A Sweet Treat?
Join me in welcoming a post from our guest blogger, Olivia Lopez, senior dietetic student at Ohio University.
Have you ever wondered if the sugar packets that you are placing in your teas, coffees, or breakfast cereals every morning are good for you? Many would say that because it is not “real” sugar, it must be healthier. We are told that artificial sweeteners are “low-calorie” or even “no calorie” sweeteners, however, how good (and safe) are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners attract many individuals because of their little to no carb intake for a packet of sugar. Not only that, you only need one or two packets of artificial sugar when compared to three or four of the normal sugar.
Artificial sweeteners are widely used and show up in many of our foods. They are used in processed foods, baked goods, soft drinks, candies, canned foods, and jams and jellies. Artificial sweeteners are also common for home cooking. Therefore, you should always check the label when cooking or baking, to see if any artificial sweeteners are being used.
Some benefits to artificial sweeteners are that it helps control weight. With artificial sweeteners being either little to no calories, when comparing that to natural sugar being four calories per gram, you can see how the calories can easily add up. Also, artificial sweeteners can be an excellent alternative for individuals that have diabetes. Since artificial sugars do not contain any carbohydrates, they would not be able to increase blood sugar levels in the body.
While some observational studies have linked artificial sweeteners to weight gain, when used in randomized control trials (the gold standard of research), artificial sweeteners are not found to cause weight gain at all. The use of artificial sweeteners is also not linked to the development of cancer. This is based on hundreds of safety studies.
Some better alternatives than artificial sweeteners that can be added to your daily sweet tooth are date sugar and fruit. Date sugar comes from dates which have a natural sugar called molasses that is a much healthier sweetener. Fruits also have a natural sugar called fructose in them that can keep that sweet tooth happy all while living a healthier lifestyle.