Artificial Sweeteners: Can They Stop Tipping Your Scale
is the big issue.
In a joint statement this month, the American Heart Association and the
American Diabetes Association said that foods with artificial
sweeteners such as aspartame,
saccharin, sucralose and plant-derived stevia have the potential to help people
reach healthy body
weight as long as the
substitution doesn't lead to the compensation trap.
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes but may be derived
from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself.
Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many
times sweeter than regular sugar. One of the most appealing aspects of
artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories.
In contrast, each gram of regular table sugar contains 4 calories.
Artificial sweeteners currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One)
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)
- Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
Some sweeteners, such as cyclamate, are not approved in the United States but
are approved for use in other countries.
Tips to Manage Sugar Craving
There is no doubt that artificial sweeteners do cut calories by curbing a
high intake of regular table sugar.
What really needs to be monitored is avoiding compensation for those saved
calories. It’s a trick a lot of us play on ourselves far too often — drinking a
diet soda now and then using that as an excuse to get a candy bar later.
Today, artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety
of food and beverages marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including soft drinks,
chewing gum, jellies, baked goods, candy, fruit juice and ice cream. In
addition, other sugar substitutes are being touted as healthier sweeteners than
regular sugar, even if they don't have fewer calories,
such as honey and agave nectar.
fresh fruits for snacks and desserts instead
of processed, high-sugar foods: Natural sugars in foods are part of a complex carbohydrate package
that provides fuel and energy for your body. Eating natural-occurring sugars in
fruits, vegetables, and grains is a healthier way to get your sweets. Sugar
combined with fiber and
other solid foods metabolizes more slowly and keeps your blood
sugar more stable.
Avoid adding sugar to your cereal, coffee, or other foods: Try
adding fruit and nuts to cereals for a wholesome and healthy meal. Caffeine,
present in coffee, tea, cola-based drinks and hot chocolate, stimulates your
pancreas to secrete more insulin. This aggravates sugar sensitivities and
Choose sugar-free or low-sugar varieties of soft drinks and packaged
foods when you can: Studies have indicated that people consume 500-1000
calories daily in the form of soft drinks, which is one of the cause for
alarming increase in obesity. Super sized ice-creams, soda shakes, coke
carry excess sugar. A small portion of your favorite sweet treat, consumed
with a meal, is okay on occasion. Anything in excess can lead to sugar
addiction, obesity and,
for some individuals, adult-onset diabetes.
Sweetened products may not list sugar, or sucrose on the label because they
contain other forms of sugar. Fructose and dextrose, for example, or
labels and choose foods that are low in sugar: By
reading and comparing Nutrition Facts
labels on various foods, you can make sure that you choose foods that have
enough of the nutrients you need and are low in those you wish to restrict. If
you want to cut your sugar consumption, read labels and beware of words ending
in 'ose,' because that usually means hidden sugar. Even if the label says
"sugar-free," watch out. Sugar-free products may still contain some form of
sugar alcohols, like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol . These sweeteners have as
many or more calories as sucrose, so your ice cream may be as fattening as the
real thing. And these sweeteners can cause diarrhea.
Try adding protein to your diet: Protein supplies the body with
amino acids which help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings for
carbohydrates. Complete protein comes from animal sources and should be part
of every meal. Protein needs for the endurance athlete: 1.2 grams/kg of
wt/day. Ex: 150lbs = 68kg (¸ by 2.2) therefore, you need 80-85 grams of
protein daily. Remember, 1 ounce of any type of meat has 7 grams of protein.
Eat fats at every meal to help control your appetite: The best fats
for consumption are butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, palm oil or olive
oil. Good fats should be included with every meal.
The key to losing or maintaining weight is to not overcompensate by indulging in
other foods that are high in calories. Non-nutritive sweeteners won’t benefit
consumers who later compensate by eating other high calorie snacks.
Dated 18 July 2012