"Fall" Into Weight Loss with Sugar-Free Foods and Beverages

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With summer drawing rapidly to a close, it's almost time to raid the closet again in search of fall-appropriate clothing. However, the conclusion of beach weather -- and the return to a bulkier wardrobe -- should not mean an end to weight loss efforts.

With summer drawing rapidly to a close, it's almost time to raid the closet again in search of fall-appropriate clothing. However, the conclusion of beach weather -- and the return to a bulkier wardrobe -- should not mean an end to weight loss efforts.

Many people tend to lose weight heading into the warm weather months, only to gain much of it back once autumn arrives. Others pack on the pounds even earlier, drawn in by backyard barbecues and frequent trips to the ice cream shop on muggy summer days.

Either way, calorie counters often approach the fall holiday season with weight woes. This year, don't look to fad diets or the drastic elimination of certain foods and beverages as the solution to successful weight loss. To help maintain a healthier shape, consider the calorie savings provided by low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages.

Products sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose (brand name Splenda®) allow consumers to enjoy their favorite meals without the extra calories. For example, drinking a diet soda can save 150 calories a day. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss. Choosing sugar-free chocolate will save you 50 calories a day -- or five pounds -- by year's end.

"By making simple diet substitutions, such as using low-calorie and sugar-free products, consumers are able to lose weight while continuing to indulge in their favorite foods and beverages," says Beth Hubrich, a registered dietitian and executive director of the Calorie Control Council. "Low-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose can be beneficial in terms of weight loss. Of course, portion control, a balanced diet, and exercise are also key to achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle."

According to a 2007 national survey conducted by the Calorie Control Council, 194 million U.S. adults enjoy low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages. The top reasons cited for "light" product use include maintaining better overall health, calorie reduction and eating or drinking healthier foods and beverages.

This fall, instead of avoiding certain types of foods consider incorporating sucralose into your recipes. That way, you can still whip up your favorite meals and sweet treats, but without the concern about unnecessary calories.

Here are two recipes with sucralose, courtesy of Splenda.com, to help whet your appetite. For more information and recipes, visit http://www.sucralose.org or http://www.splenda.com.

Citrus Glazed Chicken with Almonds (Serves 4)

4 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup almond slices, toasted

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place chicken breasts on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with one tablespoon of orange juice concentrate (reserve remaining concentrate for sauce). Bake in oven 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
2.Place remaining orange juice concentrate, lemon juice and chicken broth in a small saucepan. Blend together SPLENDA® Granulated and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into broth. Heat over medium-high heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. Remove from heat. Whisk butter into sauce. Add chives and parsley. Pour sauce over chicken breasts. Sprinkle almonds over breasts and serve.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 220
Total Fat: 8g
Total Protein: 28g
Carbohydrates: 8g

Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread (Serves 18)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
6 (1 ounce) squares BAKERS®* Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
2.Combine flour, SPLENDA® Granulated, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Coarsely chop baking chocolate bars.
3.Mix eggs, bananas, oil, and milk in a large bowl until well blended. Add dry ingredients; stir until just moistened. Stir in chopped chocolate and walnuts.
4.Pour into greased loaf pan.
5.Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 180
Total Fat: 10g
Total Protein: 4g
Carbohydrates: 20g

The Calorie Control Council, established in 1966, is an international non-profit association representing the low-calorie and reduced-fat food and beverage industry. Today it represents 60 manufacturers and suppliers of low-calorie, low-fat and light foods and beverages, including the manufacturers and suppliers of more than a dozen different dietary sweeteners, fat replacers and other low-calorie ingredients.

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Meagan Stangle