No sugar-coating here: The deal with sweeteners


When it comes to the sweet stuff, how bad is bad? Is any sweetener, be it sugar or stevia, healthy? And if so, which is healthiest?

We asked Anne Rollins — a nutritional consultant for Boston’s Joint Ventures Physical Therapy and Fitness centers, and a marathon veteran who knows the value of energy-giving foods — to evaluate the pros and cons.

Cane sugar: “I don’t think it’s as bad as it’s presumed to be. The problem is the excessive amount we eat, because it’s added to everything, and it doesn’t contribute vitamins and minerals. Brown sugar has the same caloric value, but does contain trace elements — but you’d have to eat so much for it to add any significant nutrients that it would be detrimental to health.”

High-fructose corn syrup: “I rarely say never eat something, but I’d say never eat high-fructose corn syrup. Research has shown that it turns off leptin receptors and has an impact on cholesterol, leading to higher levels of bad cholesterol.”

Stevia: “Stevia is a plant, but the sweetener is extracted and processed and refined. People think it’s better than sugar, because it has zero calories. Truvia is just a brand name for a stevia sweetener.”

Equal is made from aspartame. Aspartame was found to cause brain tumors, but there wasn’t much research that followed up that finding. But once the alarm bells went off, it stuck.”

Splenda and Sweet’N Low: “Sweet’N Low is actually sugar that’s been molecularly altered. What that does in the body isn’t really known. Splenda is another artificial sweetener derived from sugar. Many artificial sweeteners start as a plant.”

Agave nectar: “This is one I like a lot. It’s from a plant, it’s natural and it doesn’t affect the glycemic index like sugar, because it doesn’t break down into glucose. It’s the best one to lessen the risk of diabetes and endocrine issues.”

Honey: “Honey is very good. There’s great research on its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. So, you’re adding an immunity-fighting element to your diet. Plus it’s very sweet, so you use less.”

Nectresse: “This is a zero calorie sweetener manufactured by the makers of Splenda. Nectresse uses an extract from monk fruit, a melon found in Asia. The extract is a sugar alcohol — sugar alcohols are known to cause gastro-intestinal [problems]; however the makers claim this product [doesn’t] cause GI upsets. Because of its newness, we do not have any research regarding longterm effects or side effects.”


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.