Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Not The Healthier Alternative to Sugar

Nov 17, 2022
sugar vs artificial sweeteners

How Much Sugar is Too Much Sugar?

To tell if processed food contains added sugars, you need to look at the list of ingredients. Sugar has many other names. Besides those ending in “ose,” such as maltose or sucrose, other names for sugar include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey, or fruit juice concentrates. Learn more about reading food labels. Limit your consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as sugar-sweetened beverages. For example, just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories, and zero nutrition.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting the amount of added sugars you consume to no more than half of your daily discretionary calories allowance. For most American women, that’s no more than 100 calories per day or about 6 teaspoons of sugar. For men, it’s 150 calories per day or about 9 teaspoons. In addition, the AHA recommendations focus on all added sugars without singling out any particular types, such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Choose Healthy Sugars

Honey contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes for health. Choose raw honey instead of the common varieties in grocery stores that have been heated, pasteurized, and filtered. 

Maple syrup from the sap of maple trees is a combination of glucose and sucrose (glucose + fructose), so it has low fructose content and provides minerals and amino acids. 

Cane sugar is a perennial grass native to the Southern tropic regions. It consists of sucrose (glucose + fructose). Refined white cane sugar is the most common and most heavily processed and refined, so avoid this sugar. Brown sugar is less refined without the molasses being removed. However, this isn’t a healthy sugar, so avoid using this sugar. Turbinado sugar can also raise blood sugar levels, although it’s better than white or brown sugar. Coconut sugar is a good and very sweet alternative, so use half the amount you would use in a recipe.

Molasses can be used as a milk sweetener and contains vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. 

Stevia is a sweetener that doesn’t raise your blood sugar and is safe for diabetics. The leaves of this native South American plant are calorie-free, and they do not contain fructose or glucose. Stevia contains a natural glycoside chemical that has a strong sweet reaction but does not stimulate insulin release. Glycosides are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar or sucrose, so use Stevia sparingly!

Sugar alcohols such as erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, and mannitol are found in raw fruits and vegetables. They normally pose no health concerns in their natural state. Xylitol contributes very few calories but may be poorly absorbed by the body, causing the potential for digestive distress. It has also been shown to be protective against cavities. It is commonly used in toothpaste and chewing gum for this reason. Erythritol is also found naturally in some fruits. The body can fully absorb erythritol, causing less digestive distress, and it does not contribute calories. The brand name, Truvia, is a combination of erythritol and Stevia.

Why You Want to Ditch the Artificial Sweeteners

Every human and animal experiment and study shows that artificial sweeteners can be as bad or even have worse harmful side effects than when you eat regular sugar!

Even though artificial sweeteners have been touted as a "safe" alternative to sugars, studies now show that these sweeteners cause harmful effects on our bodies.

The companies who make these products tend to create a false picture in which zero-calorie sweetened foods and drinks as better, healthier items to eat or drink because they don't have sugar. As a result, Americans who consume sugar-free chemical sweeteners climbed from 70 million in 1987 to 160 million two decades ago. But, unfortunately, they don't tell you what happens inside your body once you've consumed an artificial sweetener.

Obesity on the Rise 

Even though our country consumes large amounts of artificial sweeteners, obesity in America has doubled in all age groups, and ethnic groups, and social strata. In addition, the number of overweight Americans has increased from 30 percent to over 65 percent of our population. Sadly, the fastest-growing rate of obesity is among children.

Recent studies show the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners adversely affect gut health and glucose tolerance

So how can a calorie-free sweetener make you fat? While you may not be eating sugar, these chemical compounds can cause hormonal imbalances, substantially contributing to weight gain. 

Why Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat

Here are three reasons artificial sweeteners can create weight gain and cause you to go out and buy bigger pants on your next shopping trip. 

First, artificial sweeteners increase your risk for diabetes. Sugar substitutes can increase weight gain and lead to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. One study showed that rats' metabolism slowed as they ate artificial sweeteners. At the same time, they wanted to consume more calories and gain weight than rats fed regular, sugar-sweetened food. In another animal study, in which the animals consumed artificial sweeteners, ate more food, slowed their metabolism, and put on 14 percent more body fat in two weeks, even when eating fewer total calories.

Artificial sweeteners change your brain chemistry and metabolism as they stimulate your taste buds and trick them into thinking you're eating sugar. Artificial sweeteners can be 1000 times more sweet than sugar, confusing your body which increases your insulin production, which is your fat-storage hormone. While your metabolism slows down, you simultaneously become more hungry more quickly. As a result, you're prone to eat more food, which increases belly fat.

Because these sweeteners confuse and slow your metabolism, you burn fewer calories daily. Artificial sweeteners make you hungrier as you crave more sugar, starchy carbs, and other carbohydrates, putting you in a vicious weight-gain cycle.

Artificial sweeteners are also highly addictive. Artificial sweeteners quickly become addictive. Many health coaches who focus on diet as a part of health have difficulty getting their clients to kick the diet soda habit. Have you ever seen a fit person drinking diet soda? Nope!

And while soda companies promote their low or no-calorie soft drinks, you'll want to read this study which has discovered frightening facts that can make anyone stop drinking their diet colas.

If you're female, you are more likely to be overweight with artificial sweeteners. Women drinking diet sodas gulped down twice soda as much as those drinking natural sugar-sweetened sodas as artificial sweeteners are more addictive than regular sugar. 

We were not created to eat artificial sweeteners, and trying to fool your brain into thinking you're eating a sweet food wreaks havoc on your metabolism and messes up your internal hormone balance. Artificial sweeteners disrupt hormones and neurological signals that control hunger and satiety, leaving you feeling more hungry and eating more high-calorie foods.

Take a look at the ingredients of sweetened foods in your pantry, take your trash can, and ditch all of your artificially sweetened foods and drinks. Make sure to recycle the containers and wait, as the weight will fall off once you trash the artificial stuff that wasn't meant to be in our bodies!

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