With a wide variety of sugar substitutes available these days, it gets really confusing to know the difference between the good and bad stuff.

Sugar substitutes are forms of food additives that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less food energy. Some sugar substitutes are naturally produced while others are produced synthetically.  You can also find more information about sugar from my previous blog. >> CLICK HERE

In order for you to be able to make an informed choice, it is at the up most importance the you know the pros and cons of each.  So let’s know more of these 2 forms:

Artificial sweeteners

As mentioned above, artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that are produced synthetically. However, it may be derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself.

Artificial sweeteners are popular among diets since they add virtually no calories to your meal. A big plus includes, you need only a fraction compared with the amount of sugar you would normally use for sweetness. They are widely used in processed foods, including baking, sodas, candies, etc.

Since they have virtually no calories, they are very beneficial for weight control. In contrast, each gram of regular table sugar contains 4 calories. Hence, they can be a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners don't raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates.

Some examples of zero calorie sweeteners include Sucralose and Saccharin.

Sucralose is primarily marketed as Splenda. Saccharin is primarily marketed as SugarTwin and Sweet'N Low.

They are generally used in 4,500 food and beverage products, most commonly candy, sodas and cereal. The FDA also says it's safe to consume and unlike most of the other sweeteners, it can be used in cooking and baking. 

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Natural Sweeteners

Natural sweeteners are often times promoted as healthier than sugar or other sugar substitutes. Some major examples include fruit juice, stevia, agave nectar, cane sugar, honey, molasses, and maple syrup.

A study shows that if you substitute 130 grams a day of refined sugars with healthy alternative, such as natural sweeteners, it significally increases the amount of antioxidants you consume each day! A great example would be on honey alone. Honey is packed with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, and a variety of other minerals that is needed by your body. 

Even if they are deemed as healthier than processed sugar, the vitamin and mineral content is almost the same that of sugar. Natural sweeteners are generally safe. But there's no health advantage to consuming any type of added sugar. Consuming too much added sugar, even natural sweeteners, can lead to health problems. Such examples are tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and increased triglycerides.

To sum it up, when choosing sugar substitutes, it pays to be very meticulous. Ask questions, research and be savvy. They may help with weight management, but they are definitely NOT THE SOLUTION. So they should be used only in moderation. If you use sugar substitutes to save calories, be careful not to eat higher calorie foods as a reward for the calories you saved.

To get the best of both worlds my recommendation would be Stevia. It is a zero calorie all natural sweetener! Save the calories and get the added health benefit of it being all natural :) .

 

Get informed and look beyond the hype when you are being marketed with the magic words "sugar-free", "zero sugar", etc. Sugar substitutes, generally don't offer the same health benefits as whole foods do, such as fruits and vegetables. Always remember that moderation is key with everything.

 

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