Which sweeteners should you choose?
Many people ask me: What do you think about artificial sweeteners? How about Stevia? My answer is always that I do not recommend any of them, not even for diabetics.
Let me explain briefly why. Artificial sweeteners, like the name already implies, are artificial, man-made foods. They are created by mixing chemicals in a laboratory that form substances with highly increased power of sweetening things. Most of them have no calories, others have starch (a sugar chain), dextrose (sugar again, yeah, I know…), a combination of amino acids, or sugar alcohols. These components are naturally present in the foods you eat, but when chemically manipulated and consumed out of the normal ratios, these components can bring you problems. For example, artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, have been shown to induce migraines.
Naturally, people choose artificial sweeteners over sugar to lose or maintain weight. But this replacement actually has the opposite desired effect. When you eat something with regular sugar, it triggers a feeling of pleasure and you feel satisfied. Your body will store that sugar as fat or you will burn it as energy. Now, if you eat something artificially sweetened, you won't have the feeling of satiety... And you need that. So you end up eating more. One study showed that rats that ate yogurt mixed with an artificial sweetener consumed fewer calories from the yogurt but ate more of their chow, that was also given to them, than rats that ate sugar-sweetened yogurt. Both groups of rats ate similar amounts of total calories, but the rats that ate the artificial-sweetened yogurt gained more weight than rats that ate the sugar-sweetened yogurt. This suggests not only that artificial sweeteners make you want to eat more, but that they also promote more weight gain and increased body fat!
But weight gain is not the only problem. Logically, diabetics are told to choose artificial sweeteners over sugar to control their blood sugar. Well, studies have been shown the effects of artificial sweeteners on sugar tolerance, linking its consumption to an increased risk of developing diabetes! Wait, what? That is because artificial sweeteners promote the release of insulin just like sugar, but insulin does not find blood sugar to deliver energy to your body cells… So after a while, insulin can stop working properly and bring you trouble. It also damages your gut bacteria. It is so important for your gut bacteria to be healthy that you can call them your second brain as they are responsible for many crucial functions in your body, such as to keep you away from infections.
Finally, even though the evidence for risk of developing cancer is inconclusive, there have been studies since the 1970s demonstrating this link with cyclamate, saccharin, and aspartame, while other studies show no relationship. In my opinion, I would just stay away to be on a safer side.
Here you have all of the reasons why you should use naturally sweet foods. Sweeten your drinks and foods with dates and raisins, vanilla extract, brown sugar and coconut palm sugar, raw honey and agave, fruits, and also spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg powders.