As Sweet as Sugar – But Not Very Nice

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Science has brought us so far that we have solutions for most health-related issues. Take weight gain, for instance. If you aim to reduce your sugar intake but can’t help giving in to your sweet tooth, they have an invention for that: sweeteners.

Sweeteners are sugar substitutes, but they might be equally, if not more, dangerous. Recent research has led to some shocking revelations about what we previously considered perfect and easy solutions.

Why are we talking about this now? Any health-related scientific innovation is surely tested before it is made available in markets. But what is always missing is longitudinal research. Take the case of cigarettes, for example. For a long time after they became available for the masses to consume, people thought they were great for dealing with stress. Only years later did we realize these cancer sticks’ long-term consequences on cardiovascular and neurological health.

As for artificial sweeteners, they are a recent innovation. Their use picked up only in the early 2010s, so we’ll only know their true effect by the 2040s when regular consumers are in middle or late adulthood.

While that is unfortunate, what steps can we take? First and foremost, it’s important to know what you’re risking by consuming these.

The Danger of Artificial Sugars

Some studies show that these artificial sweeteners have an ingredient called erythritol, which has been linked to an increased risk of stroke. Even though we assume high-carb diets lead to clogged blood vessels, this substitute does the same. You’re not necessarily doing anything better for your body.

But that’s not all. These artificial substances disturb the balance of bacteria in your gut and can actually lead to diabetes! However, it should be noted that the debate on diabetes and sweeteners is a double-edged sword. We can’t tell for sure whether sweeteners increase the risk of diabetes or are simply consumed more often by people who are at risk or already do have diabetes. But researchers have found that they contribute to glucose intolerance, which is the building block of diabetes.

In 2017, a Canadian research team also found that sweeteners might contribute to weight gain instead of helping us control it. But it’s not only erythritol. Studies with aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose show that each substance alters the gut biome differently, leading to different side effects.

Safe Solutions to Sugar Substitutes

So, should you stick to natural sugar? Probably not. Sugar is still dangerous if its intake is not controlled. It can lead to high cholesterol, heart attacks, metabolism issues, and high blood pressure.

This doesn’t mean you should stop eating anything sweet. But being mindful of your sodas, milkshakes, chocolates, and desserts can help you balance your cravings. Consider reducing the amount of sugar you add to your coffee, and try out natural sugars in fruits as desserts instead of cakes and pastries.

Your favorite snacks can be sweet and safe!

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