Nutrition Blog

Each month, I.L. Creations' registered dietitians create our Wellness Newsletter discussing a different nutrition or wellness topic. You may subscribe to this at the registered dietitian's table during your cafe's monthly wellness visit or by clicking the link below to our Home page.  Here on the blog, we continue the conversation by posting relevant, entertaining, and useful food and nutrition information. 

Please look through our previous posts below to see what topics you may have missed. If you would like to see a topic in the future, let us know!

Check out the Home page to subscribe for free to our monthly Wellness Newsletter.
Check out the Recipes page to see recipes from previous newsletters, registered dietitian cafe visits, and our registered dietitian's family favorites.

Why Shopping Locally is Good

posted Mar 10, 2018, 3:41 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

“Go Further with Food” is this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme that focuses on food sustainability. There are many ways we can all “Go Further” and reduce food waste, support local farmers by shopping locally, and eat healthier. This week we’ll discuss how shopping locally at farmers markets benefits our health, the economy and the environment.

Shopping locally is better for our health. Fresher foods contain more nutrients and taste better. Once produce is picked/harvested is begins to lose nutritional value due to enzymes that are released which break down the nutrients. Also, the longer fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen on the vine the more nutrients are retained. Non-local produce is picked before it is ripe so that it won’t spoil by the time it reaches the grocery store, decreasing the nutritional value.

When you shop locally you save money. Many of the foods at farmers markets are cheaper than at the grocery store because the food transportation fees are low. Local food isn’t stored for long periods or being transported long distances and is therefore fresher and lasts longer decreasing the amount of food waste due to spoilage. Also, the money spent locally stays local helping to build and maintain the local economy.

Shopping locally is good for the environment. A study done at Michigan State University found that food in the US travels almost 1500 miles. This adds to the carbon footprint of not only your house but also your community.  You can greatly cut your own carbon footprint by buying locally. You also support the local farmers helping them to continue farming and preserving green space.

Spring is just around the corner and farmer’s markets will be opening soon. Click on the links below for farmer’s markets in your area (note: the opening dates and times may change).

Montgomery County

District of Columbia

Fairfax County

Arlington County

We can all make some small changes to be more sustainable and eat healthier.

National Nutrition Month: "Go Further with Food”

posted Mar 2, 2018, 9:03 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Mar 3, 2018, 12:43 PM ]

By: Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, LDN, E-RYT

It’s National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has set a “Go Further with Food” campaign, which encourages you to take your eating and lifestyle habits to a healthier and socially-responsible level.  IL Creations’ Registered Dietitians will be out during the month of March to ask a key question, “How much food do you throw away each week”?    This question is an important one that we all need to ask ourselves, as a family and as a community.    If we are tossing out food each week, especially fruits and vegetables, there is a chance we are not getting the essential nutrients we need.  It also contributes to food waste.  According to the USDA’s economic research center, between 30-40 percent of the United States food supply is wasted.  In 2014, USDA and EPA partnered for the U.S. Food Waste Challenge to help reduce food waste.  The goal set by USDA and EPA is to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.  To learn more about the USDA and EPA joint Food Waste Challenge click on this link Reduce, Recycle, RecoverLet’s take a look at some key areas where you can help to positively impact health and environment today.

1)          Start with a clean slate each week.  Audit your refrigerator and pantry and think of the meals you can make with existing food inventory.  Then generate a grocery list and commit to only purchase what is on the list.

2)          Challenge yourself not to let the “Crisper become the Rotter” in your refrigerator.  Purchase frozen vegetables and tub-mixed salads to prevent spoilage from underuse.  Accessible fruits and vegetables make it easy for us to use in recipes. 

3)          Get creative with leftovers.  If you make a meal with a side dish like rice, potatoes or quinoa, then think of another meal to pair those same items with. For example, you make stuffed portabella mushrooms with quinoa.  The extra quinoa can be used to make a mixed-grain and bean salad the following day.  See our “mixed grain and bean salad recipe” as well as much more recipes on our website by clicking this link, RECIPES.  

4)          Make less food at each meal to prevent food waste.  It’s not about finishing your plate; it’s about being mindful of not making more food than your body needs. 

5)          Take part in the IL Creations (ILC) café daily “Happy Hour”.  ILC strives to be creative and resourceful in reducing food loss.  ILC offers a daily Happy Hour at each unit at the end of the day. This  Happy Hour not only gives customers a great opportunity to save money but ensures that we sell out as best as possible with no "left-over food".   

For more creative ways on how you can extend your food in your home, contact our registered dietitians at  ILC Registered dietitians are available to present on this topic and more.  

Top 5 Habits of Heart Healthy People

posted Feb 21, 2018, 9:42 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Feb 23, 2018, 1:38 PM ]

By: Evangelina Dispirito, RDN, E-RYT

February is National Heart Health awareness month which gives us an opportunity to take stock of our own heart healthy eating and lifestyle habits.   On one of our previous blogs, we wrote about the benefits of a Mediterranean-based diet, which is based on eating more vegetables, beans, whole grains, healthy fats such as olive oil, walnuts, avocados and using meats more as garnishes.  Incorporating features of the Mediterranean diet into our own meals can be the approach we can take to protect our hearts.  Below are the ILC dietitian’s top 5 habits of Heart Healthy People.


1)      Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fruits and vegetables are rich with nutrients that help prevent inflammation in the body.  Folate and it’s naturally occurring folic acid which is found in leafy green vegetables helps lower homocysteine levels in the body.  Homocysteine levels are elevated in heart disease. Beets contain naturally occurring nitrates which can help lower blood pressure to help promote optimal heart health.   Bananas are rich with potassium to help lower blood pressure as well.   Berries are found to reduce inflammation in the body.  Finally, both fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber which can promote lower cholesterol and healthy gut.

Nutrition Tip:  Try having a salad with roasted beets, walnuts, raspberries and goat cheese with a drizzle of olive oil.


2)      Eat more plant-beans.  Beans are rich in iron, magnesium, folate and potassium, all which are linked to heart health by lowering levels of homocysteine and blood pressure.   Replacing meat entrees with beans will provide you with a heart-healthy protein.   


Nutrition Tip:  Try soaking beans overnight then rinse and cook for an hour.  The slow cooking method is better for retention of folate as well as reducing “gas-forming” properties of beans.


3)      Limit the added sugars in your meals and beverages.  Sugar increases your blood sugar and can cause the pancreas to release a surge of insulin into the blood stream.  Consistent consumption of foods high in sugar can lead to diabetes and cause insulin resistant, a condition where the body is unable to use its own blood sugar for fuel. 


Nutrition Tip:   Try lowering your sweet tooth by eating fresh fruits and instead of a candy bar for a snack.  Of if you are a coffee drinker, try cutting out the sugar in coffee for a week.


4)      Drink more water.   Severe dehydration can increase chances of a heart attack.  Athletes or individuals taking on exercise or hot yoga classes could have increase water loss from sweat.  If you are not consistently eating water-based foods such as fruits and vegetables at most meals, chances are you are chronically dehydrated.   High protein, low-carbohydrate diets can cause dehydration.   Aim to have more water with your meals.  Drink 4 to 6 ounces of water before eating, and you may find you consume less calories.  Often times we mistaken thirst for hunger.  Please note that with various health conditions such as kidney or congestive heart failure  the water recommendations will be lower.  Consult your physician.


Nutrition Tip:  Carry a refillable water each day.  Squeeze lemon juice or other place frozen berries for natural flavoring.


5)      Get moving:  Getting at least 150 minutes a week can reduce chances of getting Diabetes according to the results of the 16- week Diabetes Prevention Program.  Diabetes puts one at greater chances of getting heart disease. Physical activity each day is good for the mind and body.  It helps relieve depression but also helps our bodies utilized the fuel from the food we eat more efficiently.  Cardiovascular exercise such as walking, running, cycling, and swimming help condition the heart to pump blood more efficiently.  Strength training helps build muscle to help boost our metabolism.  Yoga stretch and mindfulness exercises help reduce stress and can lower cortisol levels within the body.  Elevated cortisol levels are linked with inflammation, increase blood sugar and inability to sleep.  All which can negatively affect heart health.

                     Exercise Tip:  Aim to get 30 minutes each day by adding extra activity in your day.    

Exercise and Your Heart

posted Feb 12, 2018, 11:46 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

It is well known that exercise is good for the heart. But how does it really help, much is enough, and what types are best? We will answer these questions so you can keep your heart healthy.  The effects of exercise on the heart and cardiovascular system have been studied for over 60 years.  And while the recommendations have changed over the years (mostly to make it more achievable for everyone) the fact remains that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The good news is that CVD is largely preventable and one of the biggest factors in preventing heart disease is being physically active.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the following are some of the cardiovascular risk reduction benefits of exercising regularly:

  • ·                     Increase in exercise tolerance
  • ·                     Reduced blood pressure
  • ·                     Reduction in bad (LDL and total) cholesterol
  • ·                     Increase in good (HDL) cholesterol
  • ·                     Increase in insulin sensitivity
  • -             Weight loss
So, how does exercise actually help your heart? When you exercise, your heart rate increases (at least it should) so you are pumping more blood and oxygen through your arteries, which makes your heart more efficient and keeps blood pressure under control. Within about 4 weeks of regular consistent exercise, you will see and feel changes like a decrease in resting heart rate and the ability to exercise longer and harder. Many people will feel more energetic, less stressed, and have improved sleep after just one workout. These can all have a positive impact on your heart disease risk.

As we get older, our arteries become more rigid, making it easier for plaque to build up inside. If too much plaque builds up, the artery becomes blocked which causes a heart attack or stroke. Exercise helps keep the blood vessels more flexible, allowing blood to flow more freely.

Diabetes is another risk factor for heart disease. Exercise helps the body use insulin to better control glucose levels in the blood.

The recommended type and amount of exercise according to both the AHA and NIH are to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. This can be done in short 10 minute increments.  For example, taking a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break, walking the dog, or taking the stairs all count towards your 150 minutes. You can also do a combination of moderate and vigorous intensity activities.

Examples of moderate-intensity activities are walking briskly (3 mph), water aerobics, general gardening, doubles tennis, bicycling slower than 10 mph.                                                   Examples of vigorous-intensity activities are running, jogging, or race walking, bicycling faster than 10 mph, aerobic dancing, heavy gardening, swimming laps, jumping                         rope,  or uphill hiking.

It is also important to include some resistance or weight training activities at least twice per week. These include yoga, push-ups, lifting weights (be sure to include the major muscle groups-legs, hips, chest, back, arms, and core or abdomen).

Remember, some exercise is better than none. See what fits best into your schedule and lifestyle. For more information on exercise and your heart click here.                                 

10 Nutrition and Fitness Apps to Help You Reach Your Goals

posted Jan 29, 2018, 9:23 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

As January comes to an end, don’t let your health and nutrition resolutions and goals end too. If you find yourself slipping, try a new app or website to keep things fresh. Here is a list of some dietitian approved nutrition apps and websites:

Foodacate-(free for Android, iOS) by scanning a food label the app will alert you if it is a healthy choice.

Ingredient1 (free for Android) - this app can help you identify food products that meet your dietary needs. For example, if you avoid dairy it will show you foods in nearby stores that are dairy free.

Carbs Control ($2.99 for Android and iOS) - great if you have diabetes or are monitoring carb intake. It allows you to track carb intake and compare meals even has data from 300 restaurants. Not a huge database and only gives details on carbs, but will give you daily protein and fat percentages.

MyPlate calories tracker (free for Android and iOS but need subscription for full capabilities) – free version is basic but has a large database. You can sync up google fitness to track calories burned. There are graphs that display your progress towards reaching your goals.

Myfitness Pal (free for Android and iOS but need subscription for full capabilities) – you can create daily goals and customize carbohydrate, fat and protein goals. Has a massive database of 5 million foods including restaurant foods. Very basic capabilities without the paid upgrade.

UA Record (free for Android and iOS) – track your fitness workouts and connect to Myfitness pal for calorie intake and calorie expenditure. You can also connect to various fitness trackers.

Simple Feast (free for Android and iOS) – recipes using simple wholesome ingredients by chefs and nutritionists. There are various categories to choose from, like vegetarian, brunch, and seafood. The premium version has a Nutrition coach that will help you tailor the recipes to meet your own personal goals. 

Giox ($25/month for Android and iOS) - This is a great app if you don't like the gym or travel a lot. You can take classes anywhere from a live coach. The coaches do have access to your name, location, email and phone number. – a website where you can track calories and exercise, you can set weight loss goals, and monitor nutrient consumption. There are nice graphs to see your progress and get tips and support. – find recipes and nutrition information for many of our cafeteria foods so you can plan healthy lunches.

These apps and websites are only meant to help you reach your goals, these are only a sample of hundreds of apps out there. So, use this list as a starting point and hopefully one will fit your needs. If not,we are here to help you, stop by our table during our wellness visit or send us an email.

Plant-Based Diets: Best for 2018

posted Jan 19, 2018, 2:18 PM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Jan 21, 2018, 6:52 AM ]

By : Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

If achieving a healthy weight is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then you might want to take a look at US News’ “best diets for 2018”.  Based on the consensus of a panel made up of health experts, including registered dietitians (nutritionists) and researchers, plant-based diets are the champions of health and weight-loss.   According to US News, the panel based their ranking on criteria such as long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety, and nutrition, to name a few.   On the top of the list were the “plant-based” diets and on the bottom was the high-fat and high-protein weight-loss plans.   As a registered, dietitian/nutritionist, I find that more often than not, clients who achieve their health and weight-loss goals add more fruits and vegetables to their daily meals.

In fact, many physicians are supporting the plant-based approach to treat their patients.  This past July, I attended a Physician Committee’s Nutrition in Medicine Conference in D.C., whose theme was “Nutrition over Pills”.   The conference attracted many healthcare attendees, including dietitians, nurses, physicians; all were collectively exploring the science of plant-based nutrition to heal the body.  The conference guest speakers were physicians and specialists from around the world,  advocating for the use of plant-based nutrition instead of prescribing medication to treat many conditions, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity and mood disorders.   This conference’s "nutrition as medicine" message aligns with the nutrition therapy that many Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists have consistently provided to individuals to help manage, prevent, or reverse a variety of chronic health conditions.

To view the detailed listing of the diets that US News reviewed and ranked, click on the above “best diets”.  The top winners were DASH and Mediterranean, both of which are primarily plant-based.  The fact that the DASH and Mediterranean diets are reported to help individuals achieve healthy weight and wellbeing proves that you don't have to go completely vegan or vegetarian. By eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans at each meal, you will have the protective properties to prevent many chronic health conditions as well as achieve a healthy weight. To help you get started with mostly plant-based eating, we came up with 3 main steps.

How to get Started on Mostly Plant-Based Eating:

1) Stock up on fruits and vegetables:  Fresh or frozen are equally as healthy.  For quick accessible home-cooked meals, buy frozen vegetables, tubs with pre-washed leafy greens, and plenty of fruit.  For best prices, purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables at peak season by clicking Maryland Fruit and Vegetables:

2) Bulk Up Meals with Vegetables:  Make it a habit to add your favorite vegetables to your regular dishes.

  • Broccoli, tri-color bell peppers, peas, or any type of vegetable will add flavor and color to pasta and rice dishes. 
  • Add frozen vegetables to ready-made soups or store bought soups.

3) Dining out:  IL Creations' Cafés offers a variety of plant-based foods.  Check out our online menus and you will find a variety of vegetable-based dishes.  Make it your goal to fill your plate with plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains (brown rice).   Use lean meats, poultry, and fish as garnishes.  

4) Plant-based proteins:  Replace meat, fish, or poultry with beans at least once or twice a week.  Beans are high in protein and fiber which promote lean muscle mass, as well as satiety,  leading to a healthy weight.

To find out more on this topic or have one of our IL Creations' Registered Dietitians present to your group, please email us at  or Tracy.Ducker@ilcreations.   


Setting and Keeping Goals in 2018

posted Jan 15, 2018, 3:02 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN   [ updated Jan 28, 2018, 3:27 PM ]

In our last blog we discussed CLEAN Cuisines in 2018. Focusing on Clean eating, Lean meals, Exercise, Ask the dietitian, No excuses. This week we’ll discuss how to make resolutions or goals. A popular acronym many professionals use is SMART to help clients set and reach their goals.  So, if we think about living CLEAN this year, we can use the SMART way of setting goals:

S – Specific:  the more specific a goal is the more likely you are to achieve it. Exercise more- walk in the morning before work

M – Measurable:  this is the “how’s” how much, or how many, or how often. I will aim for 30 minutes, 5 times a week

A – Attainable: the steps you will take to reach your goal. First, I will start walking 3 days/week for 1 month, then increase to 4x/wk for 1 month, then 5x/week.   

R – Relevant: Is the time right? My husband is willing to help get the kids ready for school so I have time in the morning. If the weather is bad I will walk during lunch at the office gym.

T – Time: Set a specific time that you will achieve your goal. I will achieve this in 3 months.

Our handout this month has the step by step process of setting SMART goals or come visit us during our dietitian visit at your cafeteria for a copy and let us help you reach your goals.

Happy New Year!

CLEAN Cuisines in 2018

posted Jan 5, 2018, 10:47 AM by Evangelina DiSpirito   [ updated Jan 6, 2018, 8:21 AM ]

By Evangelina DiSpirito, RDN, E-RYT

Happy Healthy New Year!  At the start of each year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions that we feel will improve our lives.   With good intentions, we research the latest and greatest weight-loss and exercise plans.   Often, these plans begin to clutter the mind and body with short-term results.  This year, set out to transform your resolutions into life-changing habits.  Resolutions are goals we set for ourselves.   That’s why in 2018, let’s de-clutter our New Year’s resolutions by thinking “CLEAN”.  The “CLEAN” steps will help guide you through your most transformative year.

(1)    C:    Clean eating.   Eat less processed foods and eat more fresh and locally-grown foods.  At IL Creations (ILC) cafes, we aim to use more locally-grown produce and meats in our cafes.   Once a month, our registered dietitians and chefs at ILC provide healthy homemade sample recipes made from fresh ingredients at select cafes.   So, check out your IL Creations menu to find the schedule for your next dietitian visit. 

(2)    L:    Lean meals.  Aim to eat more meals made with lean meats and ingredients.  For example, at IL Creations, our chefs and salad cooks use wholesome fresh vegetables and lean meats to produce a variety of flavorful dishes.

(3)    E:    Exercise:    Exercising at least 30 minutes a day can help improve your cardiovascular and mood, and can lead to healthy weight-loss.  Working out 45 minutes to an hour each day can lead to weight-loss if this is your goal.  Adding strength training can boost your metabolism because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns throughout the day.  Mindfulness and stretch activities are exercises for the mind and body.    Yoga conditions the body to become more flexible and youthful.   Mindful breathing and meditation can further reduce anxiety and stress.   A stressful lifestyle can increase your chances of developing chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's.   These two mindfulness practices will help you reduce stress as well as become more mindful in 2018.   At I.L Creations, our newest dietitian/nutritionist is dually-trained as a Restorative Yoga Instructor and Registered Dietitian.  Additionally, both of IL Creations dietitians have experience in sports nutrition.  

(4)    A:   Ask the Dietitian:   IL Creations hires registered, licensed dietitians who are credible and medically-trained nutritionists.  Our Registered Dietitians on staff ensure that our food offerings are adequately analyzed, and nutrition information is available to you.  They are also available to make presentations on nutrition and healthy lifestyle topics, to help keep you on track in 2018.

(5)    N:   No Excuses:  Excuses become our downfall.   By setting a fail-safe plan, you can ensure that excuses will be a thing of the past.   Fuel your body with clean cuisines at IL Creations' cafes.  To help you with mindful meal planning, IL Creations posts on-line menus so that you can select your breakfast and lunch items.   To help keep you motivated a weekly nutrition and lifestyle tip will be posted on the IL Creations menu site.

Packing the Right Snacks for Travel

posted Dec 22, 2017, 1:06 PM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

As many of us head out to visit family and friends this holiday season, it is important to have the right snacks whether by plane, train, or automobile.  Go for lower sugar, higher protein items with some healthy fats to help keep you feeling full.

Unsalted tree nuts– walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, etc. contain protein and healthy fats. They contain antioxidants and  omega-3 essential fatty acids like Linoleic acid, α -Linolenic acid (ALA), etc. Omega -3’s help to lower the risk of blood pressure, coronary artery disease, strokes and some cancers.

Fruit – dried (check the label for sugar content-raisins don’t typically contain added sugar most others do.)  For fresh fruit bring along firm apples, pears or oranges. Pack some grapes in a baggy and store them where they won’t get crushed.

Trail mix – make your own with various dry cereals, nuts, raisin, and for a special treat add a few dark chocolate chips.

Hummus and vegetables –you can buy small single serve hummus or use a small container. This is a great way to get a serving a vegetables in and the hummus contains some protein to help keep you satisfied.

Cheese sticks and crackers- a serving of dairy plus you’ll feel satisfied.

Peanut butter (or other nut butter) sandwich-add jelly if you like and use whole wheat bread for the additional fiber you may need.

Pretzels or popcorn – are great low fat snacks that travel well.

Hard boiled eggs- peel ahead of time and keep cool if possible or eat within 2 hours. Eggs provide 6 grams of protein, disease-fighting nutrients like lutein which is an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of developing cataracts and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration; and choline  which promotes normal cell activity, liver function and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.

Seeds-contain vitamin E and B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Vitamin E helps protect the body from harmful free radicals. B vitamins aid in supporting your body's metabolism rate,  and aiding your body in fighting disease and infection.

Dry oatmeal- bring in a heat resistant container and add hot water after airport security. Oatmeal is a whole grain and contains fiber.

Sugar Substitutes: Are they safe?

posted Dec 6, 2017, 6:40 AM by Tracy Ducker, MS, RDN

Sugar substitutes are one of the most widely tested food additive. But are they safe? We’ll discuss some of the concerns along with some of the benefits. Sugar substitutes are any sweetener used instead of table sugar.  There are many types of sugar substitutes including artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, novel sweeteners and natural sweeteners. Each have pros and cons and a variety of uses.

Artificial sweeteners – are synthetic and made from naturally occurring substances or chemicals. They are calorie free and many times sweeter than table sugar, so only a little is needed. They are mainly used in the diet beverage industry, and to sweeten foods and drinks at home.

Pros: Calorie free which may help in weight loss, don’t typically rise blood sugar because they aren’t carbohydrates (check with your doctor or  dietitian before using artificial sweeteners if you have diabetes)

Cons: A study from the 1970’s involving saccharin showed it caused cancer in rats, and a warning label was required. Since then studies have shown no links to cancer in humans and the warning            label was removed. Some artificial sweeteners leave an aftertaste.

           Examples: Sucralose (Splenda), Aspartame (Nutrasweet), Saccharin (Sweet n Low).

Natural Sweeteners – are promoted as being healthier than table sugar and other sugar substitutes however these often are processed and refined. Typically they are used at home as a sweetener, and also used in processed foods.

Pros: Generally safe, some studies have shown that honey has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

        Cons: Can cause cavities, contain calories and carbohydrates so those with diabetes need to plan accordingly.

Examples: honey, agave nectar, molasses, fruit juice, maple syrup

Sugar Alcohols-  are commonly found in processed foods like chocolate, frozen desserts, candy and baked goods. They are about the same sweetness as table sugar and can occur naturally in some fruits and vegetables but are also manufactured.

       Pros: typically less sweet than sugar and therefore less calories (unless you use more to achieve the same taste. Don’t contribute to tooth decay and have less effect on blood sugars because             They aren’t absorbed completely.

       Cons: can cause diarrhea, gas and bloating in higher amounts

       Examples: Xylitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol

Novel Sweeteners - are relatively new to the market and are combinations of a variety of sweeteners. They typically contain some carbohydrate.

Pros: many are low in calories

     Cons: not tightly regulated- one stevia compound may be 100% stevia but         

another may not.

Examples: Stevia, Tagatos and Trehalose

So, are they safe? The FDA regulates artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols and novel sweeteners and studies have shown that in small reasonable amounts they are safe. However, just because they are ‘natural’ or calorie free doesn’t mean you can eat the entire bag of sugar free cookies. Many of the foods containing these products contain empty calories, with little or no nutritional value and are highly processed.

If you are looking to cut back on your sugar intake, try choosing smaller portions, look for lower sugar alternatives like graham crackers instead of chocolate chip cookies, or plain yogurt with fruit.

For more information on sugar substitutes click here.





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