With pure sugar being an obvious health risk, many are trying to limit their pure sugar intake and switching to food and beverages made with artificial sugars.
Though artificial sugars aren't as damaging to your health as pure sugar is, are these artificial sugars really THAT much better for you? Let's investigate.
What are the most common types of artificial sugars?
Sucralose, otherwise known as Splenda, is a popular artificial sweetener found in sugar-free versions of Rockstar, Bang, and Monster. Despite being around since the 1990s, there has not been a ton of human research done on the effects of sucralose. There have been sucralose studies conducted on rats showing damage to gut bacteria. There have also been studies linking sucralose to a higher risk of cancer with the mice.
Like sucralose, Ace-K is a calorie-free sweetener used in many diet products, including sugar-free versions of Red Bull, Rockstar, Bang, and Monster. Similar to sucralose, Ace-K has been tested against mice. The research showed that Ace-K has been linked to cancer, thyroid issues, and changes in brain function.
Last, but not least, aspartame is another popular artificial sweetener that is found in sugar-free Red Bull. Components of aspartame have been proven to block the production of a gut enzyme called alkaline phosphatase; this is an important enzyme in preventing obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. When tested on mice, aspartame also led to higher blood sugar levels.
Are there natural sweetener alternatives?
Of course, there are alternatives! Erythritol and Stevia are two natural sugar alcohols that can be used instead of the dangerous artificial sugars. These sugar alcohols are generally found in small amounts in fruits and vegetables.
Erythritol only has 6% of the calories of sugar but retains 70% of the sweetness. Erythritol doesn’t spike your blood sugar or insulin, so this makes it a great sugar substitute for diabetics. Studies have shown that erythritol acts as an antioxidant, which in results reduces blood vessel damage that has been caused by high blood sugar levels. Erythritol also will not cause your teeth to decay, unlike sugar and other artificial sweeteners.
Stevia, another sugar alcohol, also makes for a great natural sugar substitute. Stevia has no calories and is 200x sweeter than sugar. Studies have shown that stevia has the potential for treating diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Antioxidant compounds, including kaempferol, can be found in Stevia. Studies have shown that kaemferol can recuse the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23%.
Are there any tasty drinks with natural sweeteners?
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