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Sugar vs Artificial Sweeteners

Michael De Luca

Sugar has been around for a long time and used to sweeten many delicious food products. The production of sugar dates back to 300 A.D. when the product of sugar was first extracted from sugar cane in India. Due to the length of the extraction process sugar was considered to be an expensive spice. Along with sugar artificial sweeteners have exploded in the market.

Artificial sweeteners were created only 50 years ago, and have now become common place. Sweeteners are chemically manufactured from molecules. These sweeteners are used to replace the sweetness in common food products. Examples include baked goods, pop and processed foods. Artificial sweeteners have replaced two main types of sugar.

The two main types of sugar are refined and natural sugar. Refined sugar is made from sugar cane, sugar beets and corn. Sugar cane and sugar beets are processed to make table sugar. An example of a refined sugar would be white or brown sugar. Corn is processed to make high fructose corn syrup. This is a highly concentrated liquid sugar. High fructose corn syrup is used in foods like dipping sauces and beverages like soft drinks. Refined and natural sugars need to be consumed in moderation; they may even be hidden in foods that you would not even think. An example would be tomato sauce.
Natural sugars are found naturally in foods. Examples would be lactose in milk, honey, stevia, agave and maple syrup. Naturally occurring sugars can sometimes be considered healthier than processed sugars because they are often consumed with fibre.

The market is overwhelmed with artificial sweeteners. Three of the most popular ones are Acesulfame K, aspartame and saccharin. Acesulfame K is found in chewing gum, aspartame is found in soft drinks and saccharin is found in coffee sweeteners. There are no calories in these artificial sweeteners but they taste at least 200 times sweeter than refined or natural sugar. This may sound wonderful but artificial sweeteners have a drawback, they make you hungrier.

Which Sugars are the Most Sweet Compared to Calories per gram?

Type Sweetness Calories
Table Sugar 1 8
High Fructose Corn Syrup 1.5 3
Agave Syrup 1.5 3
Acesulfame k 200 0
Aspartame 200 0
Saccharin 200 0


Canada’s Food Guide doesn’t have a set recommendation for sugar or sweetener intake. Sugar of all types needs to be consumed in moderation. Health Canada is proposing to establish a percent daily value for sugar on our nutrition labels of no more than 100g per day for an average person. Sugar has been around for a long time and is here to stay. Therefore, we need to be mindful as a consumer to what we are eating, especially when it comes to sugar.


This article was written by Michael De Luca. Michael has always had a passion for food and nutrition. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science in Nutrition May 2015. He is currently working towards his professional designation and hopes to complete it before the end of this year. 

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How Not to Share…Colds and Flu, That is!

By Millie Reynolds, Home Economist

Updated in July 2015 by the Manitoba Association of Home Economists

Fall is the season for catching colds and the flu! Needless to say, everyone would like to avoid “catching” these seasonal downers. Here are some hints that could lessen the chances of “the bug” getting ahold of you or you passing it on to others:

  • Wash hands frequently. Wet your hands with warm water. Apply soap. Wash the palms, the back of the hands, the wrists and between the fingers for 20 seconds, which is the length of time it takes to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. Rinse and dry hands. Turn off tap with the towel.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Hands should be washed before touching or preparing food, eating and after using the bathroom, handling garbage, cleaning and holding used tissue.
  • If you are not able to wash your hands with soap and water use a hand gel with 60% alcohol. Follow the same process as for washing hands with soap and water.
  • Cough into your sleeve or into a corner to avoid spreading the virus to your hands.
  • Toss used tissues into the garbage – don’t recycle!
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes. Your hands can either introduce the organisms to you or pick up the organisms from you to pass on to others.
  • If possible, refrain from touching things that others frequently touch such as door knobs, railings, and taps.
  • Do not share foods, food utensils, drink containers, water bottles, or eye or lip makeup.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating. Aside from having chemicals on them, they may have been the recipient of a sneeze or two when in the store.
  • Store toothbrushes so they do not touch each other. Avoid having the tube touch the toothbrush when its being loading with toothpaste. After you have recovered from the flu or a cold, throw away your toothbrush and use a new one.
  • Frequently clean the bathroom, kitchen counters and sink areas with household cleaners or a dilute bleach solution.
  • If you are ill, stay at home so you do not pass it on to others. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. If you have a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water (3 mL/1/2 tsp) salt in cup of water. See your doctor is symptoms persist more than a few days.


Saskatoon Health Region


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What I Learnt From My Grandma

I’ve blogged before about spending time in the kitchen with my grandma but I’m going to do it again because I love it that much. I was fortunate enough to have her come visit me again from Toronto and we were able to find some quiet time amid the chaos to make meatballs and bean salad. Here are the little tidbits she shared with me:

  • Her grandma taught her that every proper housewife always has 60 meatballs in the freezer ready to be thawed for dinner (we only had enough to make 40)!
  • She brought with her a newspaper clipping of an article in her local paper. It’s up on my fridge now just in case I get stumped. I definitely didn’t really know what Deglaze meant—did you?


  • Her grandma didn’t measure when she cooked and she was also illiterate so if my grandma wanted to learn how to cook something she would take each ingredient out one by one and measured it and put it back in. Luckily for me, my grandma wrote the recipes out and passed them on to me.
  • She opened my eyes to a Fried Egg Sandwich. Fast, delicious and very satisfying! It’s perfect for a quick, nutritious meal when you are rushing around for work in the morning. I commute by bike to work so I’m always look for new breakfasts with protein that will satisfy my hunger.

Aside from the useful kitchen tips, I am always so thankful for the treasured memories I will have with my Grandma. It is not lost on me—I know how lucky I am to be able to have such a lovely lady in my life. Hope these tips help you too! Have a great day,


Meghan Rafferty is a very proud Professional Home Economist who works as a Policy Analyst for the Province of Manitoba. On the side, she is a clinician and professional coach for Skate Canada Manitoba. In her free time, she loves being physically active especially outside and sharing that with others!

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