A Complete Guide to Artificial Sweeteners

by Jackie Wicks

Sweeteners: Simply Unnecessary

Whether artificial or natural, zero or full calorie, sweeteners are a luxury which do not contribute to our health. The best thing you can do for your body is train it to appreciate whole, unsweetened foods, and to find its sugar naturally from fruits and sweet vegetables.

Artificial sweeteners offer absolutely no benefit when it comes to weight loss or weight maintenance, and may even increase weight gain. The majority of them also carry a toxic risk, which is simply not worth it. Even if you do not consume enough to make liver, kidney, or DNA damage likely, there are safer alternatives available, such as stevia.

Stevia is a compelling no-calorie sweetener which may actually carry some of the same benefits associated with herbs and spices. These benefits are most likely found within the complex of the whole leaf, not just from the extracted rebaudioside A, but even in isolated form, stevia should be considered a better choice due to the lack of toxicity it presents.

When it comes to refined sugars, there is no “healthy” choice. No matter which way you spin it, refined sugar is just excess calories, and no form of refined sugar contains enough beneficial compounds to counter its caloric load. Even in the case of exercise, you are better off fueling up on fruits rather than refined sugars, as the energy will be better distributed, not released all at once.

Think about when you crave sugar. If you feel like your sweet tooth is raising an alarm, train yourself to reach for real food first. Oftentimes, it’s just hunger, but hunger which has been trained by sugar cravings. If you absolutely must have something sweet, have fruit, which will be digested slowly, will fill you up, and will offer more nutrition than just simple sugar. Allow your body to wean itself off sweet as the primary flavor–you might be amazed by how nice beverages and foods taste without the excess sweetness!

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