Artificial sweeteners or ‘fake’ sugars comes in all kinds of sneaky forms–none are exactly a healthy option. It’s always tempting to throw in a Sweet n’ Low or a Splenda pack into your coffee or tea when you are trying to cut calories and stay fit but try to avoid the temptation! Use Stevia instead–it’s natural and also has NO CALORIES (i.e. skinny jeans-friendly). There is a growing body of research that now shows that using artificial sweeteners can actually CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN, not weight loss so dieters beware of that diet soda!
Types of Fake Sugar
I advise all my clients to avoid chemical artificial sweeteners and fake sugars such as xylitol, sucralose, Acesulfame-Potassium, Saccharin and aspartame. Artificial sweeteners are chemical compounds not found in nature and artificially invented to trick our bodies into thinking they are ‘sweet.’ Diabetic are often advised by well-meaning doctors and dieticians to substitute sugar for artificial sweeteners because they do not directly affect blood sugar (but indirectly they can cause harm!). Diabetic patients and people trying to cut down calories and sugar should use a natural alternative such as stevia (see my article on Stevia for details!), which doesn’t spike blood sugar.
Each of the artificial sweeteners go by various trade names, as described below:
Sweetener List by Name and The Low-Down on each..
- Acesulfame-Potassium (Acesulfame-K) goes by the brand names Ace-K, Sunett and Sweet One. It is a combination of organic acid and potassium that is often blended with other sugar substitutes. It is 200 times sweeter than sugar
- Aspartame goes by the brand names Equal and NutraSweet. It is composed of two amino acids (proteins), aspartic acid and phenylalanine. 200 times sweeter than sugar.
- Neotame is one of the newest artificial sweeteners and is about 10,000 times sweeter than sugar.
- Saccharin goes by the brand names Necta Sweet, Sugar Twin and Sweet ‘N Low and is 500 times sweeter than sugar
- Sucralose goes by the brand name Splenda and is 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Try to resist the urge of reaching for ANY of these to sweeten your am caffeine boost and try to go with less real sugar, or try Stevia. Your body will thank you!