The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Sweeteners

 

Let’s talk about the sweet things in life that may not be sweet for our bodies.

Is this a boring topic? Who knows, but after talking to Colton’s dad a few weeks ago, I realized there really is a lot of confusion for most people on what type of sugar or sweetener is “okay”. Because picking the right sweetener is so much more than “calories”, it’s also about your health and how your body breaks down each subject.

&&& with it being the season of treats & desserts, I thought it was appropriate!

Any who, I did a lot of research on this, so hopefully this shines some light on the topic for you!

The Bad

Sugar: Did you know that sugar is made up of 50% glucose (spikes blood sugar) and 50% fructose (stores fat in your liver)?? Natural sugar itself (fruit) in moderation is good for you, but the problem with tableside sugar is that it’s hidden in everything we eat. The average person digests 7 tablespoons of sugar a day due to hidden sugars in processed food and drinks. When your body digests this kind of sugar, it’s literally processed straight into fat and then is stored into your liver.

Splenda: Like Aspartame is a chemically made sweetener. Its real name is sucralose, and is processed using chlorine. This makes it really hard for your body to break down.  Its known side effects are seizures, dizziness, migraines, allergic reactions, weight gain and increases in blood sugar.

Aspartame: A chemically made sweetener commonly found in Diet Soda’s and “Low-Calorie” foods. It’s a lot like sucralose.  According to research, they have found a harmful breakdown of Aspartame called formaldehyde which is a known cancer-causer.

Agave Nectar: Agave is able to market itself as a “healthy sweetener” because it is better for you than regular tableside sugar. The problem with Agave is the mass amount of fructose in it. It actually has more fructose in it than High Fructose Corn Syrup, and when your body processes it, it goes straight into your liver. Your livers job is to help filter toxins in your body, and when you are filling it with large amounts of fructose, it tends to get backed up and stores fat. Agave is also known to contribute to insulin resistance, leading to diabetes.

High Fructose Corn SyrupHave you guys seen those commercials on HFCS?? You know, the ones where super fit people are having a picnic and are asking  “What’s so wrong with HFCS??  It’s made out of real corn, what’s wrong with that?? Well this is why.  HFCS has slightly more fructose than sugar, which you read above is stored as fat in your liver.

The Good

Stevia:  An all natural, low calorie sweetener made out of a plant called stevia rubaudiana. It has even been proven to lower regularly high blood pressure, as well as stabilize blood sugar levels. This is probably your best option when choosing a sweetener, just be leery on using it in some recipes, when baking it can make the dessert turn out funny. It’s best used for sweetening coffees and tea. Truvia also falls in this category. I bake with Truvia a lot, and find it to hold up better than Stevia.

Organic Honey: Organic Honey is great for you, but in moderation.  It’s also high in fructose, but the difference is that it is a great antioxidant, and unlike tableside sugar, it will not spike your blood sugar levels.

Organic Maple Syrup: Like organic honey, should be used in moderation. Actually, it’s lower in calorie than honey, and contains more nutrients. It’s even been proven to ward off cancer and heart disease.

My Thoughts?

I truly try my best to stay away from the “bad”. I do not like putting things in my body that are not natural, nor that could hurt me in the long run. Although, I am human, so I am not going to say that I never have them. I just try my best to stay away from it as much as possible.

When it comes to the “good”, like I said many times, moderation is key. Even if they are better for you, it doesn’t mean you should be fueling your body with them. Because in the end, your body still processes them as sugar.

If you’re baking, try substituting these sweeteners with sweet fruits like bananas, apples or pears. Fruits are 100% my key ingredients for sweeteners when making smoothies or baking. That way, I can still enjoy the sweet things in life, without harming my body or feeding it junk.

I hope this helps! Questions? Thoughts?

xo,

Lauren

Sources: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

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