In simpler times we had to choose only between white or brown sugar. In today's times, there are natural sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, semi-natural sweeteners, sugar alternatives, and many more. Today's consumer wants to consume less sugar since an overdose of sugar can cause too many calories and that inevitably can cause extra pounds. But who knew that sweetening our coffee could be this complicated!

You may have noticed them more than once. Colorful yellow and pink packets beckon to you every day. Easter-egg colors are good, drab sugar packets are negative. How does someone ascertain which is more positive for our health? Real or fake?

Artificial sugar alternatives are comprised of chemicals or natural compounds. Due to their power to sweeten while adding no calories, they are preferred in plenty of homes. And those with diabetes prefer them because they don't raise blood sugar levels like sugar can. In addition, the FDA has approved four artificial sweeteners: saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and sucralose. And still the debate continues: which sweetener, if any, is beneficial to you?

Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) has been consumed since 1879. It is one of the more argued about sweeteners because it was established in 1977 to lead to cancer in rats. However, the ban on saccharin was lifted in part because rats were being fed 800 diet sodas a day. Further, a later study established that for most consumers there was no increased risk of bladder cancer than for non-Saccharin users.

Aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal) is noted by the FDA to be one of the most meticulously tested artificial sweeteners. It's been researched over 100 times, toxologically and clinically, and was found to be a safe product. People with phenylketonuria and consumers with high levels of phenylalanine such as pregnant women, however, should be careful with their aspartame use amounts because it does have the potential to lead to brain damage.

Acesulfame-K (Sunette or Sweet One) doesn't spike blood sugar levels and is called safe by the FDA. But, some groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest believe that more thorough research ought to be funded to study its link to cancer.

Sucralose (Splenda) iswonderful for pastries and a good fit for diabetics, includes no calories and in no less than 110 studies was established to have no toxic or carcinogenic impact and have no negative pre-natal impact or effects on the brain. But, some rersearchers caution it will cause organ damage.

Other Sweeteners
Stevia is one of the more recent discoveries. It originates from a plant that is found in South America, and is up to now not FDA approved. And agave nectar, which you can find in health food stores, is known for its high calories and fructose syrup so its health possibilities are still a conversation topic . And most natural sweeteners such as honey, molasses, evaporated cane juice, rice syrup, barley malt, and fructose, also contain high calories which counter-act the reason for using a sweetener other than sugar.

So many substitutes, promising their distinct health benefits. The important part is that you must be conscious of what you are eating and how much sugar you're taking in. As with all aspects of life, moderation is the key to a fit body, however you sweeten your coffee!