Many of us find it difficult to resist a sweet treat, but eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes and even heart disease. It can also trigger headaches, rot your teeth and make you cranky or tired.
Because of these reasons, some adults are on the quest for healthy alternatives to refined sugar. Unfortunately, many sweeteners aren’t much better than white sugar. In fact, they may even be worse for your body.
The occasional ice cream cone or brownie likely won’t have a major impact on your health, but excessive sugar intake can affect your physical and emotional well-being. Many adults seek healthy alternatives to refined sugar only to discover that alternative sweeteners don’t necessarily promote wellness, either. Before you sweeten your coffee with aspartame or chow down on Erythritol-enhanced sorbet, get the facts on sugar alternatives below.
Discover the Hidden Dangers of Popular Sweeteners.
Aspartame may seem like a carb-free, calorie-free dream come true, but regular consumption may create some serious issues. Many adults turn to aspartame-sweetened desserts in hopes of losing weight, but research reveals that consuming aspartame can actually make it harder for you to shed pounds. This is because it may interfere with enzyme activity in your digestive system by blocking intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP), an enzyme which helps thwart the development of diabetes and obesity.
Aside from that, aspartame is believed to be associated with numerous types of cancer, though experts disagree on whether it officially plays a role. This artificial sweetener may also cause milder issues, such as headaches or dizziness.
Erythritol is popular with people who want a sugar substitute that tastes like, well, sugar. Its flavor is nearly identical to refined white sugar, yet a serving has 94% less calories than sugar.
Though this sweetener has no major side effects, especially when compared to most other sugar alternatives, it can still cause digestion problems. Your body can’t digest erythritol, so it retains its original composition as it passes to your colon. When it finally exits your body, it may do so in the form of diarrhea. It can also cause nausea or a gurgling stomach. Although eating it in moderation may not lead to these side effects, some people tend to be more sensitive.
Agave nectar is often hailed as a “clean” sugar because it comes from the agave plant. While this may seem like a valid belief, it’s important to remember cane sugar also comes from plants, and erythritol is derived from wheat starch or corn.
Agave may be fine for short-term use because it doesn’t spike sugar levels — at least not at first. However, consistent use may lead to insulin resistance or other issues, such as high cholesterol and fatty liver disease.
You may have seen sucralose in diet sodas and sugar-free gums. It often goes by the brand name Splenda, and it’s a zero-calorie artificial sweetener. A no-calorie sweetener may seem appealing if you’re trying to firm up your figure, but sucralose might not help. Like aspartame, sucralose can damage gut enzymes and trigger weight gain, making it harder for you to maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
While some sweeteners are worse than others, you may want to play it safe and limit your consumption of all of them. Nearly every sweetener, whether it’s made from lab-created compounds or harvested straight from a plant, can lead to weight gain. We’re not saying you should give up your cookies and frappuccinos completely, though; just work on pairing sugary treats with nutrient-rich foods, such as fresh produce, protein-packed nuts and lean meats. Balance is key.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension!
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