Are Artificial Sweeteners better than sugar?

Most of you reading this will know that consuming sugar can sabotage your health goals and lead to a variety of issues ranging from everything to increased risk of obesity, diabetes, ADD/AHDH and even possibly cancer. In an effort to cut sugar from our diets, many people will switch to artificial sweeteners. They have many names like Sucralose, Splenda, Aspartame, NutraSweet, Saccharine, Acesulfame potassium-K among others. Each Individual sweetener acts a bit differently, but if just stop to think they are all labeled "artificial" that alone might give you enough pause to reconsider consuming them. In fact, one of the best ways to improve your health is to focus on the consumption of REAL foods that are not altered from their original states. Plant-based foods in their natural form. Proteins raised the way nature intended and allowed to roam free and not given things like growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics.

Why would you be best to shy away from these artificial sweeteners? For starters, they effect your blood sugar in the same way sugar does, by causing your insulin to rise and creating an addictive cycle where you crave sugar [1] If we think we are making a healthier choice that will not cause our bodies to increase insulin and feed our cravings, we couldn't be further from the truth! In fact, the very thing we are trying to prevent is happening with artificial sweeteners just the same as with sugar.

In addition, Studies have linked 6 popular artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, neotame, advantame and acesulfame potassium-k (ace-k)) to “adverse effects such as cancer, weight gain, metabolic disorders, type-2 diabetes and alteration of gut microbiota activity.”[2] Which might leave most of us thinking that we are better off without these substances.

Sadly, these artificial sweeteners are found in so many things. Things we don't even think about. Like bread. So, it's important to read labels. Even better, eat foods in their natural state that don't come in bags, boxes or cans!

You might be wondering what some other, healthier options might be? If sugar isn't the right answer and neither are artificial sweeteners, what are we supposed to use? Studies have demonstrated that Stevia (which is an herb), and sugar alcohols like Xylitol and Erythritol are safer choices that do not raise insulin levels (3)

It is my belief, that the best course of action would be to train your body to adapt to lower levels of sugar by consuming a low carbohydrate, moderate protein and relatively high fat diet where carbs and protein each account for about 25% of your calorie intake, and fat makes up about 50% of your calories. As you make this shift, you will become fat adapted and your cravings will decrease. For the occasional treat, Stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol are much better choices than either sugar or artificial sweeteners.

If you find yourself addicted to either sugar or artificial sweeteners, know that you are not alone and that each day offers a new chance to make healthier decisions. We are all on this journey!

1. Sanyaolu A, Marinkovic A, Gosse J,et al. Artificial sweeteners and their association with Diabetes: A review. J Pub Health Catalog 87 2018;1(4):86-88.

2. Harpaz, D.; Yeo, L.P.; Cecchini, F.; Koon, T.H.P.; Kushmaro, A.; Tok, A.I.Y.; Marks, R.S.; Eltzov, E. Measuring Artificial Sweeteners Toxicity Using a Bioluminescent Bacterial Panel. Molecules 2018, 23, 2454. 3.

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