free), you can do so here: https://www.splenda.com/recipe-club-signup.

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.

Differing research results may be due to different research methodologies

Is SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (Sucralose) Safe? Authorities We Can Trust

This blog was written as a guest post for SPLENDA LIVING™ site. You can access the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

One of the fascinating things about scientific research – at least to me – is that the more studies there are that attempt to answer a particular question, the more likely there will be conflicting results.

The reason for the different outcomes is that every study that sets out to answer a particular question isn’t conducted in exactly the same way. Some studies use human subjects while others use animals. Some have only a few subjects, while some have hundreds. Some research is conducted for a week or two; other research goes on for decades.

There are also different methods used to answer scientific questions. One method is to design a study to prove whether “X” causes “Y.” This type of study is regarded as the gold standard in scientific research because it leaves no room for doubt – the same results should occur every time the study is done.

Another method is to look for common traits among a group of subjects and what outcomes are associated with those traits, such as the correlation found between gardening and longevity. This type of study is useful in identifying links between certain traits and conditions, but it does not provide evidence that the traits cause the conditions. In the case of gardening and longevity, further research would be needed to prove whether the act of gardening adds years to your life or something else, such as people who keep gardens eat more vegetables.

Understanding these differences in the way research is done is the key to understanding why new studies occasionally come along that contradict the old. Unfortunately, nothing improves newspaper sales, TV ratings or website hits like a good headline, so these offbeat studies are often blown out of proportion by the media covering them.

If you’ve heard or read conflicting reports about the safety of low calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® Brand Sweetener (sucralose), then you know what I’m talking about. But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s more to the story (and to the study) than you can fit in a twitter feed!

The truth is, some of the people writing the news often have not even read the study; they rely on a press release for their “scoop.” By reading the complete study it is possible to see how the research was conducted – and how it differed from other research on the topic – and what conclusions were drawn at the end. What I have learned is they often do not match the claims being made in those newsreels.

But who has the time or ability to read every new study that gets published? I know I don’t, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be in the know. My rule of thumb is to simply wait six months for the dust to settle after the release of any contradictory report. Then, after all of the experts have had a chance to critique it, I wait for their conclusions to see if the contradictory study had any merit. Most often, it didn’t, which is why I continue to enjoy SPLENDA® Sweetener Products as part of my diet.

 

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating again.

 

When low calorie sweeteners are used in cooking and baking other adjustments may be needed in recipes.

Cooking & Baking with Low Calorie Sweeteners

This blog was written as a guest post for SPLENDA LIVING™ site. You can access the original post here.

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

If, like me, you enjoy cooking and baking, then you know there are many ways to sweeten a recipe. Some popular caloric sweeteners I always have on hand include granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup. Even if you don’t spend much time in front of the mixing bowls, you’re probably familiar with these ingredients. They don’t all look the same, come from the same source or produce the same results when incorporated into a recipe, but they all taste sweet.

The same can be said for low calorie sweeteners. Each one is a different product from a different source with different applications, but they all taste sweet.

Understanding the unique features of low calorie sweeteners is the best way to let them fill the sweet spot in your diet.

Matching Sweetness to Sugar

An important difference between caloric and low cal sweeteners is how much is needed to reach a desired level of sweetness. Due to the intense sweetening power of no cal sweeteners over that of sugar, only a very small amount of them is needed to match the sweetness of sugar. For example, the sucralose in SPLENDA® Sweetener Products is 600 times sweeter than sucrose.

What some people may not realize when using tabletop low calorie sweeteners is that many, on a per packet basis, have the equivalent sweetness of 2 teaspoons of sugar, as SPLENDA® Sweetener does. In comparison a packet of sugar contains slightly less than a teaspoon. And since low cal sweeteners dissolve so quickly, your drink may seem sweeter than expected compared to using sugar.

Low Calorie Sweeteners in the Kitchen

Your recipes may require some adjustments. Low cal sweeteners do not provide all of the functionality of sugar in cooking and baking. Since sugar can do more than just sweeten, other adjustments may be needed to replace the other functions sugar performs, such as browning and adding volume and moistness.

My personal preference is to save the trial and error that occurs when I do the experimenting myself, and use the recipes that have been developed in the test kitchens for my favorite sweetener. I have had great success with those from SPLENDA® Sweetener, whether cooking for holidays or everyday meals.

Packets versus Bulk Form

If you want to use packets to replace the sugar in a recipe, you must calculate how many to use by counting each packet as 2 teaspoons of sugar sweetness. Some people may prefer to use products developed for cooking and baking, like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, which can replace the sugar called for in your recipes cup-for-cup. Other options are SPLENDA® Sugar Blend and SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, both great for baking since they contain some sugar and can provide the volume, texture, moistness and browning with only half the calories.

All SPLENDA® Sweetener Recipes from the SPLENDA® Sweetener kitchen have been developed and tested to make sure each one is a sweet success, when prepared as directed. If you don’t find a recipe you’re looking for in their library, read and follow the easy guidelines listed below (under “More Info”) before you begin adapting your own recipes. And please share your sweet successes here at SplendaLiving.com or on the SPLENDA® Facebook page!

Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating again.