How Sweet are Artificial Sugars?
Since January is the most popular month for dieting, it seemed appropriate to highlight the sham of sugar-free. Alternatives to sugar seem like a godsend, you can eat how you want with none of the guilt, zero calorie drinks, it’s a dieter’s dream come true! Most diets (not healthy eating plans), are rooted in outsmarting the human body or tricking it into weight loss submission! Well friends, mounting a sugar-free sneak attack on the body will ultimately lead to your body’s demise; not aid in weight loss.
What is an Artificial Sweetener?
As you know table sugar is not healthy for the body and too much can cause weight gain, but at least the body recognizes it as an authentic substance and knows how to process it. Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes on the other hand, are synthetic substances. Certain components may be naturally derived, but chemicals are added to enhance or create the utopic sweet substance. Sucralose or Splenda is made from sugar, but its chemical structure is not: a molecule of the artificial sweetener has three chlorine atoms, whereas sugar has three pairs of oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Sucralose, slips through the body undigested; as does saccharin—a compound of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur atoms. With aspartame technically the only unnatural component is a methyl ester bond that connects phenylalanine and aspartic acid, which are two amino acids found in the human body. The body’s digestive enzymes recognize aspartame as a protein and break it down much as they would a natural compound. Although another discussion could be had on the chemicals released during the processing of aspartame, but that will be set aside for another time!
One of the issues with artificial sweeteners is that they offer the body false fulfillment. Your taste buds report to the brain the sweet sensation and in turn your brain stimulates your appetite. However, when there’s no nutritional value in what you are eating or drinking, your brain keeps sending hunger requests until the body is satisfied. So if you are eating artificially sweetened food, your body will keep expecting to be nutritionally satisfied. Many times people find themselves eating more calories in an effort to satisfy this sense of hunger, but until real calories are consumed, the body will remain in a state of confusion! There’s also the false sense of extra calories in the bank that may cause you to reach for an extra cookie or two or have a second helping, since after all you saved calories on your diet soda! Your body will be happier and you won’t feel deprived if you allow yourself to eat real calorie-filled food and you will feel satisfied which means you will eat less!
Artificial sweeteners usually come in cute brightly colored little packets and come in these popular forms:
- Aspartame – Equal and NutraSweet – it is 180 times sweeter than sugar
- Acesulfame- K – Sunett and Sweet One – it is 200 times sweeter than sugar
- Neotame – it is between 8,000 and 13,000 times sweeter than sugar
- Saccharin – Sweet’N Low and Necta Sweet – it is 300 times sweeter than sugar
- Sucralose – Splenda – it is 600 times sweeter than sugar
Natural is Best
Sugar calories may seem like a waste, but compared to the artificial alternative, real sugar is worth it! Some healthier forms of sugar are, raw honey, organic maple syrup, agave nectar, date sugar, and the antioxidant friendly sorghum syrup, they may have calories, but at least they also provide the body with nutrients. Your brain and body know how to regulate sugar and calories, but they don’t know what to do with sugar with little or no calories!
Lakeview Family Wellness is your #1 Eastside and Seattle Wellness Center. We are a naturopathic medical clinic located at the very northern tip of Lake Washington between Seattle and Bothell in the city of Kenmore. At Lake View Family Wellness, we specialize in integrative medicine for the whole person. We emphasize people and not diseases while offering practical, real solutions to conditions and concerns such as: Diet, fitness, preventive care, women’s health, men’s health, cancer, chronic pain, common colds, autoimmune disease, and genetics.
Naturopathic medicine provides alternative, natural solutions for the most stubborn conditions. The doctors at Lake View Family Wellness utilize individualized nutrition strategies, pharmaceutical grade supplementation, intravenous (IV) therapy and a host of lifestyle modifying tools to make sure you reach your health goals. Creating opportunity for your body to overcome disease and surge in health is our number one priority. We hope to encourage and enable you to reach untold heights in your health journey. We look forward to serving you here at Lake View Family Wellness!
Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors at 425-219-4325 (HEAL)
Dr. Jeff Thomas, ND
Dr. James Pendleton, ND
Dr. Carrie Miller, ND
Dr. John Catanzaro, ND