No sugarcoating: Here's the deal on natural vs. artificial sweeteners

Nutritionist says it depends on your goals

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group
pixabay.com

Whether you’re addicted to sugar, you’ve completely denounced it from your diet, or you kind of just have a "whatever" attitude about the whole thing, let us tell you: All “sugars” are not created equal.

Go to most restaurants and you’ll find a big jar of white sugar or a container filled with Equal, Sweet'N Low, Splenda or others. Better yet, stand in the sweetener aisle of your grocery store and try to soak in all your options.

Which one do you grab to sweeten your coffee or tea? The better question: Which one SHOULD you grab?

Accredited nutritionist Korynn Snidar said it really depends on your goals.

“Having your sweeteners — there’s really not a one-size-fits-all for everyone,” she said.

Are you wanting to be healthier in general, or are you trying to lose weight?

Many who are trying to lose weight will switch from regular sugar to a sugar substitute, which has far fewer calories.

Snidar said artificial sweeteners can be beneficial to someone who is trying to shed a significant amount of weight.

And while the data on sugar substitutes still remains controversial, if you’re trying to be healthier in general, she said it’s best to stay away from artificial sweeteners.

“It’s interesting the way the body handles artificial sweeteners,” she said, going on to explain that studies still haven’t really shown the effects of the sweeteners on our body. When you eat something sweet, your body reads it as glucose, but when there is no actual sugar making its way into your body, it can cause an abnormal rise in your blood sugar.

Having said that, Snidar said what studies are showing is that you can’t end a sugar addiction by substituting for it with artificial sweeteners.

What about plain old white sugar? Snidar said that’s not necessarily the best route either, as it has no nutritional value.

So what's the best option? Snidar said her first choice for getting a sugar fix is always fruit, but if you're looking to add extra sweetness to something, use honey or 100% maple syrup in small amounts.

 

Graham Media Group 2019