Do you use sugar or sweetener? It’s a common question people ask each other when trying to decide if they should reach for something a bit healthier when it comes to sweetening their food and drinks. Both alternatives offer their own advantages, with the key being finding a balance between the two.
The sugar versus sweetener debate has been a recurring theme in the food industry and health in recent years. As obesity and diabetes continue to be public health issues, people are looking for ways to reduce their sugar intake without sacrificing the sweetness they love. Do you know the differences between sugar, natural sweetener and sweetener, and which one to choose?
Sugar or sweetener
Sugar is one of the most widely used sweeteners worldwide. It is found naturally in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. In addition, we often add it to a wide variety of processed foods.
Many health experts consider it a contributor to obesity and diabetes. It contains empty calories and can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin, have gained popularity as alternatives to sugar. These sweeteners contain no calories, making them attractive to those seeking to lose weight or reduce their sugar intake.
However, there are concerns about the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on health, including their impact on metabolism and digestion.
There are also natural sweeteners, such as stevia and xylitol, which are often used as alternatives to sugar. These sweeteners have a sweet taste without the added calories of sugar, and some even provide health benefits. Stevia, for example, has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
Honey and cane sugar are other examples of natural sweeteners. Honey is produced from the nectar of flowers and has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener in foods and beverages. It provides vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
On the other hand, cane sugar is a type of unrefined sugar that retains some of the nutrients that are removed during the refining process. It contains slightly more minerals than refined white sugar, such as calcium, iron and potassium.
Both contain calories and carbohydrates and can increase blood sugar levels if consumed in excess, but can be a healthy alternative to refined sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Which is better for daily consumption?
So which is better, sugar or sweetener. Or as a third option, are natural sweeteners better? Ultimately, the choice depends on each person and their individual dietary and health needs. If someone is trying to lose weight or reduce their calorie intake, calorie-free sweeteners may be a good option. However, those looking to avoid artificial sweeteners may choose a natural sweetener.
On the other hand, those seeking a more balanced and healthier diet should limit their overall sugar intake, both refined sugar and natural sweeteners. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily intake of added sugar to six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.
All have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of one over the other is up to the individual. Remembering that overconsumption of any type of sweetener can have negative health effects, let’s apply moderation and consciously choose foods containing natural, healthy sweeteners instead of processed sugars and sweeteners.