Pros And Cons of Sugar Substitutes
Weight loss fanatics are not the only people who are crazy about artificial sweeteners. There are also the diabetics. But, for them, replacing sucrose or table sugar with more intense sugar substitutes mean more than shedding off a couple of pounds. On many occasions, these are a matter of staving off diabetes symptoms or not.
Pros Save on calories - The average American consumes around twenty teaspoons of sugar every day. These much sugar translates to more than 300 calories per day. It will only take you a little more than five days to pack up another pound by consuming the same amount of sugar alone on a daily basis. While at the outset, this problem is somewhat exclusive for obese individuals, those people diagnosed with diabetes also have issues with sugar. The solution to this problem of course is either to cut back on sugar intake or replace table sugar with zero-calorie sweeteners.
The good thing about these substitutes is that their taste is more intense (some sweeteners like sucralose are several hundred times sweeter than ordinary sugar). Consumers, therefore, require less of these sugars which eventually leads to lesser problems with blood glucose levels, or for overweight individuals, lesser worries with packing up more pounds.
But, beware. Sugar substitutes do not always mean they contain zero calories. Also, not all sugar substitutes can help fend off extra calories.
Lots of varieties - Low-calorie and no-calorie sugar substitutes come in varieties. In the market today, the most recognizable sugar substitutes are sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, stevia, sorbitol, and mannitol.
Generally safe for consumption - All sugar substitutes are consumable. But, this does not suggest that all of them are free of properties that can lead to the development of certain conditions or properties that can pike up blood glucose levels. In general, those sugar substitutes that are not considered carbohydrates do not have any effects on blood glucose levels.
Cons Even if artificial sweeteners present good alternatives to weight thwarting table sugar, there are still a lot of drawbacks to using these products. First, there is the bitter after taste that many people find unpleasant. Some sugar substitutes like acesulfame-K tastes bitter when used alone.
Artificial sweeteners also tend to produce inferior quality baked products. Natural sugar plays a huge role in texture as well as taste. Laboratory-produced ones just don't seem to keep up with natural products. The best alternative to sugar for baked goods is sucralose because heat does not affect its taste.
Prolonged use of artificial sweeteners can also lead to side effects like chronic fatigue and persistent headaches. There are also reports that frequent consumers of these sweeteners end up hungry all the time, which kind of defeats the purpose of using sugar substitutes in the first place. This is because there is no sense of fullness in consuming substitutes instead of the real, natural sugar.
Hidden calories are also a problem commonly encountered with sugar substitutes. Sometimes, bulking agents toss in a few calories that many consumers are unaware of.
The jury is still out on the efficacy of sugar substitutes as diabetic products. Current reports are contradicting and it is still quite hard to pin down whether using these is actually beneficial or not. But, experts agree that so long as artificial sweeteners are used in moderation, no adverse effects may appear. Or at least, not immediately.