The Sugar That Isn’t Sugar: Sucralose and Other Sugar Alternatives

health
October 16, 2017

Sugar is bad. Scientists have basically decided on that. Some even go so far as to say that it’s “toxic.” Sugar has no nutritional value aside from empty calories. This means that a diet too high in sugar can lead to major deficiencies in other parts of the diet.

It can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease—just to name a few. So why do we keep eating it?

That answer is easy. It tastes good.

Sugar is extremely addictive (in fact, it might be even more addictive than cocaine). So when you start eating it, you’ll keep wanting it. Luckily there are some healthier sweeteners that can satisfy your sweet tooth without getting addicted.

Stevia

Stevia is a natural sweetener that is made from a plant in South America, the Stevia rebaudiana. It has no calories, so it doesn’t have the same impact on the body as sugars. While stevia is natural and no-calorie, the extract can taste up to 200 times sweeter than the same amount of sugar.
Stevia is one of the best sugar substitutes on the market because it has no calories and is natural. Be careful, however, as it sometimes contains chemicals to keep it fresh, including sugar alcohol, which can cause upset stomachs.

Aspartame

Aspartame is a combination of amino acids that add sweetness with very few calories. It is often used in diet sodas and as a coffee sweetener. While some people have reported that aspartame gives them headaches or dizziness, the FDA has not connected these symptoms to aspartame specifically.

Saccharin

Saccharin is a chemical compound. It was first discovered in the late 1800s when a researcher spilled the compound on his hand. He tasted it and realized how sweet it is. It might be strange lab protocol, but it did lead to a great alternative.
In the 1970s, saccharin was linked to bladder cancer in rats; however multiple studies showed that was not relevant to humans.

Sugar alcohol

Sugar alcohols are made out of plant products but are chemically altered. They show up on products as xylitol and sorbitol. While these have fewer calories than sugar, they are carbohydrates. They also cause digestive issues in some people.

Sucralose

Sucralose (brand name: Splenda), is derived from sugar, but it is 600 times sweeter. Sucralose is chemically treated to replace the hydrogen-oxygen groups are replaced with chlorine atoms. This lowers a number of calories in a serving and intensifies the sweetness.

Each of these sweeteners can be used in different ways and they all have their own side effects and potential problems. Before making any major diet changes, or if you experience any problems with sweeteners, be sure to talk to your doctor.

In other news, check out this image! There an M&M somewhere in there! Click here to find it.

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