Artificial sweeteners may seem like the healthier opinion, but in actuality, they are unhealthier for your body in the long run.
When you can find healthier alternatives to aspartame and learn how to substitute artificial sugar for natural sugars, you can become healthier for the long run.
What’s in an Artificial Sweetener, anyways?
Artificial sweeteners include Sweet n Low, Splenda, Equal, Sugar Twin, Sunett, Aspartame and Neotame. They include anything other than sucrose (table sugar), glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Real sugar can go by a lot of names on the label, like agave, rice syrup, corn syrup, and so on.
Many sweeteners are processed in manufacturing labs and contain added ingredients like harsh chemicals. Studies show that relying on artificial sweeteners can actually enhance your sugar addiction because they have twice the amount of sweetness than real sugar.
Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can cause weight gain. It depends on how often you use sweeteners and how many at once you are using. Limit yourself to just one packet of artificial sweetener a day, and you shouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight.
They also cause you to crave calories, especially in the form of sugar. When you consume artificial sweeteners without digesting real sugar, your body craves the real stuff. As a result, you overeat sugar later on in your day.
Artificial sweeteners run the risk of causing obesity because it doesn’t satisfy your body’s desire for real, nutritious foods.
They are speculated to cause cancer. A study done in the 1970s showed that saccharin caused cancer in lab rats.
Studies have shown a connection between low birth weight and consumption of excessive artificial sweeteners during pregnancy.
A 2005 study showed that aspartame caused leukemia in lab rats.
Healthy Alternatives for Artificial Sweeteners
Honey, molasses, agave nectar and stevia are some healthy alternatives. Just a little bit of these naturally sourced sugars goes a long way.
Stevia comes from leaves, has no calories, and doesn’t affect blood levels.
Honey in its pure form contains niacin, protein, vitamin B6, iron and amino acids. It is also free of cholesterol and fat.
Agave nectar works well. Aside from being a naturally sweet substance, it is loaded with nutrients and is lower on the glycemic index. It works well in hot beverages and for baking.
Sugar is one of the most enjoyable aspects of comfort food and beverages, but both real sugar and artificial sweeteners can do more damage than good when taken in excess.
Consume them in moderation, and whenever possible, pick a natural sweetener like honey or agave syrup.