Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sugar vs. Sweeteners: Which is Better for You?

With the way teams on Twitter are going, frankly, I'm surprised people haven't started #TeamSugar and #TeamSweetener yet. If you're not into social networking, you probably won't get that.

Anyway, when you are trying to lose weight or stay healthy, the age old question of "sugar vs. sweetener" always comes up. Is sugar all bad? Are sweeteners super healthy? Well, let's find out.

First off, it is important to understand that there are different kinds of sweeteners: Natural sweeteners vs. Artificial sweeteners.

Natural Sweeteners
As you've probably guessed, the word 'natural' doesn't always tell us what we need to know. Generally, products are called natural because they go through little or no processing. However, that is subject to interpretation as two products can be called natural but have very different effects on the body based on their nutrition content. 

Sometimes, people lean towards some brands of sweeteners because of their exotic names or origins. Some examples of natural sweeteners are honey, molasses, agave nectar, and maple syrup. The truth is that although they require less processing, natural sugars are not that different from regular sugar in the calorie content and in the nutrition value. However, the good thing is that they don't contain a bunch of preservatives or ingredients that make you scratch your head. See below for how natural sweeteners stand compared to sugar.

Artificial Sweeteners
If you don't really have a sweet tooth, it could be difficult getting used to artificial sweeteners because they tend to be much much sweeter than sugar. However, the awesome aspect of artificial sweeteners is that they usually contain little to no calories because they are not carbohydrates. Some examples are: Splenda, and Sweet n' Low.

On the other hand, it is important to be careful with artificial sweeteners because many studies have shown that they are possibly linked to various diseases, including certain types of cancer. How do artificial sweeteners stack up compared to sugar?

Cheers Eights & Weights!

Photo credit: healthland.time.com

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