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Question Sheet: Sweeeet! The Skinny on Sugar Substitutes
- Why do people worry about kids eating too much sugar?
- Which types of sweet foods and beverages do you like to eat and drink?
- Does consuming a lot of sugar affect you? If so, how?
- Why does David Katz say, "The more [sweets] you get, the more you need to feel satisfied"?
- How are sweet flavors different from spicy and sour flavors?
- How are artificial sweeteners different from sugar?
- Why are some people concerned about getting cancer from artificial sweeteners? Why are these sweeteners now considered safe?
- Other than the uncertain risk of health problems, what else is concerning about artificial sweeteners, according to Katz?
- How does eating less sugar affect a person's taste buds?
- Do you consider yourself a sugar junkie?
- Do you think switching from sugar to artificial sweeteners is a good or a bad idea? Explain.
- Much of the controversy over artificial sweeteners arises from debates about whether experiments are based on good, sound science or not. How might scientific experiments mislead people?
- Why might a preference for certain flavors develop during childhood? How can a person change his or her eating preferences?
- How sweet are your favorite foods? For a week, keep a sugar journal. Write down everything you eat. Then, record how many grams of sugar (or carbohydrates) are in each item. Were you surprised by what you found? [Hint: A variety of online calculators offer this type of information. Here's one example: www.calorieking.com/foods (Calorieking Wellness Solutions)]
- When you read nutrition labels, sweetening agents can appear under many names, including high-fructose corn syrup and honey. Make a list of the different types of sweeteners found in the foods and beverages you consume. Separate these ingredients into a full-calorie category and a diet category.
- Do you think a company would lie about cancer-causing chemicals in its products in order to stay in business? Why or why not?
- Besides artificial sweeteners, what are some other products that make people worry about cancer or other health problems?
- Imagine that a friend who eats a lot of sugar is switching to artificial sweeteners. Write a letter persuading him or her not to make the switch. Next, imagine that a friend who eats lots of diet products is going to go back to eating sugar instead. Write a persuasive letter arguing not to make that switch.
- Should scientists conduct more studies on the possible link between artificial sweeteners and cancer? With a friend, set up a debate in which one person argues in favor of more research and the other argues against it. Each person should write and deliver a two-minute speech. Discussion can follow.
- The article explains that a 12-ounce can of regular cola contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar, while a can of diet cola contains less than a tenth of a teaspoon of the artificial sweetener aspartame. Assume, for the sake of this problem, that a diet cola contains a tenth of a teaspoon of aspartame. How much less aspartame than sugar is there in a diet vs. regular soda? Express your answer in both fractions and percents.
- How many teaspoons of sugar per ounce are in a regular cola? How many teaspoons of aspartame per ounce are in a diet one?
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