People limit their sugar consumption with artificial sweeteners. Unlike table sugar, the alternatives don’t spike blood sugar or have high calories. However, they’re not “miracle” products either. Explore the pros and cons of choosing a sugar alternative.
“Sugar” is the general term for sweet-tasting, soluble carbohydrates. They digest quickly into our bloodstream and activate the release of dopamine. Of course, there are natural sugars you’ll find in fruit and vegetables. However, you’ll find sugars in most processed food and drinks, such as cereal, crackers, and soda.
It feels impossible to escape sugar as it tastes good and is present in most items we consume. Plus, since it activates the release of dopamine, it offers feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. That makes us turn to sugar more.
What’s the Issue?
Sugar tastes good and makes us feel good. So what’s the issue? In simple terms, everything you like isn’t always good for you.
The three types of sugars are glucose, fructose, and sucrose, and each presents their own problems. Glucose rapidly metabolizes in your body and can spike your blood sugar levels. You may feel thirsty, lethargic, and have frequent headaches.
Fructose doesn’t impact blood glucose levels, but it can metabolize in the liver, raise levels of triglycerides, and cause weight gain.
Sucrose is table sugar and contains 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. Consuming too much sugar may make you feel jittery, irritable, or experience fatigue.
All this is to say that the issue with sugar is health complications. Sugar increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
What Do People Do?
Refined sugar isn’t an essential part of our diet, and some people eliminate it from their lifestyles. However, most individuals don’t want to cut out sugar because it tastes so good. Instead of table sugar, people turn to sugar alternatives! They offer sugary Flavor without high calories or health risks.
What Are Sugar Alternatives?
Sugar alternatives are plant-based or chemical substances that sweeten or enhance the Flavor of food and drinks. They’re sweet yet don’t contain sugar. The alternatives have fewer calories than sucrose and are available in many products. Typically, you can find sugar-free soda or ice creams with sugar alternatives that mimic the Flavors of their sugary counterparts.
In the US, there’s a selection of FDA-approved sugar substitutes you’ll see in stores, such as:
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Luo Han Guo (Monk fruit)
- Aspartame (Equal)
- Saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- Purified Stevia Leaf Extracts (Truvia)
Why Do People Use Sugar Alternatives?
The primary reason why people use sugar alternatives is to enhance their food without spiking their blood sugar. This is helpful for individuals with diabetes or blood sugar concerns. The alternatives also improve the taste of food and beverages without increasing calories. This is ideal for weight loss or weight management.
Although sugar alternatives have awesome benefits, they also have drawbacks. Let’s explore their pros and cons for an inside look at these sugar substitutes.
The Pros of Sugar Alternatives
Sugar alternatives are great for many individuals. Here are some reasons why people love them!
Suitable Product for People With Diabetes
Sugar alternatives don’t spike blood sugar, which is ideal for people with diabetes. People can enjoy sweet treats without the harmful side effects! Furthermore, the substitutes are great for individuals interested in lowering their sugar intake.
Reduce Caloric Intake
With almost zero calories, artificial sweeteners reduce your daily calorie intake. This can significantly impact your diet, especially if you have a caloric deficit.
If your coffee has five teaspoons of sugar, that adds 100 calories to your daily calorie intake. Replacing the sugar with an artificial sweetener automatically reduces those calories. Not to mention, it won’t raise your blood sugar levels.
Some Sweeteners Are Natural
Although several sugar alternatives are synthetic substitutes, some sweeteners come from natural substances. For example, monk fruit sweeteners (Lo Han Guo) come from a fruit grown in Southeast Asia. When you crush the fruit, it releases sweet but zero-calorie juices. Products like Monk Fruit Sweetener Drops can enhance food and drinks with natural Flavors.
Easy To Use
Since sugar alternatives mimic sugar, they’re easy to integrate into baking, canning, and packaging. That’s why you’ll likely find sugar substitutes in various confections, baked goods, sodas, jams/jellies, and dairy products. Furthermore, most sugar alternatives come in pre-portioned packs that you can add to coffee, fruit, or other items. They’re transportable, so you can always have a few packs on hand!
Improve Oral Health
Excess sugar consumption can lead to tooth cavities and other oral health problems. Typically, sugar can settle in your teeth and cause bacterial growth, which serves as the breeding ground for cavities, tooth decay, and yellowing. In contrast, sugar alternatives don’t react with the bacteria in your mouth and won’t cause tooth decay!
Variety To Choose From
From Splenda to Truvia, there are different sugar alternatives to choose from. Keep in mind that products vary in taste due to their different sweetness levels. For instance, some people prefer monk fruit over Stevia because it’s sweeter and tastes similar to table sugar. However, this factor depends on your taste buds.
The Cons of Sugar Alternatives
In a perfect scenario, sugar alternatives only have awesome advantages. However, that’s not the case. Let’s assess some of their cons.
Although sugar alternatives are sweet, they don’t taste just like sugar. Some artificial sweeteners have a sour or bitter aftertaste that many people find unpleasant. It takes time to adapt to these Flavors.
Regular consumption of sugar alternatives can cause bloating and digestive distress. For instance, loose bowels and frequent gas are common issues. This is because some sugar substitutes ferment in the colon and cause laxative effects. However, extreme gastrointestinal issues only happen with excess consumption.
Artificial sweeteners can increase your appetite because they can affect the part of your brain that stimulates hunger. As a result, you may eat more frequently or consume larger meals. Excess sweeteners may affect results if you’re on a weight loss plan, so remain mindful of your caloric intake.
Baked Good Alterations
Since sugar alternatives have different chemical compositions and properties, they can change the composition of baked goods. For instance, the color and texture of bakery products may change. They can make food products lighter, drier, or denser due to a lack of moisture. Also, some sugar substitutes can reduce the perishability of food.
Now that you know the pros and cons of choosing a sugar alternative, you may add this ingredient to your diet. If so, we offer Flavored Sweeteners that can elevate your food and drinks. Browse our selection right now!