I have received emails from a number of people expressing concern about artificial sweeteners. So I decided that I would write a few recipes and highlight a few products that are "all natural."
What does natural mean?
Essentially, natural products are not made in a lab. For example, vanillin, the chemical that makes vanilla taste distinctive, can be extracted from a vanilla bean with a solvent (like alcohol). On the other hand, the vanillin compound itself can be created in a lab and dissolved in alcohol. They are both tasty products that add flavor to food, but the bean extract is a "natural" product and the lab-created version is "artificial."
And directly from the FDA:
Foods are natural "if they contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients, and if they are minimally processed"
By this definition, every artificial sweetener is a synthetic and unnatural product. Furthermore, a sugar source like honey is more natural that a sugar source like white granulated sugar because it is less processed.
Below is a recipe for high-protein peanut butter pudding; the whey powder used contains the natural non-nutritive sweetener Stevia and a little honey (in contrast to my usual 700 packets of splenda) is added to enhance the flavor of the recipe.
Protein-Packed Peanut Butter Pudding
1 cup no salt added* cottage cheese
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
2 Tbsp Honey
1/2 cup canned pumpkin or no-sugar added applesauce
1. Add all ingredients to a mini food processor
2. Process until well-combined, stirring down the sides occasionally.
3. Chill for at least 2 hours
Nutrition: 140 Calories, 17g protein, 5.5g fat, 16g carbohydrates, 1g fiber
* If you cannot find no salt added cottage cheese, the flavor may be too salty for you. If you are using regular cottage cheese, try increasing the canned pumpkin to 1 cup and decreasing the cottage cheese to 1/2 cup.