For decades, sugar has been one of the most persistent health controversies: should you be consuming artificial sweetener or good ole’ authentic sugar? Beyond the influence of their subtle differences in flavor, each sweetener carries a handful of both pros and cons regarding health. Read on for a breakdown of natural vs. artificial to make the call yourself!
Which Sweetener is Pulling the Most Weight?
While most artificial sweeteners have zero calories or are very low in calorie (in comparison to natural cane sugar), these sweeteners might incite additional weight gain. How? Due to their sweeter taste, scientists believe that artificial sweeteners might increasingly train your brain to crave even sweeter foods. Moreover, being low or zero-calorie is not a quick and easy shortcut for weight loss; typically, a lack of caloric intake confuses the brain signals which normally tell you when you’re full and to stop eating. A better solution for satisfying your sweet tooth while managing weight loss is to reach for foods with naturally occurring sugar, like fruit, or by using honey in place of sugar.
Blood Sugar Balancing Act
When it comes to managing concerns with one’s blood sugar, which sweetener do you reach for? If blood sugar levels are higher than desired, grabbing an artificially-flavored treat can be very beneficial. When blood sugar levels are low, however, these artificial sweeteners will not function the same as natural sugars to replenish what the body is missing. Current studies remain inconclusive as to whether or not artificial sweeteners may have a negative impact on insulin production.
Chemicals or Calories: Which is Safer?
It’s no question that the presence of aspartame is a major concern with artificial sweeteners. Simultaneously, there’s no discounting the drawbacks of natural sugar, such as cavities and addiction. Except for those with phenylketonuria, small amounts of aspartame are relatively harmless to the body, and when processed, are metabolized into the same compounds found in natural foods. Most artificial sweeteners pass straight through the body without being digested or retained in any way.
What’s the final verdict? As with most foods, it’s all about moderation; neither type of sugar is particularly healthy for you, but each has a place in our diet.