Many people are looking to reduce calories in their diet so they cut out sugar, and turn to artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes. The question has long been, which are hazardous to your health and which are safe for regular consumption. Some of these we add ourselves to coffee and tea drinks, while others are automatically in the ingredients of soft drinks, chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candy, fruit jiuce, ice cream, canned foods, dairy products and more. How do you know what you are really consuming and if it is good for you? Here is some information that will hopefully help clear that up.
Aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet), Saccharin (Sweet-n-Low), Sucralose (Splenda) and others have virtually no calories. However, the question has loomed around them that they may cause medical concerns after repeated consumption, even the fear of some cancers.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes but may be derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar. They are usually much sweeter than sugar as well. While they may help you watch your weight and will not promote tooth decay like regular sugar, some of the health concerns are pretty severe. While there has been NO concrete scientfiic studies released that these sweeteners can cause cancer, there have been numerous allegations to this point and health conscious people have tried to steer away from these products.
Sugar alcohols are carbohydrates that naturally occur in certain fruits and vegetables, but can also be manufactured. These are Stevia, Sorbitol, Xylitol and more. These ae generally found in many processed foods. They also can be found in toothpastes and mouthwashes as well. Again, they are lower in calories and do not promote cavities. However, the down side with these, when consumed often, can lead to a laxative type effect, and cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Natural sweeteners which are promoted as healthier are things such as honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, molasses, grape juice concentrate and some others. These can be added at home and are also found in processed foods. Nutritionally speaking, these items are very similar to that of regular table sugar. So while they sound like a better choice, the vitamin and mineral content is about the same and so are the calories.
At the end of the day, there is no health advantage to consuming added sugar of any type in your daily diet. Too much of any of these choices can contribute to tooth decay, poor nutrition, weight gain and increased triglycerides.
The more basic and all natrural you go with your diet, the healthier lifestyle you will lead and your body will thank you for it!