It seems like we’re being told to reduce sugar everywhere we look, but we’re definitely not talking about sugars evil twin (artificial sweeteners) enough. While these sweeteners may be “sugar-free”, low carb, and low calorie, that definitely doesn’t mean that they are healthy.
We’re breaking down what you need to know about artificial sweeteners and why they may be even worse than sugar.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are chemicals used to sweeten foods or beverages with little to no calories. They are extremely sweet-tasting, some up to 700 times sweeter than table sugar! And since the body doesn’t even recognize these chemicals, we don’t actually break them down.
Some common artificial sweeteners include:
What's The Problem With Artificial Sweeteners?
Ok, so what’s the issue with these sweeteners. For one, they can actually cause us to crave more sugary foods. Why? Because these sweeteners offer an incredibly sweet taste in a very small quantity. This can overstimulate our sugar receptors, which can actually make us want to consume sugar.
Studies have also shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may increase the risk of weight gain, and may even be addictive.
The Bottom Line
Using artificial sweeteners is often viewed as a healthy alternative to regular old table sugar. But, the research says not so fast. There are certainly risks that are associated with regular intake of these sweeteners, and at the end of the day, a balanced and wholesome diet is going to be far healthier than sweetening your food and drinks with any artificial sweetener.
If you’re looking for a natural and healthier way to sweeten your foods, that’s also low carb, and low calorie, consider something like stevia or monk fruit.
If you aren’t extremely concerned about the calories or the carbs, you could also use a natural sweetener like raw honey or pure maple syrup.
Sticking to natural foods is going to be far healthier than using anything artificial that may ultimately trick our body into consuming more sugar—the thing we are trying to avoid in the first place.