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If you're a low-carb fan with a sweet tooth, artificial sweeteners are unavoidable. Heidelbeertorte

There's been a lot of discussion about whether artificial sweeteners are unhealthy, and different people have different opinions. Some claim that sweeteners cause cancer or have a negative effect on blood sugar, and therefore on insulin levels. Furthermore, there's a common assumption that sweeteners are fattening, although this could be because people assume they're not fattening and therefore eat too much of them. Everyone has to make his or her own decision about whether to use them. In the meantime, there are many sweeteners and sugar substitutes to choose from. We've tried some of them.

For us, the two most important factors were taste and how the sweetener could be used. Most artificial sweeteners have a much higher sweetening power than sugar, so the first thing you have to do is to figure out the optimal amount for your own taste. For almost all sweet recipes, we use the "normal" liquid sweetener that you can buy cheaply at any grocery store; it's well suited to cooking and baking. Of course when we heard about Stevia, the chemical-free sweetener, we had to try it out. We found Stevia to be unsuitable for many purposes. In addition to being excessively sweet, it tastes slightly bitter. That's not so good when you're making ice cream or cheesecake.

A true sugar alternative is Sukrin. It's available in health food stores but very expensive. When you read the carb content on the package, you may get a shock at first - it has exactly as many carbs as sugar. But: the carbs in Sukrin aren't converted into energy by your body, but excreted in the urine. The effect is the same as if you hadn't eaten any carbs. The great thing about Sukrin is that it can be directly substituted for sugar, since it has the same sweetness, and it can also be used for caramelizing. We find it handy because it allows us to prepare any sweet recipe easily. To keep from breaking the household budget, we only use Sukrin in cases where our liquid sweetener wouldn't work (e.g. caramelizing).

You can find more information on the topic of sweeteners at

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