Which Sweetener Should You Use?

Which Sweetener Should You Be Using?

Hello All!!!

You have numerous choices when it comes to choosing your sweetener today. A while back, the only options you had to sweeten your food or drink was sugar. With people becoming health conscious and more inclined towards fitness, sugar substitutes became a rage. There has been a recent influx of natural, artificial, zero calorie, low calorie, low GI and many other types of sweeteners.

Majority of us choose foods that have a sweet taste but at the same time also want to ensure that the health of the family is not compromised. Zeroing on to which sweetener should you be using can be pretty overwhelming when you have so many options to choose from.


Types of Sweeteners

Nutritive and non-nutritive are the two types of sweeteners available.

Nutritive sweeteners are the ones that have calories in them and they are white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey and agave. They all have 4 calories in every gram just like how other carbs and sugar alcohols have.

Non-nutritive sweeteners – These sweeteners are free of calories and include sweeteners like sucralose, saccharin, aspartame and stevia. These are often sold under different brand names, so you need to read labels carefully.


Non-nutritive sweeteners are further divided into natural and artificial. As the name suggests, the artificial ones are created in the lab by scientists, whereas the natural ones are sourced from Mother Nature, such as from fruits and plants.

All of the sweeteners mentioned have been tested (to some extent) and deemed safe, except for saccharin that is linked to causing cancer in lab animals. With that, the choice of your sweetener natural vs. artificial is rather personal.

Choosing a sweetener

From the point of view of nutrition, the decision of which sweetener to use is a bit complicated as both nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners have their own pros and cons. In order to make it the best choice for you, here is some info from research studies and manufacturers regarding the yays and nays of different sweeteners.

Nays of nutritive sweeteners

  • Consuming high amounts of foods and drinks with nutritive sweeteners can cause dental cavities.
  • Something of even greater concern is that they lead to weight gain.

Yays of non-nutritive sweeteners

  • You get the sweet taste without the calories
  • No impact on blood sugar levels

Nays of non-nutritive sweeteners

However, it is not that simple when we talk about non-nutritive sweeteners. Research has different things to say even after these sugar-substitutes have been rendered safe. Certain studies show that they can increase the risk of various diseases including several kinds of cancers. Additionally, most of the sweeteners have not been there for very long, which means that more research is required to effectively demonstrate that there is no health risk in the long term.

The confusion…

Do calorie free sweeteners really lead to a reduced overall calorie intake? Will it be helpful in preventing weight gain and aiding weight loss?

Research has been done in this regard and the focus has been on beverages sweetened with sugar and the ones with zero calorie sweeteners. The results are mixed. It has been found that beverages may make us feel full, but that does not make us eat less food throughout the day just because we consumed more calories through fluids. So, regardless of the caloric content of the drinks consumed by us, we end up eating the same amount of food all day long. This might make you replace your sugar-sweetened drinks with calorie free sugar—substitutes to lower daily caloric intake.

Coke Zero vs diet Coke

The other side of the story is that even if you replace sugar-sweetened drinks with no calorie drinks, you will lose weight but that weight loss will not be similar to the one that involves going completely calorie free. The reason is that artificial sweeteners do give the sweet taste but since liquid calories don’t satiate like solids, you begin craving for more sweets and feel satisfied only when you get some real sweet foods.

You also need to see if sweeteners work in how you need them to when it comes to taste. Sugar when used in baking, promotes browning, turns baked goods tender and moist. This is something that all sugar-substitutes don’t do. Additionally most of the sweeteners are far sweeter than sugar and the amount to be used needs to be altered. One more thing to make note of is all sweeteners are not heat safe. They lose the sweetness at high temperatures.

Making the choice is difficult but you should make the right one.

Hope you liked reading this post on the choosing the right sweetener!

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Why Multitasking While Walking is a Bad Idea

It might be tempting to bang out a quick text or grab a bite on the go, but walking and multitasking could lead to injuries. Just as several states outlawed sending emojis from behind the wheel (thanks to research showing texting and driving impairs judgment and reaction times), new research on texting while walking shows that you shouldn’t be doing that, either.

A 2017 study published in in PLOS One found that texting while walking leads to taking shorter steps and increases the height of your stride — producing a stride pattern similar to those seen while under the influence of alcohol. Moreover, walkers were slower and more apt to veer off course.

Conrad Earnest, PhD, a research associate in the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab at Texas A&M University, who conducted a similar study also published in PLOS One, explains, “Several reports suggest that this type of pedestrian behavior leads to more pedestrian accidents, possibly increases the risk of tripping and increases riskier road crossing behavior due to a lack of attention.”

In Honolulu, texting and walking could also lead to a fine. Starting October 25, it will be illegal to cross a street or highway while looking at a mobile electronic device like a cellphone. Fines will range from $ 15–$ 35 for the first offense and go up to $ 99 for a third offense.


It’s not just texting that’s problematic: Walking and talking on the phone also has risks.

Ohio State University research showed the number of emergency room visits associated with pedestrians using cellphones in public more than doubled between 2005–2010. In a news release, co-author and professor emeritus Jack Nasar, PhD, says, “The role of cellphones in distracted driving injuries and deaths gets a lot of attention and rightly so, but we need to also consider the danger cellphone use poses to pedestrians.”

At Old Dominion University, researchers studied the impact of chewing gum on walking. The research, which has not been published, found you walk more quickly when you chew. Although the study wasn’t set up to look at multitasking, Steven Morrison, PhD, the  professor who oversaw the research, noted that performing any two rhythmic behaviors like chewing, tapping your fingers and walking, affects gait.

Because you tend to chew faster than you walk, Morrison says, “when you begin to chew, you take off,” so your gait matches the pace of chewing.



The impact of multitasking tends to affect men more acutely than women. A 2017 study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science found men were stumped by a cognitive test administered as they were walking.

Earnest believes teens may be another population most at risk to the effects of multitasking while walking because of their tendency to engage in riskier behavior but adds, “The same risks apply to those in the workplace and bustle around town during their daily commute.”

Since multitasking and cellphones are facts of life, researchers acknowledge that convincing pedestrians to go cellphone free is not a likely solution. Earnest compares checking email and texting while walking to eating a healthy diet and exercising, explaining, “It’s like any healthy lifestyle habit. Eventually one has to exercise due diligence and self-protection.”

Just like doughnuts are OK in moderation, Earnest noes, “Perhaps a good middle ground is that if a text or email really can’t wait, then ‘pull to the side,’ stand still, answer the text/email and continue along.”

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Sweet Potato Brownies | Recipe


No added sugar and gluten-free, plus full of sweet potatoes and almonds — these brownies tackle your chocolate craving in a whole new, minimally sweet way. You may even find them a suitable breakfast treat or snack. Substitute the nut butter of your choice, and know you can also sweeten them with 3 puréed, pitted dates (whirl in a food processor with the eggs) or 3 tablespoons of honey, maple syrup or other sweetener.

Sweet Potato Brownies


  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almond meal (finely ground almonds)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs, mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 425°F. Wrap the sweet potato in foil and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Peel and mash — you should have about 1 cup of mashed sweet potato.

Reduce oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs. Add sweet potato, almond butter and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir until just combined.

Coat an 8-by-8 baking pan with cooking spray. Dump batter into the pan; it will be thick, so use a spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle with cacao nibs, chocolate chips or nuts, if you like.

Bake until set and starting to pull away from the edges, 20–25 minutes.

Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into 16 pieces.

Nutrition Information

Serves: 16 |  Serving Size: 1 brownie

Per serving: Calories: 83; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 23mg; Sodium: 72mg; Carbohydrate: 5g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 4g

Nutrition Bonus: Potassium: 185mg; Iron: 6%; Vitamin A: 24%; Vitamin C: 0%; Calcium: 6%

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Walking Injuries – What Are They?

What are the common walking injuries?

Hello All!!!

You must be under the impression that running, weightlifting and playing football can cause injuries and not walking. In spite of being a low-impact exercise, walking can also cause injuries if you are not very careful.

women walking- How To Walk 10,000 Steps A Day

Injuries can range from blisters to tendinitis but that does not mean that you should give up walking. Experts are of the opinion that the benefits of walking as an exercise outweigh the risks.

Have a look at the common walking injuries and tips on how to manage or avoid them.


The chief cause of blisters is friction due to ill-fitting shoes and sweaty socks. Blisters are small but these sacs filled with fluid can ruin a walk hike or run. The other important thing to note is to ensure that you don’t pop the blisters. It may seem very tempting but popping blisters is a strict no-no. Experts say that puncturing the skin can open up the door for bacteria and worsen your condition.

What to do: For a minor blister, you can simply tie a bandage and continue to walk. However, when the blister is larger, you should switch to another activity till it heals up completely. If you want to avoid blisters, it is suggested that you wear shoes that fit you properly and choose socks that absorb moisture.

Plantar Fasciitis

The inflammation of fascia, a tissue that connects your heel bone to the base of your toes can cause a lot of pain. In milder cases, the pain is known to disappear during a walk. Walking may initially be uncomfortable for several minutes but then the pain will go away for the remainder of the walk. If the condition is more severe, you may feel the symptoms escalating during the walk.

What to do: The doctor will prescribe you medicines and externally you can apply ice to the area for 20 mins for a minimum of 3 times day. This way your pain will get eased. Regular stretching or physical therapy can also ease the pain. You can also support the arch with the help of arch supports.

Shin splints

Pain and inflammation in the inner edge of the shinbone is diagnosed as shin splints. The pain can either be sharp or dull and throbbing. It can occur both during and after working out.

Most often, shin splints are associated with running but walking can also cause them. Shin splints occur due to overuse or doing too much too soon. Ill-fitting shoes are another common cause of shin splints. The pain is common with those who have flat feet.

What to do: Combine rest with ice and medicines prescribed by the doctor can help in calming the inflammation and getting rid of the condition. In order to ensure that your pain does not return, be easy with your exercise program (walking included).


An inflammation in the tendon is called tendinitis. The condition can be due to tight calf muscles, walking too far or very fast. It can trigger swelling, pain and irritation. Depending on which tendon is affected, tendinitis can make your walking workout almost impossible.

What to do: Do not walk with the pain. Take rest and apply ice. Consult the doctor and take anti-inflammatory medicines to ease the pain.


This condition occurs when there is pain in the five bones in the area under your toes around the foot’s ball. The pain can be burning or sharp. The causes of metatarsalgia can be anything from torn ligaments and joint inflammation to ill-fitting shoes and calluses. If the pain gets worse, you need to stop and take rest.

What to do: Treatment is based on the cause. So, you need to buy shoes that fit you properly or insert arch supports or soak your feet to soften and remove the calluses. It is suggested that you switch to swimming, biking or use the elliptical machine when you have this problem as the pressure will be off the ball of the foot.


The bottom line

Preventive measures will ensure that you stay protected from walking injuries and can enjoy long walks but if you ever get any kind of injury, head straight to the doctor.

Hope you liked this post on walking injuries!

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