How Healthy are Sugar Substitutes?
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Cutting down on your sugar intake is far more challenging than it sounds because sugar is a major constituent of many foods that we unknowingly consume. Managing sugar craving while minimizing sugar intake from various sources is easier with healthy sugar substitutes. However, things get complex when get down to choosing from a wide range of sugar substitutes. So how do you choose a sugar substitute when every single product in the market claims to be the healthiest option?
It’s a pain in the neck, especially if you rely only on Google search. Thus, there’s no other option but to try each one of them and research further to find their impact on your health. Here’s all that you need to know about some of the popular sugar substitutes that I tried over the past couple of years:
Adopted in the early 70s as an alternate to sugar, this natural product has since then been commercialized across the globe. Naturally occurring stevia is definitely good for your body but I’m not sure how healthy those stevia products available in the market are.
Blended or refined form of stevia is usually used to manufacture the stevia products you find on the store shelves. However, even after all the doubts stevia is still a great option when it comes to replacing the sugar cubes on the table. It definitely contains lesser calories but controlling your blood sugar is difficult because stevia is far sweeter than the regular sugar.
The most controversial of all the sugar substitutes is Sucralose as it is produced chemically as an artificial sweetener. According to some experts, Sucralose is safe for consumption but concerns about its long-term have never been addressed properly. Calorie conscious folks will be happy to learn that Sucralose adds no extra calories when you use them. However, it affects the blood sugar levels, so check with your dietician before opting for long-term use. This is an extremely sweet alternative to sugar, which is often used for baking.
Personally, I think this is the healthiest option available in the market, which undergoes minimal processing. Since it’s directly derived from fruit extracts, so the sweetness quotient is quite high. However, the sweetness is because of the mogrosides, which is also an excellent antioxidant. Fructose and glucose from the fruit are completely removed while manufacturing the sweetener, so essentially it’s just the mogrosides that delivers zero calories.
This is in fact a natural sweetener and not an artificially manufactured sugar substitute. Thus, to believe that it’s all healthy to consume coconut sugar might put you on the wrong side of the calorie spectrum. However, since coconut sugar has a low GI so it won’t lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels. It’s way better than the regular sugar cubes but coconut sugar should never be your ultimate choice for losing weight.
Maple Syrup, Agave Nectar, Honey, Xylitol & Erythritol are some of the other sugar substitutes that you can try but it’s always advisable to choose the least processed one. Moderate or short-term consumption of any sugar substitute is always the best option, especially when there’s lack of conclusive evidence.