From diet drinks and candies to ice creams and yogurts, sugar substitutes are tough to ignore. Because so many products do contain sugar, there is room in your diet to occasionally need a product that has no-sugar-added. Sometimes there is also a medical reason to reduce your sugar intake. Here is where SOLA products can provide some much needed relief to reduce your sugar intake. SOLA products are delicious, better-for-you foods without all the sugar, thus lower in carb. At Hy-Vee, you can find SOLA nut bars, sweeteners/packets and yogurt in our HealthMarket. You can also find SOLA ice cream in the frozen aisle and SOLA granola in with our cereal section, with so many flavors, it is hard to choose. Here is more information on sweeteners that you will find helpful. SOLA contains a unique blend of sweeteners, see below for more on these great new products.
How are sweeteners classified?
Sweeteners can be divided into two main categories: nutritive and nonnutritive. Nutritive sweeteners are any caloric sweeteners or sugars that provide carbohydrates (think table sugar, honey, or agave). Nonnutritive sweeteners are calorie-free or low-calorie alternatives, such as stevia, aspartame, and sucralose. And then there are sugar alcohols, which are technically considered nutritive sweeteners; they contain about half the amount of carbohydrates as table sugar. Examples include erythritol, maltitol, and xylitol. (Hint: The “ol” means alcohol, but not the intoxicating kind.)
- Why are they so popular?
The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day. Now compare that to the American Heart Association’s recommendation of no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women; and 9 for men. In other words, most people are getting way too much added sugar, which can quickly lead to a host of complications, from obesity to heart disease. These low- and zero-calorie sweeteners may help with weight and diabetes control by reducing caloric intake, and by not causing spikes in blood sugar.
- Are they safe to consume?
In the U.S., the FDA must approve sweeteners or declare them “generally regarded as safe” before they can be used in food and drinks. According to the National Cancer Institute, there’s not significant evidence to support a claim that sugar substitutes cause cancer. However, it’s important to note that there’s still ongoing research regarding artificial sweeteners, including how they may affect gut bacteria.
- Can I use sugar substitutes in recipes?
Yes, but because each sugar substitute or substitute blend has a different level of sweetness and chemical structure, it’s important to check with the manufacturer for baking ratios. Products like the Sola sweetener at Hy-Vee contain zero added sugar but can still be used in place of sugar in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Will using sugar substitutes make me gain weight?
While several studies have noted a correlation (not causation) between weight gain and the use of artificial sweeteners, the reasons remain unknown. Again, moderation, exercise, and being mindful of overall diet are the pillars for good health management. I have included some information on the different types of sugar alternatives.
Monk Fruit Extract This nonnutritive sweetener is extracted from a small Asian fruit and is 150 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar.
Stevia is a nonnutritive sweetener extracted from the stevia plant, a native of South America. Stevia can be 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.
Maltitol, Erythitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol, and Xylitol are all sugar alcohols that can be found in candies, ice cream, chewing gums, and more. Gram for gram they are lower in calories than sugar and about half to 70 percent as sweet. Often, you’ll find sugar alcohols mixed with other sweeteners to achieve an ideal amount of sweetness.
Because sugar substitutes behave differently depending on how they’re used—stirred into coffee vs. baked into a cake, for example—manufacturers are developing blended formulas to achieve the best results for different uses. Some, like Whole Earth, use a blend of stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, erythitol, fructose, and chicory root fiber for sweetener packets; while others, such as SOLA, use erythritol, tagatose, maltitol, stevia leaf extract, and monk fruit extract. The idea is to blend the really, really sweet extracts with the less sweet sugar alcohols in a way that reduces a metallic after-taste and yields quality results.
I tried the SOLA ice cream, of course, a chocolate fudge brownie and was not disappointed, so creamy and yummy. I also made a Non dairy fruit sauce/smoothie for Angel food cake using 4 oz silken tofu, 10 oz frozen strawberries, 1 cup fresh strawberries, and 2 tablespoons SOLA sweetener. Or, serve over SOLA Granola instead of cake. This was a big hit in our Diabetes Prevention Class and Kid’s Cooking Class.
Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1011-20.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
American Heart Association: Sugar & Sweetener
Lohner S, Toew L, Meerpohl JJ. Health outcomes of non-nutritive sweeteners: analysis of the research landscape. Nutr J. 2017. Sep 8; 16(1):55. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28886707
Sola™ Greek Yogurt and Vanilla Almond Granola Parfait
Makes: 2 Servings Prep time: 2 Minutes
2 (150 g) containers Sola™ Vanilla Greek Yogurt
8 Tablespoons Sola™ Vanilla Almond Granola
1 cup fresh berries of your choice
- Spoon half of the yogurt into serving glasses and top with half of the berries and half of the granola, repeat and serve.
Nutrition facts per serving (calculated with ¼ cup raspberries and ¼ cup blackberries): 240 calories, 11g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrate, *7g net carbs, 4g fiber, 10g sugar, 11 sugar alcohols 18g protein