Sugar Calorie Basing: Why Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For You

You may have heard about all the new artificial sweeteners on the market to make your diet more healthy, and might have been wondering if using them is bad for you. You may ask if using Splenda, aspartame or sucralose is the right choice for you. To understand the choices you have, let’s look at some facts about the different types of artificial sweeteners.

Splenda and sucralose arechlorohydrate polymers, manufactured by chlorinating sugar. The process of chlorination chemically converts sucrose into chlorine. Splenda’s process does not involve chlorine. Rather, Splenda uses chlorine molecules as it converts sugar into chlorine. Because Splenda is not sugar, it is not honey, and does not trigger the sugar rise seen with artificial sweeteners.

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Some people who have trouble metabolizing sucralose may suffer from signaling problems. This occurs when certain liver receptor sites become overloaded. It is believed that these overloaded receptor sites disallow some compounds to be safely processed by the liver.

Sucralose is hypoglycemic, or low blood sugar. One of the sucralose side effects is gastrointestinal distress, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. These symptoms can be severe, and not respond to insulin treatment. As sucralose is not sugar, it is not as empty calories as other sweeteners. A 4 oz. serving of Splenda contains only 100 calories total, and of those 100 calories, 4 come from calories for nothing.

Aspartame, like Splenda, is a sugar free, artificial sweetener. It was discovered when a chemist made a mistake. In Spurlock’s movie, he details how and when the FDA paid him to disguised a chemical as an additive. Aspartame is 160 times sweeter than sugar. However, it is not void of calories. It contains three carbohydrates. Those compounds, aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol, give it the sweet taste. It is also known as ribonucleotides (ibly), aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. Aspartame is a best choice for diabetics and those who are sensitive to sugar.

The last square is crystalline fructose, a disaccharide composed of a glucose molecule attached to a fructose molecule. It is the sweetest of the sugar polymers. Because it is several hundred times sweeter than sugar it passes right through the intestines without being digested. It is quickly processed by the liver, and used as energy. Fructose does not cause an increase in blood sugar, and actually reduces the need for insulin. For these reasons and the fact that it aids weight loss, it is a good choice for anyone who has been on a diet. It is also a good choice for anyone who wants to reduce their portions but still feel satisfied.

The best choices of sugar are those that are natural. Oils and fats that are extracted from plants are best. Agave syrup is one such oil. It is extracted from a cactus plant in the desert. It is high in calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium and is relatively low in sugar. In contrast, white sugar is processed from the sugar cane plant in Mexico or the pineapple tree in the tropics. Both extract high amounts of sugar from the plant, and give the resulting mixture high fructose corn syrup, or more simply, sucrose.

Even though agave syrup tastes worse than sugar, it actually acts like sugar in your body. In cooking and baking, the fructose in agave converts to glucose to make agave syrup. In fact, agave syrup is 70% fructose and 30% glucose. But the fructose in it is not converted to glucose; it is stored as fat in your body. The low glycemic index of agave syrup makes it a much better choice than sugar to use in your baking, or as a substitute for sugar in your favorite recipe.

The only drawback to agave is its texture. While it is far healthier than sugar, it just does not have the texture of sugar. If you are a fan of the “fruity yoghurt” texture, you are going to be disappointed.

But if you like the more robust taste of sugar, then you really like agave, and it is not going to let you down. In fact, it will probably enhance your enjoyment of it, and that is a good thing. After all, what is the point of sticking with something that will leave you feeling satisfied, only to lose it when you try to improve its flavor?

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