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Home Canning Without Sugar

It’s harvest season and many families are putting back the fruits of their labors the old-fashioned way, by home canning what they don’t use immediately. Preserving fruits whole, sliced or in the form of jams and jellies is an age-old standby of farmstead canning. Usually it’s done with sugar or a packaged pectin. But did you know you can also can without sugar by just using the fruits’ own syrups? The Hillsdale News offers ideas for doing that — with an alarming twist that negates any health benefit you get from going sans sugar: the advice to use sugar substitutes like Splenda, cup for cup.

For just a second there, I was getting excited about an alternative way to enjoy your fruits this coming winter — and then I saw what was being recommended in place of sugar. While the article says aspartame is not the way to go — it has a bitter aftertaste — I’m really disappointed that any artificial sweetener was mentioned at all. Besides a bad taste, decades of science point to the ill health effects of aspartame, not the least of which is that it’s been shown to contribute to weight gain — just the opposite of the reason most people use it.

But unfortunately, if you've added the artificial sweetener sucralose (brand name Splenda) to your diet because you think it's a healthy alternative to aspartame or sugar, you're being dangerously misled, as sucralose has been linked to cancer, specifically leukemia. If you'd like to heed the warnings and cut Splenda from your diet, be aware that it's found in more than 4,500 products. Splenda has been smartly marketed, and it's most known for its tag line "made from sugar so it tastes like sugar." But make no mistake: Splenda is far from natural.

If you're tempted to reach for a diet soda or other artificially sweetened product, fight the urge with natural, good-for-you options. Sour taste, such as that from fermented vegetables or water spruced up with lemon or lime juice, helps to reduce cravings for sweets. If that doesn't appeal to you, try a cup of organic black coffee, an opioid receptor that can bind to your opioid receptors, occupy them and essentially block your addiction to other opioid-releasing foods.
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