Let's, today, take a closer look at sweeteners. SORBITOL; A 6 carbon sugar alcohol found in fruits such as cherries, pears, plums and apples as well as in seaweed and other algae. Sorbitol is metabolized in the body. Commercial sources are from glucose by high-pressure hydrogenation or electrolytic reduction. Sorbitol is converted to sugar in the blood stream, but is absorbed slowly, making it a useful source of sugar for diabetics. GLYCEROL (GLYCERIN) Occurs naturally in many plant cells, synthesized by the plants themselves. For commercial use it is synthesized from propylene or by fermentation from sugars. It is used in products such as marshmallows, jelly sweets gelatins and chewing gum. A low calorie sweetener provides consumers with a sweet taste without the calories or carbohydrates that come with sugar and other caloric sweeteners. Many sweeteners are non caloric because they are not metabolized and pass through the body unchanged. ASPARTAME; is composed of methanol, aspartic acid and phenylaline. In dry form the composition is stable however, when placed in liquid it can break down into its component parts (methanol,aspartate,and phenylalanine) Another breakdown product is diketopiperazine(DKP). In certain combinations these elements can result in adverse reactions in some people. Human systemic effects from methanol include changes in circulation, cough, headache, nausea, vomiting, visual field changes and respiratory effects. Aspartine can be found in instant breakfast, breath mint, cereals, sugar-free chewing gums, cocoa mixes, coffee beverages, desserts, juices etc… SACCHARIN (BENZOIC SULPHINIDE) A bitter white crystalline substance. Research on cancer of the bladder caused by the consumption of saccharine have been inconclusive. CYCLAMATES; A review of cyclamates by the national academy of science in 1985 stated that while cyclamate did not appear to be carcinogenic in and of itself, some evidence suggest that it may promote the growth of tumors when it combines with other carcinogens. It is also stated that injury to fetuses, diarrhea and damage to kidneys, liver intestinal tract, adrenal glands and thyroid could be terraced to cyclamate use. STEVIA; For hundreds of years people in Paraguay and Brazil have used a sweet leaf to sweeten bitter herbal teas. For nearly 20 years Japanese consumers have used extracts of the same plant as a safe, natural non-caloric sweetener. The plant is Stevia rebaudiana. It is non-toxic and can be used in its natural state (pulverized leaves). Stevia is calorie free and does not raise blood sugar levels (safe for diabetics) It can also safely be used by Candida sufferers. Stevia is considered a natural product and stands apart from the artificial sweeteners. For information on sugar, honey, molasses & fructose please refer to newsletter No 12 I presume that, by now, we all have a wider understanding of food labeling.