Best Sugar Substitute
There are many reasons why people turn to sugar substitutes to satisfy their sweet tooth. Some people are looking to reduce calories, and others think it is better for them because they have diabetes, and others just like the taste better. To meet the need, many different types of artificial sweeteners have been developed over the years, and most of them are still available.
A growing amount of evidence is beginning to show that artificial sweetener can cause some significant health concerns. Before we get to a list of the most common sugar substitutes available, let’s look at the different health problems that are known.
Most people want artificial sweeteners because they think it will help them lose weight, but in fact, the opposite may be true. Studies have shown that these sweeteners cause you to want to eat more, and make you feel less satisfied. The end result is people end up eating more, and more often, which can lead to long-term weight gain.
Increased Risk of Diabetes
While artificial sweeteners typically don’t cause any spike in blood sugar, there is a growing amount of evidence that shows that they can still increase your chances of getting diabetes. Studies have shown that consuming diet soda can increase the risk of diabetes by as much as 121%! These were observational studies, which can be difficult to evaluate, so it is important that additional research is done in this area. It is evident that there is some reason for concern.
Some studies have linked artificial sweeteners to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. This is a condition that can include high blood pressure, excess belly fat, cholesterol abnormalities and other issues. A study found a 36% increased risk of this medical problem for those who drink diet soda. Other studies, showed a different result. This means more research is needed. It is evident that soda (diet and regular) is unhealthy, so it is a good idea to eliminate it from your diet.
Possible Link to Headaches & Depression
Aspartame, one of the most common sugar substitutes, has been linked to headaches and depression in some people. From the research, it seems that some people are far more sensitive to this product than others, which is why they get the negative side effects. This should come as no surprise since many foods and other products are fine for some people and can cause unwanted adverse health issues in others. This research shows that it is important for people to monitor their reaction to Aspartame or any other artificial sweetener to see if they have any adverse effects.
Issues with Gut Microbes
Several studies that have been published recently found that artificial sweeteners could disrupt your overall metabolic function, which can cause you to put on unwanted pounds. These were very carefully performed studies that show causation between the sugar substitutes and these effects, which is very telling. You can see some the studies here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Common Sugar Substitutes
If you still want to use sugar substitutes, the following is a list of the most common options out there, and some information about them. Whenever choosing what to put in our bodies, it is best to do so only when informed about what it will do to you and how it will impact your health. So, now that you know some of the potential concerns related to sugar substitutes, here are the options:
- Aspartame – Aspartame is commonly sold as NutraSweet, Sugar Twin and Equal. It is about 200 times sweeter than normal table sugar, so you need to use far less of it to get the same effect.
- Acesulfame Potassium – This is another sweetener that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is to be used primarily for baking or other cooking and is commonly sold as Sweet One or Sunnet.
- Advantame – This is one of the sweetest products available, coming in at 20,000 times sweeter than normal sugar. It is made for baking and cooking, and just a little bit of it will be sufficient for most recipes.
- Aspartame–Acesulfame Salt – This option is sold as TwinSweet and is about 350 times sweeter than sugar.
- Neotame – At 13,000 times sweeter than sugar, this one is sold under the name Newtame. It is also used mostly for cooking.
- Saccharin – Saccharin is 700 times sweeter than sugar and is one of the most common artificial sweeteners on the market. It is sold under the name Necta Sweet and Sweet’N Low.
- Sucralose – This one is 600 times sweeter than table sugar and used mostly for cooking with acidic foods. It is found under the name Splenda.
Natural & Unsweetened Foods
While it does seem clear that sugar substitutes can cause some health issues, it is just as clear that ordinary sugar is also bad for you and may become addictive. For a truly healthy diet, it is best to eat natural, unprocessed foods with no added sweeteners of any kind. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, consider grabbing some fruit such as pineapple, blueberry or strawberry, all of which are quite sweet. These foods provide you with the sugar you may crave, but in a healthier and more natural way.