New No Calorie Sweetner – ZSweet

Ventana Health, Inc announced November 3, 2006 that the FDA had approved ZSweet(TM), a new no calorie sweetener and sugar alternative. I ordered a sample, which despite being “free” costs $2.95 shipping/handling. It better be a decent sized sample for three bucks.

What is Zsweet(TM)? It’s a blend of Erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol (meaning not chemically derived), and food extracts commonly found in fruits and vegetables. Zsweet™ differs from Splenda®, Equal® and Sweet ‘n’ Low® in that it contains no carbohydrate fillers and no chemically altered materials, even in trace amounts. That’s pretty cool.

What’s special about Zsweet(TM)? I have no idea. Why not just get ordinary Erythritol instead? Dunno. Sorry. I’m not the answer man. It may be marketing, but the use of Erythritol isn’t hype–it’s smart to experiment with alternative sweeteners. In fact Erythritol is synergistic with other sweeteners, so if you add a bit of Splenda and a bit of Zsweet(TM) for instance, you’ll end up with a sweeter result than if you used only one of them.

Don’t Forget the Calories in No Calorie Products

Most people don’t consider how calories add up, especially when the box doesn’t reflect the reality. For instance a label may indicate “no calorie” or “no carbs” yet if you eat five servings (yes, that teensy bag serves five), then you are getting lots of calories and carbs. Read the label, and pay close attention to serving size.

Erythritol contains about .2 calories per gram. There 28.349523128 grams in an ounce, lets round that to 28, which equals .56 calories an ounce. I don’t know how much a teaspoon of Zsweet(TM) weighs or what they consider a serving, but it’s obviously less than .50 because then the FDA allows it to be called “no calorie.” Guess the FDA figured they had to draw the line somewhere and why go all the way to zero?

If you eat tons of no calorie sweeteners, you’re eating calories. Just be sensible and you’ll have no trouble, in other words, practice a bit of portion control. I go into how to learn to eat your favorites and not go crazy in Week 5 of my 8-week Ending Emotional Eating Program.

Erythritol does not increase blood sugar levels and is healthy for diabetics. Dentists love Erythritol because it actually prevents dental cavities! Some people do experience sensitivity to sugar alcohols, meaning digestive upset, so avoid overeating foods sweetened with Zsweet(TM) (or other alternative sweeteners) and you won’t have to worry (there’s a diet idea all by itself).

A great way to start using ZSweet is simply reduce the sugar in your recipe and use ZSweet(TM), for instance if your recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, try 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cut ZSweet(TM), then write down the result. Pay attention to taste, texture, and stability too because some sweeteners affect browning, raising, and more. Baking is a science in itself.

Enjoy and if you find good recipes, send them to me! I’d love to hear your creative cooking experiences.

Splenda Brown Sugar Released

Finally, Splenda® Brown Sugar. I’ve hunted the stores for months trying to find DiabetiSweet Brown Sugar Substitute to no avail. Evidentially it didn’t sell well enough for stores to stock it, but now we’ll see how the new Splenda Brown Sugar Blend fares.

The brown sugar in the product (what they’ve added) allows consumers more of the browning, rising, texture, moistness and molasses-like flavor characteristics of baked goods made with brown sugar. Consumers need to use only one-half cup of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend to replace the sweetness of a full cup of brown sugar.

Okay, let’s think about this a minute. If Splenda Brown Sugar Blend is Splenda mixed with brown sugar, why couldn’t we do this ourselves? I hate when I pay extra for something I could mix up myself, so if anyone is experimenting, let me know.

Brown sugar Splenda is a proprietary blend of brown sugar and Splenda Brand Sweetener, or sucralose. In other words, it’s sugar. It’s also important to realize that despite all claims to the contrary, Splenda is not calorie free. The US labeling laws allow a claim of zero or “no calories” if the calorie count is less than 5 per serving. That explains why sometimes that packet of candy will claim to serve 2.3 people! So when you consume more than one serving, guess what; you’re eating lots of real calories.

Yes, Virginia, Splenda contains approximately 4 calories per teaspoon, and .9g carbohydrate. Not a huge amount, but if you enjoy an occasional Splenda packet for a snack, and plenty of people do because they think it’s calorie free, you are getting lots of unwanted calories. Five Splenda packets equals 20 calories, and so on. Every calorie counts, so don’t consume empty calories even in the form of Splenda.

If you want a snack, have an apple; 80 calories of wonderful, juicy goodness and crunch.

Splenda’s Recipe: Brown Sugar Substitute
1 cup artificial sweetener*
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup

Mix ingredients well.
Replaces 1 cup of regular brown sugar to be used when baking.

*Use type of sweetener that measures 1 cup to 1 cup of granulated sugar like Splenda, duh.

I note this recipe isn’t using brown sugar but maple syrup. I want to know how much real brown sugar they use to mix with the granulated Splenda so we can all save bucks and just mix our own. Home chemists alert! Let’s get on this detective work because this is not rocket science. The first person to crack the code wins a free t-shirt.

Remember, sugar free is not calorie free. If you make a recipe using a sugar substitute, still enjoy the same portion you would have otherwise. Don’t fall victim to the trap of thinking you can eat all you want, just because it doesn’t have any sugar.

One cup of Splenda contains 96 calories and 24g carbohydrates. One cup of sugar contains 770 calories and 192g carbohydrates. You can see how this one substitute could equal big changes in your weight. or 1-800-777-5363

Robot Dog Food Police

Weight Loss Monitoring Dog

f you don’t already have someone acting as the Food Police in your household, soon you can get a robot dog to take over that chore. Sony’s Aibo TM robot dog is being used by Cynthia Breazeal and Cory Kidd at the MIT Media Lab in their project to create a “weight loss monitoring dog.” The dog would be able to track whether you’d done your exercise and met your nutritional goals (naturally you could lie). Your Aibo would respond when you’d ask, “How am I doing?” Bark, bark! Wag, wag. Breazeal and Kidd are serious enough to have a study planned for 30 overweight Boston residents.

At first glance it seems ridiculous, but hey, as a research project it’s actually quite clever. No telling where this work will lead. Meanwhile, use a calendar and gold stars or other stickers. I’d much rather see a smiley face than hear a yapping bog anyway.

Here’s the white paper on the concept of weight loss dogs.

Diet Candy: Sales are Huge

Think you have a sweet tooth? According to Packaged Foods, diet candy sales reached $495 million in 2004, more than four times the sales in 2000. The major contributing factor appears to be the increasing versatility of many artificial sweeteners, allowing for new combinations of flavor, texture and appearance.

Food Production Daily reports that Russell Stover is the current leader in diet candy, controlling 37% of dollar sales in IRI-tracked mass-market outlets as of first quarter 2005. Following Russell Stover are Hershey at 14%, Atkins Nutritionals with 12% and Kraft and 9%.

What is Diet Candy

So called “Diet Candy” generally means sugar free or low sugar, and the proliferation of sweeteners continues to grow. FDA approved sweeteners include saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, and acesulfame-K, all available both on your supermarket shelves and as ingredients, especially in diet drinks.

Newer sweeteners are known as polyols, which provide the same bulk as sugar but are sugar free, do not promote tooth decay, and are used in a wide range of foods including chewing gum, candies, ice cream, baked goods, and fruit spreads. Polyols are generally mixed with other sweeteners, since the combination (synergy) creates an even sweeter product than either used alone.

New Sweetners: Coming Soon to a Sweet Treat Near You

New sweeteners on the horizon include dihydrochalcones, derived from citrus fruits; glycyrrhizin, a non-caloric extract of licorice root and thaumatin, a mixture of proteins from a West African fruit.

Cyclamate, banned here in 1970 as a potential carcinogen, may make a comeback as it is currently awaiting approval in the United States. Cyclamate is currently accepted and used in 50 countries. Another little known sweetener, alitame, an amino acid derivative may win approval. All of these products are many times sweeter than sucrose, and are winning the favor of food producers and consumers every day.

The bottom line: Do these low calorie, low sugar products help people lose weight?

Splenda Cost Going Down

Good news! The price of Splenda may soon be going down! The primary patent held for Splenda by Tate & Lyle has already expired. They hold numerous other patents but this still opens the door to competition. Other companies can now create Splenda as well, and will soon bring it to market under different brand names (but it will be virtually the same thing just like a generic drug). This competition will encourage price to drop which is good news for everyone (except maybe Tate & Lyle).

Despite the questionable announcement of a “shortage of Splenda” which was probably bogus (I don’t have facts, but really, a shortage? Gimme a break), now the news that the patents are expired. Coincidence? I think not.

Splenda is considered far safer than aspartame and many companies are moving to use it. Seven-up has just announced they will be brining a diet 7-Up to market sweetened with Splenda.

Hopefully the day will come with the FDA will recognize that Stevia is even better being a plant (not a chemical process), and will let it be grown and sold as a sweetener. Why they do not now is beyond me. It’s as if they declared sugar cane a drug. Sugar cane is a plant, so is Stevia. Why is one okay, and one not? Ask big business.

PowerPops – Weight Loss Aid or Scam? You Decide

The PowerPops site states, “Power-Pops formula (patent pending) uses five natural ingredients to suppress appetite and provide energy. Power-Pops have approximately 32 calories. Now you can eat candy and LOSE WEIGHT too.” Uh, huh.

Farther down they state, ” Power Pops contain 7-9 carbohydrates and 7 grams of sugar each.” I’m not sure how they are doing the math. A gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories and a gram of sugar contains 4 calories, thus having 7 grams of carbs X 4 would equal 28, plus 7 grams of sugar X 4 for another 28 calories or 56 total, but perhaps some of the sugar also counts as carbs? Who knows? I do know that eating these Power-pops four or five times a day is going to add a lot of extra calories for no nutritional value and nothing but sugar and carbs. Neat plan. Not to mention how nifty it is to continuously put something sweet in your mouth. That’ll go a long way toward breaking one of their sugar habit.

The advert continues “keep in mind that Citrimax “eats” this sugar so your body only actually consumes 1/2 of these carbs/sugars.” Whaaa? Since when does anything “eat” sugar calories? Since Neverland, that’s when.

Now Power Pops have added Hoodia, but Hoodia is not effective except in sufficient quantity. A teensy speck added to a candy lollypop isn’t going to be enough to do anything. I’d think there are far better ways than adding 100 calories (or more) to your diet in the false hope it will reduce your appetite.

A better approach? Have a cup of clear broth soup or miso soup before each meal.