April 2013
Mediterranean Diet for a Healthy Heart

Everywhere you look, there is seems to be talk about sugar and sugar substitutes, and with this talk comes an abundance of confusion on what is the best "sweetener" to use. This month I am clarifying the confusion for you and providing a simple breakdown of the newest plant based sweeteners as well as some of the popular alternatives to sugar and how they can be used.

I hope you enjoy this issue. If you are looking for a speaker for your organization to discuss tips to empower your team to a healthier life, contact me today!

- Elizabeth

Sweet Substitutes

There are many different forms of sugar and sugar alternatives and honestly it can all be very confusing! Here is a quick reference and breakdown of the most popular "sweet substitutes".

1. Stevia-
What is it? A natural sweetener, extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant
What's in it? Made from stevia leaf extract and inulin
Calories: Provides 0 calories per 1 serving packet
How to substitute for sugar: 10 - 15 times sweeter than sugar; 1 packet is equal to 1 tbsp. of sugar.

2. Truvia-
What is it? A natural sweetener, extracted from the leaves of the stevia plant
What's in it: Made from erythritol, stevia leaf extract, and natural flavors.
Calories: Provides 0 calories per 1 serving packet.
How to substitute for sugar: One packet provides same sweetness as 2 tsp. of sugar.

3. Nectresse-
What is it? Sweetness extracted from the Monk fruit (a small round melon) created by the makers of Splenda
What's in it? It contains monk fruit extract, erythritol, sugar, and molasses.
Calories: It provides 0 calories per 1 packet serving.
How to substitute for sugar: 150-200 times sweeter than sugar; 1 packet is equal to the sweetness of 2 tsp. of sugar.

4. Agave Nectar-
What is it? A natural sweetener extracted from the core of the Blue Agave plant; 25% sweeter than sugar.
What's in it? Made from Organic Blue Agave nectar (light).
Calories: Provides 60 calories from 1 tbsp.
How to substitute for sugar: of a tbsp. is equal to 1 tbsp. of sugar. Be aware of other necessary recipe changes on an individual basis.

5. Sugar Alcohols-
What is it: Occur naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables, but are commercially produced from carbohydrates such as sucrose, glucose, and starch. Common sugar alcohols are mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, isomalt, maltitol and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH)
What's in it: Made from various polyols
Calories: Provides 0-3 calories/gram (varies depending on the particular sugar alcohol) at less than 20 g/ day
How to substitute for sugar: Sugar alcohols are not generally used by the public; and instead are applied in industrial settings

6. Honey-
What is it? A natural sweetener made by bees for their own nourishment
What's in it? Made from water, fructose, glucose, other sugars, minerals, amino acids, proteins
Calories: Provides 127 calories per 1oz. serving
How to substitute for sugar: It is about 25% sweeter than sugar. Substitute -3/4 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar. Be aware of other necessary recipe changes on an individual basis

7. Molasses-
What is it? The byproduct of the sugar refining process
What's in it? Made from various natural sugar sources
Calories: Provides 32 calories per 2 tsp.
How to substitute for sugar: cup molasses equals 1 cup of sugar
Pink, Blue, Yellow, White, & Brown?

Everyone is used to the big dilemma when dining out: Should you select the Pink, Blue, Yellow, White or Brown Sweetener? Here is a simple breakdown of the differences so that you can make a more informed decision.

Pink- Sweet'n Low: Developed in 1957, Sweet'n Low is a no calorie sweetener that is derived from saccharin. It also contains dextrose and cream of tartar. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose or common sugar.

Blue- Equal: On the market for over 25 years, Equal is a no-calorie sweetener made from dextrose with maltodextrin and the sweetening ingredients aspartame and acesulfame potassium. The product is 200 times sweeter than sucrose or common sugar.

Yellow- Splenda: Created by British College and FDA approved in 1998, it is a 0 calorie sweetener made from sucralose (containing dextrose and maltodextrin). It is 600 times sweeter than sucrose or common sugar.

White-Table Sugar: The most commonly known granulated sugar can be found just about everywhere. A typical packet of sugar found in most restaurants will contains approximately 1 tsp. of sugar; 1 tsp. of sugar provides 15 calories.

Brown- Sugar in the Raw: Created from unbleached cane sugar (sucrose) which therefore helps it maintain it's golden to light brown coloring. A typical packet of raw sugar will contain approximately 1.33 tps. and provide 20 calories.
Banana Flax Smoothie
Reproduced with permission from Food and Health Communications (www.foodandhealth.com)

This smoothie is a nutrient and energy powerhouse. Enjoy it in the morning or for a late night snack.

1 cup skim or soy milk
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1 banana
2 tablespoon ground flax (grind in blender or coffee grinder)
1/4 teaspoon pinch ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.


Serves 2. Each serving: 1 cup.

Diabetic Exchanges:  Fruit:1.0  Milk:1.0

Total Preparation & Cooking Time:
10 Min (5 For Prep,5 For Cook )


Per Serving:  Calories:178, Total Fat:5g, Saturated Fat:0.5g, Trans Fat:0g, Cholesterol:2mg, Sodium:42mg, Carbohydrates: 27g, Dietary Fiber:5g, Sugars:12g, Protein:8g, Vitamin A:77iu (1%), Vitamin C:5mg (8%), Calcium: 70mg (7%), Iron:1.4mg (7%)


In This Issue
Basic Facts About Sugar:

Sugar comes in a variety of forms; the most common names you will find include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sorbitol, galacatose, corn sweeteners, honey, sucrose, turbinado, dextrin, raw sugar, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, molasses, sorghum, invert sugar, malt, maple syrup, fructose, cane sugar and brown sugar.

*    It is considered a simple carbohydrate
*    There are three forms of sugar recognized in the body: Sucrose, Lactose and Maltose
*    Sugar provides 4 calories per gram (for example if a food label has 10 grams of sugar, then 40 calories are from sugar)
*    When sugar is consumed, it goes directly into the blood to be used as energy
*     Sugar contains no nutritional benefits unless consumed from natural sources: Fruits, Vegetables AND Milk

Statements on Sugar Substitute Safety:
There is a lot of mixed feelings about sugar and sugar substitutes. Here are just a few summaries of position papers to help you, the consumer.  If you have additional questions or concerns contact me directly.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines of Academy (DGA)
The DGA contains a small number of statements related to the use of NNS (Nonnutritive Sweeteners). An important recommendation is to control total energy(calorie) intake and increase physical activity to manage one's personal body weight. Studies show that people who adopt eating patterns that are low in energy density improve weight loss and weight maintenance, and may also be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. Replacing NNS for higher-energy foods and beverages can decrease overall energy intake, but evidence of their effectiveness for weight management is limited and currently being studied.

According to the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) issued a statement in 2008 that "Sugar alcohols and nonnutritive sweeteners are safe when consumed within the daily intake levels established by the Food and Drug Administration". Suggestions for management of diabetes include monitoring carbohydrate intake through carbohydrate counting, choices, and/or experience-based estimation to achieve glycemic control. Selecting NNS instead of nutritive sweeteners is one approach and step to decreasing carbohydrate intake.

According to the National Cancer Institute
The National Cancer Institute made a statement in 2009 on NNS and cancer. The Institute declared that there is no clear evidence that the NNS available commercially in the United States (and approved by the FDA) are connected with cancer risk in human beings.

Resource: Fitch, Cindy, Phd, RD, and Kathryn S. Keim, Phd, RD, LDN. "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners." Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Use of Nutritive and Nonnutritive Sweeteners 112.5 (2012): 739-58. Eatright.org. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Web.

Scripture of the Month

Proverbs 2:10-11
10.For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe. (NLT)

Quote of the Month:

"Don't wreck a sublime chocolate experience by feeling guilty."

~Lora Brody

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About Elizabeth

Registered Dietitian


Elizabeth has a passion for helping people achieve permanent weight loss  and optimal health. Having struggled for over twenty years with her weight, Elizabeth used a faith-based approach to lose 115lbs. which she has kept off for almost 10 years. She uses the same strategies, along with her twenty-year background in counseling, to provide a faith-based, whole person approach to her nutrition and wellness services that include:

  • Online & Onsite Weight Loss Programs
  • Individual Nutritional Consultation & Coaching
  • Emotional Eating Support Groups
  • Nutrition & Wellness Seminars
  • Shopping Smart Supermarket Tours

Elizabeth maintains a full-time private practice and consults for supermarkets. She has a Master's Degree from New York University, and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Certified Nutrition and Wellness Coach.

Elizabeth M. Madison, ElizabethMadisonNutrition | 718-276-6037 | elizabeth@weightlosstransformation.com | http://www.weightlosstransformation.com
219-10 South Conduit Avenue - Lower Level
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

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