BYH, when there is a solar energy spill, it's just called a NICE DAY. (this one has better wording than the other one I...

Study a sweetner by any name


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Dear readers A shout out to my colleague at ECU Family Medicine, Kay Craven, who was honored at the international meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for her excellence in practice in the community. Many of you have benefited from her diet counseling, weight classes, teaching and research over the last 15 years. We are thankful that she and her family are in Pitt County. Congratulations Kay! A second shout out to the Pitt County Health department for sponsoring a diabetes event called Move Your Way on Nov. 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. It’s free and open to everyone. More information at 252-902-2361.

Q: Can non-nutritive sweeteners contribute to weight loss? JR, Greenville.

A: There seems to be some controversy about if and how non-nutritive or what most of us call artificial sweeteners can affect our weight. Sruthi Boddapati, a senior ECU dietetics student wants to share some information with you.

We have all experienced the need to shed a few pounds but hit the pesky roadblock of having to decide between what we love to eat and what is good for us. What can be the culprit of such a common and costly problem? The answer lies in the fact that weight gain is often caused by simply eating too many calories.

Sugar provides 4 calories per gram without any nutrient benefit. Non-nutritive sweeteners, or what can be commonly referred to as low-calorie or artificial sweeteners don’t provide nutrients either but have fewer or no calories.

This may sound like a quick fix and potentially even a ticket to continue eating the sweet foods you love just by switching to “sugar-free” foods. However, some researchers suggest this works only when you consume them following a meal plan that contains nutritious foods and involves moderation.

Most nutrition experts would agree that eating healthy foods is preferred over consuming sugar-free substitutes for weight management. Based on studies they would say that the ideal standard for keeping your body hydrated is to consume water. Better weight-loss results have been achieved for those who drank water versus those who drank sugar-free beverages in several clinical trials.

Even so, for those who want to use sugar substitutes, the American Heart Association in 2018 suggested that use of non-nutritive sweeteners could be a useful strategy for reducing intake of sugary foods and drinks for some people. The American Diabetes Association further suggested that use of products containing non-nutritive sweeteners can lower added sugar intake, help with weight loss, and boost metabolism if used short-term.

Following that advice may be a great consideration if you struggle with maintaining such lifestyle changes and would like a middle ground before cutting out sugary foods entirely. If you do choose to use non-nutritive sweeteners in your weight loss journey, it is important to know which ones are present in foods and how to tell them apart.

The FDA labeled five sweeteners as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) to show the product purity and quality. These GRAS sweeteners include: Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal and Sugar Twin), Acesulfame-K (Sunett and Sweet One), Neotame (Neotame), Saccharin (Sweet’N Low, Sweet Twin, and Necta Sweet), and Sucralose (Splenda).

As you know there are many more products on the store shelves. Look at the ingredient list to see if they contain any of these alternatives. When considering sugar substitutes, it is important to look at the multiplier of sweetness intensity (how sweet it is compared to sugar), acceptable daily intake (how much you can eat per day), and the regulatory status (if the product is approved by the FDA).

Additionally, some sweeteners may be better for a particular dish or provide a preferred mouthfeel/texture. For example, Neotame and Erythritol are great for baking as they can withstand high heat and have no aftertaste. On the other hand, you may want to avoid sweeteners such as Aspartame, one of the most controversial food additives since there is a mix of evidence about side effects that some people experience.

Before you change the sweeteners, you consume, it’s important to learn about them. An in-depth comparison of these sweeteners as well as a list of products in which they are available and can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states.

Another important resource is a visit with a registered dietitian who can help find which sweetener(s) may be best for you, understand/set weight management goals, and even create a meal plan to help you reach these goals.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and Ph.D., is an affiliate professor in the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


November 06, 2019

Dear readers A shout out to my colleague at ECU Family Medicine, Kay Craven, who was honored at the international meeting of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for her excellence in practice in the community. Many of you have benefited from her diet counseling, weight classes, teaching and…


November 06, 2019

Individuals dealing with mental illness and substance use often find the stigma to be quite a challenge.

Besides handling the symptoms and disabilities of their disease, they face stereotypes and prejudices that arise because of misconceptions about mental illness, said Glenn Simpson, administrator…


November 06, 2019

WASHINGTON, N.C. — A few short miles from Greenville is the charming waterfront town of Washington, N.C. Strolling down the historic Main Street, just a few blocks from the Pamlico Riverfront, you can find quaint shops and restaurants featuring beautiful and charming decades-old facades. They…


October 30, 2019

For the last 32 years, Ming Dynasty has provided guests authentic, artfully crafted food in a fine dining atmosphere without the fine dining price. The restaurant is located in the Rivergate Shopping Center right beside Ollie’s and close to East Carolina University.

Ming Dynasty specializes…


October 30, 2019

Q: I read that FDA is allowing a qualified health claim to be put on edible oils, such as olive oil, sunflower oil or canola oil. What does that mean? JR, Greenville.

A: Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration said that there is enough evidence to allow foods with oleic acid in them to…

Kolasa, Kathy

October 23, 2019

The mobile food industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings when cooks offered grub from the back of horse-drawn wagons. Today’s food trucks are restaurants on wheels that pack a big punch in concepts, flavors and menus. 

They have taken over trendy city streets and built…


October 23, 2019

Q: I am trying to find a healthier alternative for candy to give trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood. Do you have any ideas? DA, Greenville.

A: It’s true we are asking kids to eat less sugar for health. Parents to need to monitor how much candy a child eats in a day. I asked Jocelyn Bayles…

Kolasa, Kathy

October 23, 2019

Today’s headlines chronicle the increasing rate at which vaping is causing serious lung injury. In Pitt County, health care leaders are warning the public of the dangers of this popular habit.

Surprisingly, the origins of vaping go back as far as fifth century B.C. Yet, the dangers are very…

CT tech with patient.jpg

October 19, 2019

Mums, mums, mums the word. We are talking about chrysanthemums of course!

The vivid autumn colors that signal the arrival of fall on nearly every doorstep. While they are most commonly used as an annual container planting (as seen in the accompanying photo) these blooms are much more versatile than…


October 16, 2019

I don’t know about you, but my life passed “busy” 15 exits ago. It seems that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done. My life can get so hectic that I don’t always eat healthy. I tend to eat a lot of fast food or choose lunch and dinner options that…

Chrislyn and Mike Wedderien.jpg
64 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 7
        Next Page»   Last Page»