Thinking of going on a sugar free diet? When it comes to healthy food, we are told that sugar is bad for us, so when we see “No added sugar” on food labels, we a naturally inclined to believe that this is a healthier option. This is a mistake. Firstly, these foods will often use artificial sweeteners which, according to a growing body of evidence, are unhealthier for your body in the long-term.
When on a sugar free diet, the words ‘no added sugar’ ignores the fact that there may be sugar already in the listed ingredients beforehand. So it is important that you read food labels thoroughly and try to substitute artificial chemicals like Aspartame with products containing natural sugars. Consider an aspartame detox diet.
Let’s back-up a little though and find out the basics
What is an Artificial Sweetener?
- Common artificial sweeteners include: Sweet n Low, Splenda, Equal, Sugar Twin, Sunett, Aspartame and Neotame.
- Artificial sweeteners include anything other than sucrose (table sugar), glucose and high fructose corn syrup. Real sugar can be found on food labels under various names, including rice syrup, corn syrup and agave.
- ‘Natural sweeteners’ can be a misleading term. Many natural sweeteners are still processed in manufacturing laboratories and contain added ingredients and harsh chemicals.
- Since artificial sweeteners can be many times sweeter than natural sugar, studies show that relying on them can actually enhance sugar addiction.
- Although artificial sweeteners contain no added calories or fat, they don’t offer any nutritional benefit for your body either.
Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners
- Research shows that artificial sweeteners can both cause weight gain and weight loss. It depends on how often you use sweeteners and how many at once you are using. Limit yourself to just one packet of artificial sweetener a day, and you shouldn’t have to worry about gaining weight.
- Research shows that artificial sweeteners cause you to crave calories, especially in the form of sugar. When you consume artificial sweeteners, your body craves the natural sugar and the result is that you tend to overeat sugar later on in the day.
- Artificial sweeteners run the risk of causing obesity because it doesn’t satisfy your body’s desire for real, nutritious foods.
- Many researchers say that artificial sweeteners can cause cancer. A study done in the 1970s showed that saccharin caused cancer in lab rats. Similarly, the safety of Aspartame has been called into question by many researchers since it was ruled safe by the FDA in the early 1980s.
- Studies have shown a connection between low birth weight and consumption of excessive artificial sweeteners during pregnancy.
- A 2005 study showed that aspartame caused leukemia in lab rats. Probably a good idea to go on an aspartame detox regime.
- More than 20 grams of sugar alcohols can cause bloating, diarrhea and gas.
Healthy Sweet Snacks - Eating Alternatives for Artificial Sweeteners
Natural healthy sweeteners include honey, agave nectar, stevia and molasses. Try adding a little amount of these to foods instead of white refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. Just a little bit of these naturally sourced sugars goes a long way.
- Stevia comes from a plant, and unlike sugar it isn’t off-limits to diabetics. It comes from the leaves, has no calories, and doesn’t affect blood levels.
- Honey is pure in its form contains niacin, protein, vitamin B6, iron and amino acids. It is also free of cholesterol and fat.
- Agave nectar works well as a real sugar for diabetic diets. Aside from being a naturally sweet substance, it is loaded with nutrients and is lower on the glycemic index. It works well in hot beverages and for baking.
Try an Aspatame Detox or Sugar Free Diet
As humans, we are naturally attracted to the sweetness of sugar and we get a natural high when we consume them. It is important to learn that artificial chemicals, although giving the same ‘kick’ can actually be causing more damage to our bodies in the long-term. Consider an aspartame detox plan and look at healthy sweet snacks as an alternative.
Natural Healthy Food is Best
Many different food and drinks now artificial sweeteners and it is very difficult to avoid them completely, but you should try to consume them in moderation and when you need to add something sweet to a drink or when preparing food, use a natural alternative such as agave syrup or honey instead.