Thursday, July 22, 2010

Perhimpunan agung PWTC 2009

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NPD: Consumers Accepting Stevia-Sweetened Foods

Posted July 20th, 2010 at 8:32 am by Karlene Lukovitz

Not much more than a year into their retail availability, food/beverage products containing the natural sweetener stevia are showing consumer acceptance levels nearly on par with those of long-established artificial sweetener aspartame, and gaining on those of sucralose, according to market research firm The NPD Group.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved use of stevia in food/beverages in December 2008, and products containing stevia entered the U.S. market in early 2009.  NPD’s Dieting Monitor, which tracks top-of-mind dieting and nutrition issues on an ongoing basis, began tracking consumer attitudes about stevia – which is sold under various trade names, including PureVia and Truvia – in August 2009. 

June Dieting Monitor data show 35% of U.S. consumers reporting that they have either already consumed, or would consider consuming, food/beverages that contain stevia.  In comparison, 39% reported the same about aspartame, sold under the Equal and Nutrasweet brand names; and 51% reported the same about sucralose, the artificial sweetener sold under the Splenda brand name.

The FDA approved use of aspartame, and use of sucralose in the late 1990’s. Leading aspartame maker Ajinomoto rebranded its sweetener as AminoSweet late last year.

Pass (on) the sugar please

Yep, just let it zip right past you.

Refined white sugar and high fructose corn syrup are getting a well-deserved bad rep from health aficionados who claim it’s the sugar that’s making Americans fat. Some years ago my mom called me and shouted, “Turn on Channel 4, they’re saying it’s sugar, not fat, that makes us fat.”

I couldn’t believe it.

How is that possible? I remember a man I worked with long ago sequestered me with a book about the poisonous white powdery sweet stuff. What? Back in the day, not using sugar was unheard of. How else will you achieve the tender cakes and moist, tasty cookies that make you swoon for sweets?

The trick in your sugar consumption, really, is to be cognizant of what’s going in. Read the label. Steer clear of high fructose corn syrup, the leading sweetener in sodas and fruit juices, which also turns up in everything from pizza and yogurt to cereal, baby food, and even beer. HFCS is a high-value food ingredient for manufacturers. It’s easy to transport, doesn’t freeze, keeps foods from drying out, has a long shelf life, and it gives breads a pleasing golden color. Whereas sugar is broken down in the digestive tract, HFCS goes straight to the liver, where enzymes are released that tell the body to store fat. HFCS is considered the leading culprit in Type II diabetes.

What about sugar substitutes? There are actually a good number of popular substitutes in addition to the most revered standby, honey, nectar of the busy bees that grace us with their buzzy presence every summer.

This ancient sweetener has properties that go far beyond the act of sweetening. Honey is also an antibacterial, antimicrobial, and the most natural option. You can sub it for sugar in baking if you reduce the amount of liquid in a recipe. From “The Wonderful World of Honey” cookbook, “Bees were producing honey long before man appeared on earth. Honey, one of man’s earliest and healthiest foods, has been valued throughout successive civilizations.”

Where refined sugar contains nothing but carbs and calories, honey contains some of every major nutrient except Vitamin A.

Another natural alternative is stevia, a sweet herb from the sunflower family. The species Stevia rebaudiana, also known as sweet leaf or sugarleaf, is widely grown for its sweet leaves to flavor your coffee or tea. You can substitute stevia in baking, very carefully. I have used it in certain cookie recipes, but have had little success with cakes. It comes in dry and liquid, as well as plant form.

Another popular substitute that can be used cup for cup exactly like sugar, are the knock-offs such as Splenda I think the jury’s still out on this one. It does, however, work well in baking, although it tends to be sweeter than sugar and leaves a slight aftertaste.

Here’s a recipe substituting honey for the sugar in Honey Blueberry Muffins.

Sift two cups unbleached flour with one teaspoon salt and three teaspoons baking powder. Mix one cup milk with four tablespoons honey, one beaten egg, and ¼ cup melted butter. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Gently fold in ½ cup frozen or fresh blueberries. Fill greased or paper muffin cups ½ full and bake at 400 for about 35 minutes.

Here’s a spiced honey butter recipe that elevates toast and cinnamon rolls to lofty heights. Combine eight ounces honey with 1 cup butter. Add one and a half teaspoons cinnamon and mix until smooth. This will keep for months under refrigeration.

So try a little substitution for your next sugar fix. You might find that you’ll feel better, have more energy, lose weight, and your well-being just may be elevated to lofty heights as well.

From the words of Elson Haas, M.D., “If you strive for thin, you’ll never win. Strive for health and thin will follow.” Haas is a renowned nutrition expert and author of “Staying Healthy with Nutrition.”

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