Adding sugar into your diet can be detrimental to your health as it can contribute to the risk for diabetes.
To combat this risk, many people choose to drink beverages containing artificial sweeteners as a ‘healthy’ alternative to sugar, but beware, as these sweeteners often contain other hidden health risks.
Sweeteners – Sweeteners make you hungrier. In fact, many people who take sweeteners as part of a diet to lose weight, actually end up eating more food!
Some common sweeteners and their health risks:
- Aspartame – Aspartame has been linked to high blood pressure (hypertension). It also blocks an enzyme in the gut called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP). This enzyme helps prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
- Acesulfame-K – Acesulfame-K has been shown to cause DNA damage.
- Cyclamate – Cyclamate has been shown to cause reduced male fertility and may increase the risk for bladder cancer.
- Saccharin – Saccharin can cause bladder cancer.
- Sucralose – Sucralose is a laxative and can dehydrate you by causing water to be drawn from the body into the colon where it is excreted.
Gut bacteria – Many sweeteners have also been shown to negatively affect the balance of gut bacteria, leading to a more harmful phenotype that can decrease digestive efficiency and increase inflammation in the gut.
Sugar – The best advice with sugar is don’t try to replace it. Slowly wean yourself off it instead. If you get used to a diet that is less sweet in general, your taste buds will soon become accustomed to not needing sugar and you will find that you enjoy the full array of tastes in food again, not just sweet.
Best Sweeteners – If you choose to use a sweetener in your drinks the healthiest options are:
- Date sugar
- Blackstrap molasses