There has been a raging debate as to whether artificial sweeteners can replace sugar in a daily diet. Some people stick with sugar because it’s the natural one, so they think it’s better despite the high calorie content. Those who oppose sugar often say that sugar can cause an addiction, so it’s better to stay away from it and replace it with artificial sweeteners. They also believe that removing sugar from the diet would lower the risk of serious diseases like diabetes.
What are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar that gives the pleasure of sugar without all the unnecessary calories. They are way stronger in sweetness levels, but the calories are non-existent. This is one of the reasons why people consume them. When it comes to appearance, these sweeteners are more refined than granulated sugar. They can be used to substitute sugar, meaning that they can be added to cakes, drinks, jams, and others.
Types of artificial sweeteners
Some artificial sweeteners are extracted from natural sources. However, they should not be mistaken for sugar substitutes that are really natural like honey. Honey tastes sweet, but at the same time also packs high calories just like sugar. On the other hand, artificial sweeteners don’t usually contain a lot of calories despite having sweetness levels that far exceed sugar.
Saccharin is like 400 times sweeter than sugar, but with way fewer calories. In practice it can be used the way sugar is used, like for sweetening foods and drinks. Despite having a high level of sweetness, many people don’t like its bitter aftertaste. It may also cause an allergic reaction to people who have tolerance to sulfa drugs. Another reason to steer clear of this sweetener is that it’s linked to cancer, not surprising that we often see warning on the labels of foods containing this substance.
This is another sugar substitute you can find on the market. People love it not just for the sweet flavor, but also because it doesn’t has that bitter aftertaste like saccharine. It’s not on par with saccharine in terms of sweetness, but still sweet enough to be a replacement for sugar. It can also be used in foods just like sugar. However, it has downsides, one of which is it tends to lose its sweetness from heat exposure. In other words, it’s not ideal for cooking.
Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It’s also popular because it doesn’t leave that bitter taste in the mouth. That being said, you still need to consume it in moderation provided that it’s also linked to various problems, like gas and bloating.
Pros and cons
Artificial sweeteners are not all around bad despite what people have to say about them. Many actually need them to keep their blood sugar in check. Artificial sweeteners are carb-free, so they are totally safe for diabetics. Severe diabetes requires strict regulation of sugar consumption. In times like this, artificial sweeteners can really save the day. Diabetics can still enjoy sweet foods without sacrificing their health. Since they’re free of carbs, they don’t cause tooth problems. Despite all the advantages, artificial sweeteners are still accused of being harmful for health, so you should use them carefully.