Some of the FDA approved artificial sweeteners are aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K, and saccharin. Of course, the list could go on, but these are the most debated nowadays. The four ingredients can be found in foods people consume on a daily basis. Examples of such foods are diet drinks, sugar-free foods, jams, jellies, iced tea, protein drinks, powdered soft drinks, chewing gum, pudding, hard candies, and low-fat dressings. No matter what you purchase, make sure you read the ingredients beforehand.
These sugar substitutes have been used to assist weight loss, people with diabetes, and dental care. They have low to no calories, no impact on tooth decay or cavities, and no nutritional value. Apart from this, the most common reasons the food industry uses them is their cost and shelf life. Thanks to these ingredients people who suffer from diabetes or obesity are able to satisfy their sweet tooth with cheaper products which do not expire quickly. However, many sources state that these substitutes are actually harmful to the body. The problem is that, even if there isn't enough evidence to support their side effects (neurological problems, cancer, depression, nausea, seizures, insomnia, joint pain, heart issues etc.), they do not actually aid healthy weight loss. Surprisingly as it may seem, artificial sweeteners might even lead to obesity and poor nutrition. That's why plenty of sources associate their consumption with the side effects mentioned above.
Sugar substitutes trick your mind into believing that you are allowed to eat sweets because you haven't consumed anything high in calories. The thought that you drink diet soda allows you to give yourself a break and have a piece of cake. They also prevent your body from associating sweetness with caloric intake. This will make you eat more fast food or sweets. Apart from this, it can affect the way you perceive taste. If you constantly consume very sweet products, you will have less tolerance for more complex tastes. This means you won't be able to appreciate fruits and vegetables anymore. Therefore, you'll stop eating filling, nutritious, and healthy meals. All this leads to weight gain and poor nutrition.
Last but not least, they may cause addiction. One study made on lab rats showed that after they were exposed to both saccharin and cocaine, they chose the sweetener over the drug. With humans, it's more related to willpower. The lack of sweetness can cause anxiety and irritability, which will make you quit the struggle.
So, what's the bottom line? Do we quit anything sweet beyond fruits?
Not necessarily, as long as we limit the dose of sweeteners and choose NATURAL instead of synthetic.
Our choice would definitely be Stevia
It's been discussed on the web for the last couple of years, but here's a link to a journal that studied Stevia very recently (June 2018). It's important to note that it's a herb native to subtropical and tropical regions in North and South America, VERY SWEET, and has not been linked to any known health risks and can be metabolized by the body safely.
To save you on shopping time, here are our recommendations:
Make sure you READ THE LABEL and check the ingredients. A mix of stevia with erythritol is the best! You can get them as powder or liquid, but we personally found that liquid is slightly easier to mix.
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