Sugar Alternatives

What You May Not Know About Sugar Alternatives

Sugar alternatives seem to be a common ingredient in many foods and are a requirement now of every restaurant sugar bowl.  So, with so many people looking toward sugar alternatives to fulfill their sweet tooth does that mean that sugar is “bad”?

Sugar has really been given a bad reputation.  A lot of people are trying to avoid consuming sugar in their diet when they don't fully understand just how exactly sugar can affect your health and your body in a positive way.  Sugar alternatives are a popular substitute but are they safe?  Many people fill their diet full of “sugar free” or “fat free” foods and over consume these so called “safe” items when they do not realize that sugar may not be as horrible as think.

Sugar is frowned upon for its direct link to the promotion of cavities and plaque accumulation.  People also believe that carbohydrates are bad for them when the body really needs them to be an effective machine.  All of a sudden a “fad” diet comes along and people think a staple food group is evil.

Although sugar is not bad for you, the sugar alternatives seem to be looked to for a comfort sweetener.  There are five sugar alternatives that are the most popular on the market being Aspartame, Saccharin, Sucralose, Stevia and Acesulfane Potassium.

  • Acesulfane Potassium - Sugar alternatives of this ingredient made their debut in 1967.  Over 90 studies have proven that this is not absorbed into your body and passes through completely unchanged.  Due to recent studies it has been proven to affect thyroid production in dogs, rats and rabbits and up to five percent after three months received benign thyroid tumor formation.
  • Aspartame - This began to be used as sugar alternatives in 1965.  It is 200 times more sweet than sugar and it is made up of two amino acids which are L-Aspartic acid and L-Phenylalanine.  The only reported health risks in over 200 studies are to people who have phenylketonuria, which is a condition that cannot digest the L-Phenylalanine.  Even though there are not formal cases documented of health risk, a lot of people report having headaches after consuming a product with the aspartame in it.  Other reports of side effects of these sugar alternatives are dizziness, migraines, tremors, memory loss, confusion, slurring of speech, depression and nausea.  Doctors have concluded that children and pregnant women should not consume aspartame.
  • Saccharin - Discovered over 100 years ago were the ingredients for sugar alternatives like saccharin.  A study in 1997 using rats showed a rise in tumors located in the bladder after being fed a diet with saccharin.  Reports indicate that tumor activity is directly related to the intake of saccharin.
  • Stevia - Sugar alternatives were found in a plant found in the Paraguay rainforest.  It is 300 times sweeter than sugar, has zero calories and has no affect on blood sugar.  The Guarini Indians in Paraguay have been using the leaves of this plant for at least 1,500 years.  The “FDA” has not yet approved Stevia as an official food source and it is a 'classified” dietary supplement.
  • Sucralose - Non calorie sugar alternatives made from real sugar is what sucralose is.  In 1976 it was discovered that sugar molecule mixed with a chloride would create a product 600 times sweeter that sugar yet would pass, without being metabolized through your body.  Studies are still being conducted to prove this theory.

So, with so many negative side effects are sugar alternatives really worth it?  There are no direct links of Cancer, headaches or tumors related to real sugar so why not avoid sugar alternatives and stick with the real thing?