Many nutritionists recommend sugar substitutes as a healthy, low-calorie, and safe alternative to sugar. But is it really useful?
Despite the fact that previously sugar substitutes were recommended only as part of a specialized diet for diabetics, today almost everyone knows about them and uses them. The trend towards a healthy lifestyle played a significant role.
7 popular sweeteners
All sweeteners can be divided into two large groups.
- Natural – these include fructose, xylitol, sorbitol. They have a caloric value comparable to ordinary sugar, and are involved in metabolic processes.
- Artificial (obtained from natural or synthetic raw materials by a chemical method) – sucralose , aspartame, cyclamate , stevioside . Unlike natural ones, they have a more intense sweetening effect, have no calories and are not incorporated into metabolic processes. However, recent studies by Australian scientists prove that synthetic sweeteners multiply appetite and can lead to overeating and gaining extra pounds!
Natural carbohydrate, has no aftertaste, is found in fruits, berries, vegetables. For a long time, fructose has been prescribed for diabetics. Over time, it was found that in the process of metabolism fructose is still modified into glucose. Therefore, there cannot be a healthy alternative. Fructose is available in the form of powder, tablets, added to confectionery, muesli bars, jams, candies.
Benefit: Most beneficial naturally, not as a supplement.
Cons: Excessive consumption, more than 20% of the RDA can lead to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Received in a fairly simple way, which determines its low cost. The main raw materials from which xylitol is isolated are corn stalks, birch bark, and cotton.
Benefit: xylitol is less harmful to tooth enamel than glucose, so it is often added to chewing gum.
Minus: it can provoke an attack of diarrhea.
One of the most “ancient” sugar substitutes. It was synthesized in 1868 from rowan berries.
Plus: stimulates the intestines and reduces the manifestations of the inflammatory process in the liver.
Minus: high-calorie, often “hidden” in semi-finished products (E420), especially in meat.
An intense sweetener developed by British chemists in 1976.
Available, like many other sweeteners, in tablet form. Also used in beverages, yoghurts, soy sauce (E955).
Pros: does not penetrate the placental barrier, more than 85% is excreted from the body unchanged.
Cons: decomposes when heated to form chloropropanol . This substance can lead to disturbances in the functioning of the endocrine system and is a mutagen.
One of the most criticized sweeteners today. It can cause a number of adverse reactions, from dizziness and nausea to allergies.
Cons: decomposes during heat treatment, which leads to the formation of substances toxic to the body – methanol and formaldehyde. It has been proven that aspartame can lead to carcinogenesis.
6. Cyclamate Sodium
One of the most popular sweeteners in Russia. Banned in the United States since 1969, as a number of animal studies have shown that it provokes cancer. It is often added to carbonated drinks (E952).
Pros: cyclamate is resistant to thermal effects, which means that it can be used for cooking hot meals and canning.
Cons: causes allergic reactions – hives, redness and itching of the skin.
Unlike fructose, stevioside , a substance obtained from the stevia plant , is now actively and successfully used in complex programs for the treatment of both types of diabetes and obesity.
Pros: Available in the form of tablets, powder. Has zero calories.
Cons: changes the taste of tea and coffee.
Blood sugar tests
After reading or hearing about the benefits of one or another sugar substitute, many independently include sweeteners in their diet for the prevention of diabetes mellitus and other diseases that may occur in response to excessive consumption of refined sugar. However, the first thing to start with is laboratory research.
CITILAB reminds you that if you notice that you are constantly feeling thirsty, frequent urge to urinate, and an uncontrolled appetite has appeared – go through the research program “Diabetes Screening”. It includes the main diagnostic laboratory tests for diabetes.