Over the last decade, artificial sweeteners have exponentially grown in popularity and have become far more common in our day-to-day diets. This is because a huge number of brands have been replacing sugar with these ‘healthy sugar replacements’ to allow people to cut down on their sugar intake.
However, are these artificial sweeteners really a healthier alternative to sugar?
Yes, overconsuming sugar can be very unhealthy for your body. However, sugar, when used as glucose, is actually a very important energy source within your body and is the number one source of food for the brain.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
So many people will consume drinks or foods which contain artificial sweeteners on a daily basis but are still unaware as to what exactly they are.
Artificial sweeteners are a sugar replacement that contains significantly less food energy and therefore calories than normal sugar. They are most commonly used in zero-sugar drinks to eradicate all sugars while still keeping the desired sweetness of the drink. They are mainly derived through processes of chemical synthesis and can usually be found in either pills or powders.
The most popular artificial sweetener is undoubtedly aspartame. It is usually added to low-calorie drinks, sweets, desserts, cereals and so much more. While it is a very popular sweetener, it has also had its fair share of bad press. The World Health Organisation even said that it could have links to cancerous diseases.
What Are The Benefits Of Artificial Sweeteners
- Zero-calorie alternative to sugar
- Unlike sugar, they do not have the ability to heighten the body's blood sugar levels.
- Can help individuals to manage their weight much better
- Lower your risk of tooth decay and cavities
- Gives a sweet taste without using sugars
What Are The Negatives Of Artificial Sweeteners
On the surface, artificial sweeteners look like they have a huge amount of amazing benefits that will help you to cut sugars out of your diet, which they do. However, there is also another darker side of artificial sweeteners that don't seem to be addressed as much as it should.
While artificial sweeteners do have their fair share of benefits, they also have their fair share of negatives. Decades of science now point to the fact that these artificial alternatives to sugar can have very negative effects on health.
While we cannot fully confirm these findings, it is said that artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on digestive issues, increased blood pressure, higher risk of heart disease, and higher risk of strokes. However, the most coveted and shocking potential negative danger of artificial sweeteners is the potential for them to increase an individual's chance of getting cancer.
Very recently aspartame, the most popular artificial sweetener in the world by far, has made headlines globally. This is because it has been put on a list by the International Agency for The Research of Cancer as a “possible” cancer risk.
Sugar Vs Artificial Sweeteners, Which Is Better?
For years people would always warn you away from sugars and potentially even tell you that artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, neotame and others were a better option. However as scientific studies have found more and more information, the public perception of artificial sweeteners has begun to change.
Yes, sugar in large amounts can become very unhealthy. However, sugar, when stored in the body as glucose, is very important to the healthy and proper function of the body. This is because glucose is one of the body's main energy sources. Glucose is also the number 1 most important food for the brain. Sugars' negatives typically come from the fact that many people over consume it and should therefore look to reduce their intake.
Most would have previously looked at artificial sweeteners as healthier alternatives to sugar. However, the more scientists research them, the more of their own negatives are found. Only now are people starting to understand and come to terms with the potential negatives that these artificial sweeteners could have.
So on the question of which is better, they both have their pros and their cons. They can both be damaging to the body. However, sugar offers more to the body when stored as glucose than when consumed in moderate and healthy amounts.
Natural Alternatives To Artificial Sweeteners
While artificial sweeteners have been the most popular and the most used form of sweeteners for a number of years, there are natural alternatives that offer the same sweet taste without chemicals and artificial nature. The most popular natural sweetener that you will find is stevia. However, you can also get monk fruit sweetener, xylitol, and erythritol.
All of these natural sweeteners have undergone stringent scientific testing and have been found to not only be a healthier sugar alternative but also be beneficial to your overall health. A good amount of sweeteners found in nature are very beneficial and of course, offer a much safer and much healthier sweet taste than artificially made sweeteners.
Stevia - Stevia is by far the most popular natural sweetener, and for good reason. It is a phenomenally low-calorie sweetener which comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. The brilliant sweetener has been scientifically proven to both reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Xylitol - Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol. It is commonly used within the dental industry as it can have a lot of dental benefits such as reducing both the risk of dental cavities and decay. It could also help to improve bone density and improve osteoporosis.
Erythritol - This is another incredibly low-calorie natural sugar. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that can be found in a huge number of fruits and has a beautifully sweet taste. This natural sweetener gives you the sweetness you desire without spiking blood sugar levels or affecting blood fats such as cholesterol.
Monk Fruit Sweetener - Monk fruit sweetener is native to a fruit in southeast Asia called, monk fruit. As a sweetener, it is amazing as it is free of both calories and carbs and could help to support better blood sugar level management. It also contains very beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
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