Diet and Nutrition

Are Sugar Substitutes Good for Your Health?

Many people who try to lose weight insist on a healthy, balanced diet to shed the pounds they want to lose. Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners are a common ingredient in the diet that enables the individual to substitute sugar with these products to help with an effective weight loss. Sugar substitutes are easy to find in your local grocery store, but before trying any of these products, you should consider the pros and cons that may come along with it.

Sugar substitutes are used to take the place of table sugar. They are made from natural or synthetic substances, such as aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and neotame. Artificial sweeteners are a popular choice among many, as they are generally sweeter than normal sugar. These substitutes are a popular option for people who desire to lose weight. For individuals who have diabetes, sugar substitutes are a good alternative to sugar.

Sugar alcohols and novel sweeteners are other forms of sugar substitutes, yet they are not as sweet. Sugar alcohols, like mannitol, xylitol, and sorbitol, are plant-based substitutes. They are low-carbohydrate sweeteners and are not considered sugar free. Novel sweeteners, however, are combinations of a variety of sweeteners. These sugar substitutes are used in a number of processed diet foods, such as desserts, chocolates, and candies. Is it safe to consume sugar substitutes without having any long-term effects?

The use of artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are regulated by the FDA. Albeit artificial sweeteners do not add calories, other sugar substitutes may contain trace amounts of carbohydrates. Sugar substitutes do not cause a sudden increase in sugar levels, yet they can affect blood sugar content. Therefore, one should read the ingredients and nutritional facts of the product to understand the carbohydrate content before consumption. Sugar alcohols are commonly combined with artificial sweeteners to improve sweetness of a product. Sugar alcohol may cause diarrhea, bloating, and intestinal gas in some people.

While choosing sugar substitutes, it is smart to use them in moderation. It is important to keep in mind that not all products are sugar-free, contrary to what is advertised. Products containing sugar substitutes are in no way an alternative to a healthy diet.