Artificial Sweetener Versus Sugar. Which Is Best for Your Heart?
As you probably already know, high blood sugar that leads to diabetes is a leading risk factor for several disorders, not least of which are cardiovascular issues. Unfortunately, the typical US adult consumes many times more sugar than is recommended by governmental consensus. The result is that by 2050, it is expected that upwards of 33% of the population will suffer from type-2 (adult onset, acquired) diabetes.
For many decades, we have seen the familiar pink and blue sweeteners at diners and restaurants around the country and the world. These sweeteners are many times more powerful than sugar and represent a no calorie option for those looking to get away from added sugars in their drinks and food. More recently, several natural and artificial sweeteners have come to market that seem to have fewer downsides while still offering the low-or-no calorie benefit – like being natural or being able to use them in baked products.
But with all the promise of these sweeteners, are they better for our bodies and specifically our hearts? On the surface, the answer would be a resounding yes! However, when we dig a little deeper, we understand that no calorie sweeteners may not be as healthy and innocuous as we thought. First, the concept of craving sweetness is a psychological issue. Therefore, whether we have no calorie sweetener or regular sugar, our brains still crave more sweetness.
Secondly, the blast of sweetness we get from these 0 calorie products is often so significant that it can dull our pallets, making normal food taste bland. This means that we need to consume ever more sugary foods to get the same enjoyment. Why? We often use far too much of these no calorie sweeteners. They are significantly sweeter – by many multiples – than sugar, yet we often don’t reduce the amount of sweetener that we use commensurately.
So, What’s the Answer?
Ideally, we should be staying away from artificial and no calorie sweeteners entirely. However, is it also important to remember that not all sugar is bad. Naturally occurring sugar is in many of the healthiest foods that we eat and if we moderate, sugar can be a healthy part of a natural and balanced diet. It is when we begin to consume excess quantities of added sugar that we truly start to get in trouble.
The fastest way to reduce sugar intake is to avoid sodas and fruit juices. You may also wish to split every desert with a partner or simply cut it in half and bring the other half home with you for a later time. Ultimately, we are not looking to eliminate sugars from your diet, rather we want to moderate them to help you lose weight and better control your blood sugar.