Sweeteners: The Bad and the Ugly
It’s common knowledge that consuming too much sugar is unhealthy for us. In fact, some doctors think sugars should be regulated like alcohol. When you’re in need of a sweetener, make sure you know the difference
between the ones to consume in moderation and the ones to avoid altogether. No matter the sweetener, you should always think of them as treats. Here are 5 sweeteners to avoid or consume with caution.
Monday, September 15, 2014, Bad Guy #1: Aspartame
There’s conflicting evidence regarding the safety of aspartame, a common chemical sweetener used in diet soda and other low-calorie foods, but many people report headaches or a generally ill feeling after ingesting anything containing this chemical. Researchers are also finding that drinking artificially sweetened sodas can lead to an increase in waist size over time. To be “better safe than sorry”, stay clear of aspartame and choose a more natural sweetener.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014, Bad Guy #2: Sucralose
Sucralose, better known by its brand name Splenda, is a sugar that’s processed with chlorine. The safety of this product has been questioned, but all agree it does ultimately end up in wastewater plants, where it cannot be broken down. Scientists worry it could change organisms’ feeding habits and interfere with photosynthesis, putting our future food chain at risk. When it comes to Sucralose, It’s better to be safe and choose a more natural sweetener.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, Bad Guy #3: High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Waistlines have been growing ever since high-fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, snuck into the food industry around 35 years ago. This highly processed sweetener, with a slightly higher fructose level than sugar, does most of its damage as it’s added to an array of processed foods such as refined breads, cereals, ketchup, candy, sweetened drinks and sauces. Today, it is estimated that Americans ingest about 200 calories of HFCS daily. Avoid this highly processed sweetener when possible.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, Bad Guy #4: Agave Nectar
While your health food store likely stocks agave sweeteners, keep in mind many agave nectars consist of 70 to 90 percent fructose which is more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup. Although it doesn’t cause dramatic blood sugar spikes like corn syrup does, high concentrations of fructose can increase triglyceride levels and ultimately heart disease risk, therefore, use agave nectar with caution.
Friday, September 19, 2014, Bad Guy #5: Sugar
Sugar is made up of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. It’s the sheer quantity we are eating and drinking that’s driving obesity and other diseases. About 100 years ago, humans ate the equivalent of 3 teaspoons of sugar a day; now it’s up to 22 tablespoons (88 grams) daily as sugar is hidden in everything. If you like sugar in your coffee or cereal, try unsweetened brands that you like. Aim to use sugar with caution and mainly to make healthy foods taste better.