Natural sugars vs. artificial ones.
More and more people these days are watching what they eat. However, some of the options presented as healthy are anything but. For example, take artificial sweeteners. The label “sugar free” often falls in the “healthy” category, yet sugar replacements can do more damage than plain ole sugar.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are chemical compounds that are used instead of sugar in diet foods, soft drinks, candy, cakes, crackers, and cookies. They are fat free and still taste sweet. Some are even three or four times sweeter than sugar.
What is not always known about artificial sweeteners is that they are created in labs using chemical processes. Some use highly toxic substances that could be left behind in the final product. Because of these processes, there are side effects from long-term use of chemical sweeteners.
For instance, with NutraSweet (aspartame), possible side effects include headaches, seizures, chest pains, hallucinations and even tumors.
Another artificial sweetener you might want to avoid is Splenda (sucralose). It is a derivative of sugar. Splenda has the potential to enlarge the kidneys, cause dizziness, rashes, night sweats, nausea, and even weight gain.
Consuming all of these artificial sweeteners in drinks, snacks and adding them to food dishes can result in more harm to your body. Eliminate as many of them as you can from your diet.
How They Trick the Body
Here is another surprising fact about artificial sweeteners. The body gets a taste of sweetness on the tongue when you eat or drink something that contains an artificial sweetener. It then expects a burst of sugar but gets a non-sugar substitute instead. The body doesn’t register it as sugar so it continues to crave the sweetness.
This cycle can result in eating more foods that contain these sugar substitutes in an effort to quench the sweet craving. What happens is you take in more calories and see weight gain if this gets out of control.
Bottom line: eating sugar-free snacks doesn’t always mean calorie free. You could be doing more harm than good to your body.
Back to Sugar
What about sugar? It has been getting a bad rap over the years. Yes, sugar is sweet and contains calories, but in moderation it is perfectly harmless. In fact, many of the artificial sweeteners are sweeter tasting than sugar. By using sugar, you are adapting to a milder sweetness that you will be able to taste in foods without needing to add more.
Stick with unsweetened foods so that you can measure the amount of sugar you are adding, if you need to add any. Natural is usually better for the body because it is used to processing it.