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Alcohol and Sugars

Alcohol

The third leading cause of death in the nation is alcohol. You get the same amount of alcohol, about 0.6 ounces, in 12 ounces regular/light beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. You should always drink in moderation. Women should limit alcohol per day to 1 serving, and men should limit their alcohol intake to 2 servings per day. 

Why is there a difference between men and women? Women have higher proportion of body fat than men do, and fat cannot absorb alcohol, so it is not broken down before entering the bloodstream. Women absorb 30% more alcohol in their bloodstream than men. 

Sugar and Fat Substitutes

Commonly used sweeteners are table sugar, honey, fructose, carob, dextrose and corn syrup and may be called “natural sweeteners.” However, it does not mean they are healthier for you. A few do have the benefit of tasting sweeter than regular sugar, so less is used to sweeten a food product, but they still contain calories and carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. 

Sugar Alcohols

Some of the most common nutritive sweeteners are “sugar alcohols.” The most common are sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol and xylitol. They are used in many “sugar free” candies and desserts. They have one-half the carbs than table sugar. “Sugar alcohols” still turn into sugar and can raise blood sugar levels, if you have diabetes. Eating too much of these can cause gas, cramps, bloating and/or diarrhea.

Other nutritive sweeteners are honey, fructose (fruit sugar), carob, dextrose and corn syrup. They are also called “natural sweeteners.” You might think they are healthier. A few are sweeterthan table sugar. Less is used in a food product. They still have calories and carbs.

Non-nutritive sweeteners

Non-nutritive sweeteners (“artificial sweeteners”). The most common are aspartame, saccharin, stevia, neotame and acesulfame-K. These products have little or no calories or carbs. They do not affect blood sugar levels. Replacing regular sugar with these products in foods actually does lower the calorie and carblevels in foods. Aspartame can only be used in recipes that are baked for 20 minutes or less. This sweetener breaks down under long periods of heat. Neotame is similar to aspartame. It is used in small amounts because it is so sweet. Saccharin and acesulfame-K are more stable. They can be used in recipes that have a longer baking time. Since these sweeteners are sweeter than table sugar, you do not need as much. Sucralose is found in many foods. It is very sweet (600 times sweeter than sugar) and is easy to use in baking. The newest non-nutritive sweetener is Truvia. It is made from the stevia plant. This plant has been sold as an herbal supplement for many years in health food stores.

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Health and Wellness Tip

Laugh every day.  It can release endorphins, the healing hormones, and act as the body’s natural pain killer.  Rent a funny movie or call a friend that makes you laugh.  This can lower your blood pressure and boost your immune system.