Answer: fake sugar. It may be tempting to believe that we can drop actual sugars from out diet and still indulge in constant sweetness in the form of miraculous artificial sweetener. However, there are several reasons why these may be more harmful to our bodies than sugar itself.
Your body can’t tell the difference. When you ingest anything sweet- from fruit to sugar to stevia to aspartame, your body responds by producing insulin. If the insulin is not needed because what you ate wasn’t actually fructose of glucose, it still spikes in your bloodstream and can have inflammatory affects in your body.
Artificial sweeteners have side effects. Many artificial sweeteners have been linked to migraines, digestive problems, depression, seizures, vertigo and possibly even cancer.
You probably won’t lose weight. Those who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, possibly offsetting weight loss or health benefits. I am drinking diet “free” soda, so it’s okay to indulge in extra cake.
Wait, what’s the point? Studies have shown that daily consumption of artificially sweetened drinks is associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Aren’t these the diseases that artificial sweeteners were designed to prevent in the first place?
So what to do?
Foods that contain sugar in their natural form like whole fruit tend to be highly nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and therefore low in glycemic load. 1-2 pieces of fruit per day delivers a modest amount of fructose with all the benefits of vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, when refined white sugar is consumed it rapidly increases blood glucose and insulin levels, increases triglycerides, inflammatory mediators and oxygen radicals. This increases the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory illnesses.
Try to build your diet around complex carbohydrates, quality proteins, healthy fats and fiber. All vegetables are great, even those that are higher in natural sugars like corn or potatoes. When you are able to wean your sweet tooth off sugars, both real and artificial, you treat your body to better health!