Artificial Sweeteners – not all are beneficial

by Michelle on December 8, 2017

Artificial sweeteners have been touted as healthy alternatives to regular sugar since they’re not loaded with calories.  However, what they ARE loaded with are various elements that make them far sweeter than regular sugar which increases the level of sweetness your body registers.  This makes it so your body actually craves more “sweet” as it offsets a proper level of taste.

Here is a list of some of the most common artificial sweeteners used in the United States and ones that should be avoided; each is far sweeter than regular sugar…they include:

Artificial Sweetener              Some Brand Names                       Sweetness Compared to Sugar

Aspartame                              Equal, NutraSweet                          180 times sweeter than sugar

Acesulfame-K (potassium)      Sunett, Sweet One                          200 times sweeter than sugar

Saccharin                                Sweet’N Low, Necta Sweet             300 times sweeter than sugar

Sucralose                                 Splenda                                           600 times sweeter than sugar

Below are some “natural” sweeteners out there that do the job better and without the calories, but use caution as for some they can cause nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.  They also have a taste that many people don’t like.  Another issue is that not all “natural” sweeteners ONLY contain the “natural” element used for sweetness.  Make sure you read the ingredients and make sure there aren’t other ingredients along with the natural ingredient.  Here are some beneficial natural sweeteners to look for:

  1. Stevia: Look for ONLY the Stevia ingredient…a natural no-calorie sweetener make from Stevia leaves.  Avoid those that have “Reb-A” and/or “dextrose” (glucose); even if it contains erythritol you’re still not getting ONLY Stevia.  Straight Stevia may be the healthiest choice for a sugar alternative.
  2. Erythritol: This is a sugar alcohol found naturally in certain fruits (pears, watermelon, grapes, etc.)  It’s often combined with Stevia in packaged items.  Use caution in high doses as it can cause digestive problems.
  3. Xylitol: Another sugar alcohol found naturally in certain fruits & vegetables; often derived from corn cobs.  Powdered Xylitol can be substituted for sugar in baking, but it’s highly toxic to dogs so use caution around your pets and don’t feed them items made with Xylitol.
  4. Yacon Syrup: A new artificial sweetener from the Yacon plant that’s very high in fructooligosaccharides, which function as soluble fibers that feed the good bacteria in the intestines.  It can help with constipation and it has various benefits digestively due to its high amount of soluble fiber; overuse can cause stomach upset.

Artificial sweeteners can aid in weight loss and are helpful for diabetics to maintain proper blood sugar levels.  Used in moderation they are beneficial, just keep in mind the detriments associated with overindulgence. As with most things…too much of a good thing can be bad.




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