Imagine yourself picking berries or fruit off of trees when you desire a sweet treat. Although you may not have berry bushes or fruit trees growing in your yard, the local grocery store or farmers market will have plenty to offer. But is that what first comes to mind when you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Unfortunately, we’ve become conditioned to thinking of sweets in the form of manufactured foods such as cookies, ice cream, pastries, candy, popsicles and other frozen desserts, and sweetened drinks. All the foods that have made us fat and sick. Then, in an effort to manage our excessive sugar consumption and weight issues we turn to “sugar substitutes”, thinking that these will solve our problem.
Why Substitutes Don’t Solve the Sweet Problem
The primary reason sugar substitutes don’t solve the sweet tooth problem is because they do nothing to resolve our craving for more sweets and carbs than we need. The real problem is that we need to break our addiction to food that raises blood glucose levels and learn how to eat focused on the nutrients we need for good health. The only good substitute for processed and manufactured food is real food from natural plant and animal sources that have not been significantly altered.
Artificial sweeteners such as Equal, Splenda and Sweet’N Low have been found to disrupt the ecosystem of bacteria in the intestines. The microbial environment of the gut is extremely important in the process of digesting food, which is directly related to blood glucose and immune function. The validity of using these artificial sweeteners is a controversial subject that needs to be looked into with greater scrutiny.
Sweet Substitutes that Can Ruin Your Life
It’s not natural to desire sweet food all the time, that is a sign that the body is out of balance. Eating less carbs and sugar will help to bring the body back in balance and reduce cravings for sweets, but using sugar substitutes will not have the same effect. Some sugar substitutes have even been found to increase the potential for weight gain and diabetes.
Saccharin, sucralose and aspartame are the 3 top offenders in terms of suspected adverse health effects, and they are in a lot of products. The only way to know for sure if you are ingesting them is to read the food labels on any canned, bottled or packaged product you buy. These substitutes also have aliases and are marketed with brand names:
|Sugar Substitute||Also known as;|
|Acesulfame potassium||Acesulfame K, Sunett, Sweet One, E950|
|Advantame||(this one is fairly new)|
|Aspartame||NutraSweet, Equal, AminoSweet, Canderel, Spoonful, EqualMeasure, E951|
|Saccharin||Sweet’N low, Sugar Twin, E954|
|Sucralose||Splenda, Sukrana, SucraPlus, CandyS, Cukren, Nevella, E955|
Why are these potential health hazards still on the market? That is a long story involving money, power and politics. If you want to know more about the way food producers might have manipulated scientific findings to win FDA approval I would suggest watching the movie, Sweet Misery, produced by Sound and Fury. If you’re not up for a full movie you can watch this 7-minute flick put out by Dr. Mercola: Aspartame: The Bitter Truth Behind This Toxic Sweetener. Regardless of which side of the debate you find yourself on it doesn’t change the fact that eating a more natural diet and reducing excess carbs is going to be the best choice for improving blood sugar and weight issues.
When used in moderation, some natural sweeteners can be used without the risk of raising blood sugar. Stevia rebaudiana and loa han are often recommended on low-carb diet plans because they have zero calories and zero glycemic index. Other reasonable alternatives that have not been part of the controversy mentioned above are sugar alcohols such as xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol.