Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Stevia, Monk-fruit , Sucralose, Aspartame, and many more sugar substitutes are used every day on our product's ingredient list. But we have little to no information about them and how they affect our health. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of consuming them on our daily diet.
This group of sugar substitutes includes agave, blackstrap molasses, real maple syrup.
Different than the sugar, they have some nutritional value in the form of trace vitamins and minerals. While they might appear in the low glycemic index and be the right choice for diabetics, I will not recommend it is used as a sugar substitute for people on a diet since they are not a low-cal sweetener.
Low glycemic index
Taste almost like sugar
Same energy yield as sugar. ( Not the best choice for people who are trying to lose weight)
The most famous names of artificial sweeteners are Sweet'NSweet'N Low, Nutrasweet, and Splenda. These sweeteners have zero calories, which means they will yield no energy. Their only function is binding molecules to specific receptors in our taste buds, which gave us the sweet taste.
No calories ( good if used in moderation)
The low glycemic index (right choice for people with diabetes)
Not enough information on their long term effects. From the three FDA-approved artificial sugars, the recommended use is as followed:
Saccharin - 5 milligrams for each kilogram of body weight. (There are 36 milligrams in one packet of Sweet'NSweet'N Low.)
Aspartame - 30 milligrams for each kilogram of body weight. ( There are 200 milligrams on a 12-ounce can of diet coke.)
Sucralose - 5 milligrams for each kilogram of body weight. (There are 12 milligrams of Sucralose in a Splenda packet.)
When it comes to natural sugars, four types are getting very famous in the last couple of years. Let's dive in and look at some of their details.
1. Stevia - As you might have seen, stevia extract has become very popular recently. Stevia is a plant that comes from the leaves of the Latin America plant called stevia rebaudiana. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and also leaves an aftertaste.
It has zero calories and will not raise blood glucose levels.
Some studies also have shown that consumed at lower doses; Stevia has anti-oxidative benefits.
It is easily digestible for the majority of people.
The aftertaste is one of the main drawbacks of using stevia since it leaves a bitter taste after consuming it in our products.
Most stevia products mixed with other ingredients such as dextrose and maltodextrin, which will influence your blood sugar levels, and you might be getting some extra cals.
2. Monk-fruit ( lo han gou) - Is a sugar substitute that comes from a Southeast-Asian fruit. There is evidence that the monks used this fruit back in the 13th century in China as traditional medicine.
It has zero calories and will not increase blood glucose levels. In some studies, it has shown that the use of monk-fruit increases HDL or "the good cholesterol."
Products where the monk-fruit extract was used taste and described as an enjoyable
Most of the time, like Stevia, Monk-fruit has been mixed with sugar alcohol like xylitol or maltitol and can cause stomach aches. So make sure to check the ingredient list before consuming it.
Monk-fruit compared to table sugar is extremely sweet, so the recommendation is to start small and work on your serving size on the use.
3. Erythritol - This is one of the most favorite sugar substitutes we have been able to research so far. Erythritol comes from the fermentation of some fruit and vegetables.
Erythritol is less sweet than sugar, and people can easily add it to their diet without feeling the change of taste.
Erythritol is not a zero-calorie sugar, but it falls in the range of low-calorie sweeteners and has about 0.24 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram than table sugar has.
Different than other sugar alcohols, Erythritol digestion is more easily because 90% of it is absorbed into the bloodstream.
People find erythritol taste to be very similar to the ones we get from using table sugar.
The use of Erythritol should be in moderation since it may cause bloating, intestinal gas, and diarrhea.
4. Allure - The newest sugar substitute on the market is tough to find because it has been found in small amounts in foods like wheat, figs, and raisins. Like Erythritol, Allure is less sweet than sugar, making it very easy to implement in our diet.
It is a zero-calorie sugar substitute and has a zero glycemic index, which means it is safe to use for people with diabetes since it will not spike their blood glucose.
By far, it has the closest taste to sugar without any aftertaste making one of the best alternatives use to avoid table sugar.
It might be hard to find and used in large quantities can cause bloating and gas.
Since some of those sugar substitutes are relatively new, there is little research that has been done on the long-term effects that they have, and how it may affect the microbiome.
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