By davidvermont Latest Reply 2011-12-21 18:55:41 -0600
Started 2010-06-06 20:29:26 -0500

I have read here the posts about the hazzards of diet soda and I have cut them out almost entirely. But I find it virtually impossible to cut out all artificial sweeteners. I have for example, switched to decaf coffee but I can;t enjoy it without one packet of sweetener. Are there any that are ok or better than others: eg. splenda vs equal? And what about things like sorbital? I know sweetness makes one crave more sweetness and I have cut back. But is there any safe way I can add a little sweetness to food and beverages?

54 replies

jigsaw 2011-12-21 14:32:11 -0600 Report

That's a great question! I have read that stevia has been in use in some countries for hundreds of years. Its is derived from a stevia plant and is completely natural in its raw form. On the other hand, splenda is made using a chemical process and equal is also artificial. There is negative info on both splenda and equal, but I have never seen anything specifically negative about stevia. A few naturopathic doctors that I have questioned, feel it is a safe product. I do not believe there are any known side effects in general from stevia. Splenda is suspect for causing problems with synapse of the brain causing a loss in cognition (with long term use). There is an article about it in the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Apparently, there is no hard core proof as to the dangers or safety of these sweetners, just a ton of opinions and non-conclusive testing. The bottom line, it's your choice! I prefer stevia.

Caroltoo 2011-12-21 18:55:41 -0600 Report

Jigsaw: That is the information that I have read also. It comes from a plant indigenous to South America. The real plus for me is that you only have to use a little Stevia because it is so much sweeter than sugar is.

Marytea 2011-07-25 09:34:06 -0500 Report

Everyone's taste buds are different, but stevia has a strange after taste me and not a very intense sweetness. I like Splenda best.

OLIE 2010-08-31 20:24:56 -0500 Report

I don.t care what they say about diet soda. that is about the only thig I drink. I only use splenda I realy like the taste of it. I can still remember some of the things that were out when I was a kid. I been doing this for almost 42 years.

Yve 2010-08-31 00:25:45 -0500 Report

I use Stevia exclusively (prefer Sweetleaf brand). I've found the best and most economical sources are at ($4.95 Flat Rate S&H on ALL orders). But recently I have started buying my organics and stevia at I make sure I have at least $25 / order and there's NO S&H. (It's amazing the # of grocery items that are available at the site at great prices, especially in bulk.) It seems that VitaCost &Amazon are competing. hope this helps everyone with cost effectiveness and good health.

howdah 2010-08-28 22:09:27 -0500 Report

I use Stevia that I buy at Trader Joe's. It is the least expensive I have found. I have a jar of it for home use and packets to carry in my purse. I try to avoid artificial sweeteners as much as possible, and when I use it I use it very sparingly.

Jazz 2010-08-28 18:51:30 -0500 Report

I found one called stevivaand it is better and sweeter than any I have used how ever you can only get it at the web comes in a green jar for 12.95 and last for 3 or 4 months there is a very small spoon in side and that is all you need

mysticjagnes 2010-08-28 18:36:16 -0500 Report

I've tried them all but I gotta say that Stevia or Stevita is my mainstay. Also, if you want to make icing or sweeten up fat free cream cheese - "Whey Low" has brown sugar and powdered sugar! And it's good. However, I am lactose intolerant so it comes with a price for me because it comes from milk.

Dawn62 2010-08-28 11:01:24 -0500 Report

Hello Everyone,
I have recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and have had to make a lot of changes like you. One of those changes was to cut out sugar. I have tried several different artificial sweeteners and the only one I found to come close to the substitute for sugar was Splenda but, it still didn't seem to do the job unless I used 2-3 packets. Then my Landlady told me about 'Truvia!' Like the other sweeteners I put it to the test with Strawberries…after all, what are strawberries without sugar! lol I sprinkled a small amount on the strawberries and it was like having a spoonful of sugar on them…it was Great! So…much to my surprise, I have found my new 'sugar' substitute! Truvia is a Nature's Calorie-Free Sweetener with 0 calories, 0g total fat-0%, 0mg-0% sodium, 3g-1% total carbohydrates/3g Erythritol, 0g protein. I know Splenda has less than 1g-0% total carbs. but as I said, I can use one packet of Truvia to get the effect of sugar as to using 2-3 packets of Splenda. Best Wishes To All.

LarryakaStlX 2010-08-28 10:22:19 -0500 Report

Great dialog everyone! I use a lot of nutrasweet in my oatmeal almost every morning like 7 to 8 packets in my bowl! I never heard that it could be that bad for me. But after reading everyones replys sounds like I need to stop that! I have noticed when I eat my oatmeal in the am before my walk that even after my walk my BS are in the 200's! Has anyone else seen this using nutra in oatmeal?

Mithrill 2010-08-28 09:04:45 -0500 Report

I'am on my third year of herbal studies and have done a lot of investigating on the subject. Most of your packaged sweeteners have un-natural additives, mostly chemicals.I lost 74 pounds with the help of STEVIA. It is an all natural herb, and i use the extract.All it takes is a few drops, of course you will have to work with it on how sweet you like it to taste but usually a half ounce will last me a month. I use a whole food store, or health food store, that really is the only place you can find it.

newbie51 2010-08-28 08:07:00 -0500 Report

My doctor wanted me to use Splenda and that is what I use. I tried Equal before and it gave me a headache. But it all depends on your taste buds.

shyozz 2010-08-25 12:44:39 -0500 Report

Well after reading all of this I think i will stick with Splenda for now. I have checked out some of this stuff in the stores and they are just way to expensive for someone like me who lives on FS. I actually buy the Wal-Mart brand because it is way less expensive than Splenda. I have not had any bad spikes in a while so I guess it's working for me.
Luv to ya all

sjcorb 2010-08-28 11:14:05 -0500 Report

I use sun crystals which I buy at Walmart. I'm not sure if it is a Walmart brand or not but I need less for sweetness. It contains stevia and 1 gram of sugar which equals 4 calories.

Daskylinegal 2010-06-17 13:24:18 -0500 Report

Hmmm..I have had diabetes for many years since I was a child, they are always saying substitute sugars are bad, except I know sweet N Low has been around for many years, I love diet soda, in today's world this is all they talk about, how this is bad for you, etc. etc.
What is really good for us to eat in the world? LoL..good luck on finding the answer..
God Speed~~

Siddhartha 2010-06-16 15:33:22 -0500 Report

Lots of good things being done with stevia (sweetleaf). Swansons vitamins advertises monk fruit powder as a no calorie sweetner…havent tried it yet. anyone try agave nectar…i've heard rumblings that it might be an option for us D's also?


sjcorb 2010-08-28 11:18:51 -0500 Report

My neice brought some with her on a visit and I didn't care for the taste but it does fill the need for sweetness. Also I find the longer you eat less sweetness the less you require. . ..God Bless

GabbyPA 2010-06-18 08:34:15 -0500 Report

I like Agave. I use the raw agave which is the light colored one. Not the amber one which is processed. I have read and posted articles that it is as bad as HFCS, but then a member explained that it is because sometimes the producers of Agave add HFCS to the mix because it is cheaper. I only get 100% agave and only raw. I don't have issues with it spiking my sugar, even though it does have about 16g of carbs per serving. I like the flavor of it in hot tea a lot, and that is pretty much the only place I use it. Though my family likes it on pancakes, muffins and in other drinks.

tammico 2010-06-13 06:15:55 -0500 Report

Any advise on zylitol???

GabbyPA 2010-06-13 11:19:01 -0500 Report

I have used Xylitol and it is okay. Very expensive compared to many. It is the primary sweetener in toothpaste. It cooks okay, and mixes well in cold or hot drinks.

ccritch 2010-06-10 13:20:30 -0500 Report

Hi All,

I read it is better to use natural sugar than artificial sweetners. But watch how much. If I need sweetner I use Honey in place of it all natural sweetner! I don't use sugar or artificial sweetners, I like coffee w/o sugar or cream and Unsweetened Tea another favorite, I can't handle sugarfee syrup It has an awful after taste, so I try not to make pancakes too often or french toast but depriving myself of my favorite breakfast.

Glamour 2010-06-10 00:41:13 -0500 Report

Oh yeah, is something wrong with Caffeine for us? Why switch to Decaf? Thanks!

Swbtab03 2010-06-16 15:42:28 -0500 Report

As far as I know, coffee black does not effect our sugar, decaf never in this lifetime, I'm a coffeeaholic cannot take that away from me. You will see a grown man cry over food/liquid on this.

Glamour 2010-06-10 00:39:48 -0500 Report

Hello, happy to hear about Sweetleaf, I just wrote them and asked for a sample, we'll see what happens. I am wary of artificial sweetners, to me they taste metallic and medicinal. I have just broken the sweetining habit for the most part, and use Splenda (the only one I can barely stand) when I just must, you know what I mean.
Hope this Sweetleaf stuff is groovy.

davidvermont 2010-06-09 10:20:31 -0500 Report

I just ordered some Sweetleaf product. Kind of pricey but I'm anxious to try it. Thanks to all for the comments and advice.

Shellyelaine 2010-06-08 12:09:39 -0500 Report

I like to use Agave nectar for my pancakes and in my tea sometimes. I like it because it comes from a plant. It does have carbs though. I mostly buy it for my 7 yr. old son who can't have High Fructose Corn Syrup. I also like liquid stevia that comes in flavors. I add it to carbonated water to take the place of sodas. I also add to smoothies and to plain yogurt. There is all different flavors. Lemon drop, grape, rootbeer, valencia orange, chocolate raspberry and more.

GabbyPA 2010-06-08 23:03:54 -0500 Report

Where do you find flavored stevia? That sounds really cool. I have got to start growing my own so I can experiment with things like that.

Shellyelaine 2010-06-12 23:49:01 -0500 Report

I get it at Sprouts. It comes in liquid form with a dropper.

Shellyelaine 2010-06-13 15:11:53 -0500 Report

Sprouts farmers market is a chain store. Maybe you can order it through I haven't tried. I hope you can. I love the stuff!

GabbyPA 2010-06-07 15:56:12 -0500 Report

There are so many options out there now. No more pink, blue or yellow packets for me. I use green. All the new stevia products come in green packets of some sort. Purvia is made for hot drinks, Truvia is good in anything. Sweetleaf (the only 100% stevia) is good in either but is hard to dissolve. Stevia in the raw is good for cooking with. There are more out there. Now, you do have to watch them, as some do have carbs in them. Which is fine, you just have to be aware. Now, even soft drinks are coming out with stevia in them. Sobe has Zero Lifewater that uses Purvia. I know that at one time Pepsi was going to use Purvia and Coke was going to use Truvia. But I have not seen that in the stores yet.

This way too you can make your own sugarfree jellos, make pickles into bread and butter with stevia at home and I bake with it as well. I just made some blueberry jam with it a few weeks ago. Oh, it's so good!

So while we should still cut back on the sweet, we don't have to kiss it good bye completely.

Emma2412 2010-06-07 16:51:46 -0500 Report

Oh, Gabby — let me at them blueberries. Those are my absolute top favorites, then strawberries. I've never made jam. Is it hard? What equipment do you need?

Gemm 2010-08-28 12:08:19 -0500 Report

I've been making all my own jams, jellies and preserves for several years as my husband and I are both diabetic, though initially I removed all processed sugars from my diet about 8 years ago because I had been hypoglycemic for many years and it had gone into what the doctors said was a critical stage - basically all processed sugars and even some natural actually caused my blood-sugar to drop - sometimes to a dangerous level (been known to still be walking around with it in the low 20's).

I've only used Splenda (or generics) so far but have been looking into some others just to try them. When using a splenda-type product wait until the jam is finished cooking before adding and I only use about 1/3 - 1/2 the amount regular recipes call for - depending on the natural sweetness of the fruit or berry I'm using. I find that with many berries I can make both a jam and a jelly from the same berries simply by adding a little extra water when mashing them, allow them to set for awhile then drain off the juice. I've also found it very helpful to freeze the berries for at least a few days as they juice much better when thawing then they do fresh.

I've found 2 "no sugar needed" pectins that I like - Mrs. Winters and Ball. I've used a couple others but the results haven't been nearly as good. When I've run out a couple of times I've even tried using Knox unflavored gelatin. That works fairly well but sometimes makes the resulting jam/jelly a bit too solid for spreadability.

I'm new here and have already seen some great advice. Hope to be able to contribute more in the future.

GabbyPA 2010-06-08 09:01:42 -0500 Report

It is more preparation than anything else. You need a couple of very large pots, some tongs, some canning jars and the ingredients. I have a step by step video series I did on YouTube if you want to watch it. I walk you through the prep, the ingredients, the tricks and the final product. I have made both strawberry and blueberry jams, and I really like making them at home. Here is a link to part 1, I think there are 7 total.

Flatlander 2010-08-28 10:20:41 -0500 Report

Thanks for the great hints for no sugar jam. I tried to make no sugar sand plum jam and it would never set up and I couldn't understand why. I figured it had to do with the pectin/sugar combination. I'll try it using Stevia and hope I can find the no sugar pectin. I don't remember ever seeing this before. My next question would be since the jam has no sugar, does it keep after being canned or do you need to freeze it?

davidvermont 2010-06-07 21:01:15 -0500 Report

Thanks. I will keep my eye out for those products. Sugar substitutes like sorbitol and malitol (so often seen in sugar free candy and chocolates) make havoc in my stomach.

ccritch 2010-06-10 13:14:27 -0500 Report

Stevia Does Walmart sell it, how do you make Jam! I want to try to make it. Especially Blueberry I am with Emma! Let me at em! I'll eat the whole thing! Yum. :~)

GabbyPA 2010-06-10 19:26:06 -0500 Report

Look below in this set of replys, I have a link to my YouTube video of how I made blueberry jam with stevia. I didn't have enough on hand to make it 100% with stevia, but you can get the idea from the videos.

Swbtab03 2010-06-16 15:45:38 -0500 Report

Some Walmart super centers do sell it, my smaller stores do not yet, I am a manager for Walmart. But you can always get a upc number the barcode number on the package, and ask a manager in your walmart to try and carry it, they can be accomidating if possible.

petals 2010-06-07 15:03:30 -0500 Report

I have been using splenda, but I am switching to stevia, it is all nature. Good luck.

babara 2010-06-08 12:47:17 -0500 Report

I have heard alot of good about the stevia but can not find it in my local grocery stores.

GabbyPA 2010-06-08 23:05:36 -0500 Report

It is located in either your organic section or in the area with other artificial sweeteners. Publix, Sweetbay and Winn-Dixie carry it in the south. I even saw it in Sam's Club (Truvia) for a great price.

petals 2010-06-12 13:41:37 -0500 Report

I bought Truvia at walmart and krogers has it. I also ordered sweetleaf online. Go to the bottom of this page Skip has the link to order sweetleaf there.

Emma2412 2010-06-07 10:52:15 -0500 Report

Hi, David
I've usually used Splenda, but what with increased awareness about sugar substitutes in general, I'm considering switching to Stevia packets when I run out of the Splenda. Stevia is a natural sweetener. I understand that the liquid can have an unusual taste (I personally didn't like it when I sampled it at my girlfriend's house), but she did tell me that there are powdered forms of stevia.

Crashnot 2010-06-06 21:09:25 -0500 Report

We've been using Stevia in a droplet form for a year now. Tastes find and not so much after taste as the chemical stuff. Get it from the health store. I haven't tried the more processed versions you can get at the supermarket yet.

RAYT721 2010-06-06 21:09:03 -0500 Report

Once upon a time it was pretty easy to pick sweeteners as it was for buying baby clothes… pink, blue or yellow. These days there are more and more options for sugar-free alternatives for sweeteners but each with its own ingredient list and possible effect on the body.

The best way to check the effect of the sweetener on your individual blood glucose sensitivity is with monitoring. Some sweeteners contain very small amounts of carbohydrates from bulking agents, such as dextrose. The small amounts can add up with multiple servings.

The best answer for you will come from your test meter because what works or doesn't work for me may or may not work for you.

I would think in moderation that all of the available brands are safer for you than processed white sugar. The key is moderation. What used to be a simple choice of three colors is now in excess of 15 brands of sweeteners to choose from.

If you read the ingredients list of packaged foods (all bran, crystal light, total, Quaker oatmeal, various gum brands, etc) you are bound to find a number of different sweeteners being used in different amounts. Check the labels and consider each when totaling up your carb grams per day/meal. Note: sugar free candy (ie chocolate) contains rather high carb counts even though they are sweetened artificially. Read, Test, Repeat.

Swbtab03 2010-06-16 15:56:26 -0500 Report

Hey ray, too many choices out there, most of them are just companies competing out there, like ray says read the labels you be suprised all same ingredients, or minor changes that affect you and not someone else. I personally use a packet of equel if needed, but that is if I drink my horrible coffee at work, it makes starbucks look good and I can't stand starbucks. But I will personally look into stevia seems like everyone here has good things to say about it.

mariamrg 2010-08-28 12:29:28 -0500 Report

I was recently diagnosed as a diabetic about 3 months ago, it took me a while before finding equal was prob the best sugar substitute for me.. I tried the yellow packet and the pink one still finding the blue one is the best..again for me it is.. I believe I tried stevia before but had a funny after taste. Can someone please explain why everyone is talking about Stevia? Thanks

SkipT 2010-06-06 20:42:36 -0500 Report

I use Stevia (a natural product) for sweetening my tea and coffee (decaf of course). It has been used in Japan for over 30 years. No carbs and no calories. Just make sure that you get the one that is bulked up with inulin fiber as some brands use malitol as a filler.
The website for the Sweetleaf company is: but I am able to get the stevia from my local Vitamin Shoppe. Also have found it at Jewel (Albertson's) food stores.

petals 2010-06-07 14:24:51 -0500 Report

Thank you for the link to sweetleaf. I couldn't find any around here, so I just ordered me some.

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