The debate between sugar and sweeteners has been going on for years. Weight loss enthusiasts and nutritionists have been disagreeing on the subject for a long time, and both options have their benefits and downsides.
We all know that consuming too much sugar is bad for our health. There are a considerable number of health issues associated with sugar, including obesity and diabetes. It is because of this that sweeteners are often used as an alternative to sugar.
Many people choose to add flavour to their coffee with a sweetener instead of sugar, and sweeteners are also commonly used in diet drinks. These sweeteners are calorie-free and therefore, better for weight loss and healthy living; however, they are also created from chemicals. With so many conflicting opinions, knowing which option to choose can be confusing. This is why we are looking into whether sweeteners really are better than sugar.
What Are Sweeteners?
Sugar comes in many forms and is found in a vast range of foods. Whether you choose coconut sugar, honey or agave nectar, you are still putting sugar into your body. These natural forms of sugar have the same glycaemic index as sugar, meaning they have the same effect on the body. Sugar is bad for the body when consumed in high doses, but with so many foods today containing hidden sugars, many of us are consuming a lot more than we know.
Sweeteners are an artificial alternative to these sugars, and they also come in many forms such as Stevia, Sucralose, Acesulfame K and Aspartame. These sweeteners are intensely sweet in even the tiniest of doses. Because of this, such small amounts are needed to match the sweetness of sugar, and they are perfectly safe in small doses.
Each type of sweetener works in a slightly different way; for example, Sucralose passes easily through the body and doesn’t cause any build-up of body fat. Stevia is another popular choice that is derived from the Stevia rebaudiana plant and can result in reduced glucose and insulin levels compared to sugar.
Should You Use Sweeteners?
The majority of us consume too much sugar in our daily diets because it is added to many food types. Consuming too much sugar can cause health problems, including weight gain and diabetes.
Sweeteners are great for reducing these risks and maintaining healthy sugar levels. Whether you should use sweeteners will ultimately depend on your goals, but overall, they are better for the teeth and have little to no calories. For people who have diabetes, sweeteners are excellent for providing a sweet taste without having an effect on blood sugar levels.
Will Switching To Sweeteners Help You Lose Weight?
Many people believe that switching to sweeteners will mean they will lose weight, but this isn’t the case. Sweeteners in isolation will not mean you automatically lose weight, but they can be used to help with a calorie-controlled diet. The only way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit and consuming too much sugar can make this difficult.
By swapping to sweeteners, you can reduce the number of calories you consume, but you will also need to watch what else you are eating and exercise well. For those with a sweet tooth, sweeteners are a great way of getting that sugar fix without consuming high calories.
Are Sweeteners Safe?
The safety of consuming sweeteners has been questioned a lot over the years. Some people are wary of them because they are artificial and created from chemicals. In the past, they have been linked to health problems, including liver damage and cancers, but this is highly contested.
In actual fact, no sweeteners of any kind can be used in foods in Europe unless they are approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). All majorly used sweeteners are approved by the EFSA and meet their stringent guidelines. This means they are safe to consume but should, like sugar, be eaten in moderation.
Different types of sweeteners have been claimed to be healthier than others. Stevia and Fructose are often considered healthier options because they are derived from plants and natural ingredients, compared to solely artificial options such as Aspartame.
No matter the type of sweeteners or sugar that you do choose to use, you should bear in mind that moderation is key. Ultimately, sweeteners are a better choice than sugar because they are zero calories and don’t increase blood sugar levels; however, consuming sugar in small quantities is not harmful to health.