Which one to chose: Sugar or artificial sweetener.

Nutrition Expert: Sana Saiyed, practicing clinical nutritionist, Mumbai.

For more queries: saiyedsana1@gmail.com

“Every Indian on an average consumes 10 teaspoons of sugar per day which sums up to 18 kilograms of sugar per year”(1)

So when artificial sugars came in the market, we all thought that this is the best option but in reality it is 200 times more sweeter than the usual sugar, we even thought that they are low in calories so let’s just start consuming it instead of sugar. But the fact is anything in excess is not good for the body. Let us learn some facts and myths about sugar consumption.

Which one to chose?

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Before deciding which one to chose, one should know that substitutes are for people who want to be fit and have medical conditions and sugar is something that can be consumed by people with no health concerns.

So below are some points that can guide which one to chose out of sugar and artificial sweetner.

  • Consuming 5-10 grams of sugar per day that is 2 teaspoons is something that won’t affect your health. As we all know that consuming too sugar can lead to several health issues, like obesity,diabetes,hypertension,etc. So keep in mind that consuming sugar is not an offense but how to consume is something that you should be careful about.
  • Artificial sweeteners being 200-600 times more sweet than the sugar, can be used as a replacement for the preparation of sweets or any bakery confectioneries. Indians have sweet tooth so, let’s not allow it to be blamed for causing any medical condition because we can help suffice our taste buds.
  • Conventional wisdom still holds; moderation is key both with artificial sweeteners and natural sugars. For someone looking to lose weight, artificial sweeteners are probably your best bet.
  • But for overall health natural sugar is the way to go for as there is centuries of data on it’s chemical safety whereas, artificial sweetners have limited set of data.

Types of artificial sweeteners:

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Artificial sweeteners are dietary supplements that are used as sugar substitutes. They give a sweet taste to drinks and meals and are even several times sweeter than sugar. Their advantage, however, is that they contain little or no calories.

In addition, as a sugar substitute, they are suitable for people suffering from obesity and type 2 diabetes. They are a great alternative for baking, cooking and matching your favourite beverages.

The term “artificial sweeteners” thus described as (2) sugar substitutes,low-calorie sweeteners and calorie-free sweeteners.

Among the best-known artificial sweeteners are aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and possibly acesulfame potassium.

Takeaway

  • A little bit of sugar won’t hurt you, especially in the form of fruit. If you have a medical condition that may be affected by sugar intake, talk to your doctor about consuming proper portions.
  • The current consensus is that scientists just don’t know enough about the long-term effects of sugar alternatives – artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols or novel sweeteners – to make definitive claims that they are good or bad – or whether sugar or alternatives are better in the long term. (3) (4)
  • Also consider where your consumption of sugar and sugar alternatives comes from — and how much you consume. The sugar in one or even two bananas is nothing to worry about, especially because of the fiber, vitamins and minerals you get along with the sugar. But eat six bananas in a day, and you might wind up with a tummy ache.
  • Reviews funded by artificial sweetener companies are about 17 times more likely to have results reporting that artificial sweetener use is associated with lower weight, or weight loss. (5)

Note: The information provided above is for educational purpose, for any health related queries consult your health care adviser.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4389505/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3982014/
  3. https://www.cmaj.ca/content/189/28/E929.full
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-015-2437-7?utm_medium=affiliate
  5. https://www.smh.com.au/technology/sydney-university-study-claims-industry-funding-leads-to-bias-in-artificial-sweetener-research-20160916-grhph6.html

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