Artificial sweeteners sound like such a great idea. You can have the sugary taste you love with zero calories, so you don’t have to worry about gaining weight.
Even organizations like the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association approve the use of artificial sweeteners to some extent. On the other hand, a growing body of research suggests that these products may be contributing to the same health conditions they’re supposed to prevent.
Before you throw out your Splenda and go back to sugar, read this. Find out the latest facts about artificial sweeteners and how to deal with your sugar cravings.
Using Artificial Sweeteners:
- Count calories. Weight loss is one of the most common reasons for using artificial sweeteners. However, you may gain more pounds using artificial sweeteners. Keep track of how much you eat, including nutritious foods that are relatively high in calories like nuts and fruit.
- Train your taste buds. Some artificial sweeteners are almost 10,000 times sweeter than sugar. Over time, they could condition you to reject the milder flavors of natural food, so be sure to make whole foods the main part of your diet.
- Read labels. You might be consuming more sweeteners than you think. Check the ingredients in your toothpaste, salad dressings, and bottled drinks.
- Understand metabolic syndrome. Recent studies have found that daily use of sugar substitutes can actually raise the risk of metabolic syndrome, which is associated with increased body fat, diabetes, and heart conditions. It’s another good reason to use healthy natural sweeteners as much as possible.
- Cancer risk has been lowered in moderate amounts. The FDA has largely ruled out the risk of cancer for the 5 artificial sweeteners they’ve approved. The warnings about saccharin were removed almost 20 years ago after the original studies were found to be flawed.
- Ask your doctor. If you experience headaches or other symptoms, you might be sensitive or allergic to the substances in some sweeteners. Your doctor can advise you about these and other concerns.
Healthy Ways to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth:
- Squeeze a lemon. You probably know that soda and diet soda have been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and other conditions. If you dislike plain water, add lemon or lime.
- Try dairy. How do you take your coffee? Milk and other dairy products contain natural sugars, so you may be able to skip any extra sweetener.
- Eat more fruit. Most fruits contain little fat, and lots of fiber and vitamins. If you’re watching your weight, you might want to eat just one piece with each meal.
- Splurge on real maple syrup. Real maple syrup is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While it costs more than the supermarket brands, a small amount will liven up your oatmeal or yogurt.
- Sprinkle cinnamon. Cinnamon is another nutritious solution. It’s a good source of calcium and antioxidants.
- Enjoy molasses. Have you been wondering what’s in molasses? It’s sugar plus grapes and beets, which give it more calcium and iron.
- Go cold turkey. If you want to go further than just cutting back on sugar and sugar substitutes gradually, you may be ready to eliminate them from your diet completely. Advocates say you’ll lose weight and increase your energy levels in just 3 days.
Most experts agree that limited use of artificial sweeteners may be helpful for some adults, especially if you’re overweight or have diabetes. On the other hand, you can eat healthier by cutting back on both sugar and sugar substitutes. Satisfy your sweet tooth with something more nutritious instead.