My first blog entry made it before the welcome entry and I will be continuing on the topic of Food and Farming Terms as we go along but, for today, I want to start looking at the subject of sweeteners, in particular, artificial sweeteners. There was a full page article on this in the Globe and Mail a few days ago and it caught my interest. Typically, when something is controversial, such as artificial sweeteners, I tend to pay close attention. Personally, I find products with artificial sweeteners overly sweet and don’t use them. On the other hand, people who have diabetes or who wish to lose weight rely on them to reduce the intake of sugar and calories. Over the years however, there’s always been controversy as to their safety. Some of my colleagues have stories of sweeteners actually increasing their patients’ blood sugar levels, which is the opposite of what is expected. So when I read in the Globe and Mail article that research findings suggest that artificial sweeteners increase the risk of weight gain and blood sugar problems, and may cause biological changes in the body that increase appetite and weight, and have been shown to disrupt the balance of intestinal bacteria in a direction that could lead to obesity and diabetes, you can be sure I am going to investigate.   It’s important to me as we do a lot of menu planning for long term care and retirement homes. So, stay tuned. I will share what I find out.  (The article can be found in Health Section of The Globe and Mail, Tuesday July 7, 2015)