Have you ever wondered if artificial sweeteners are actually bad for you? Many of us already know that reducing our sugar intake is obviously a good decision considering the various health concerns related to a high sugar diet such as diabetes, but are artificial sugars the best solution to this problem? And what are the available low sugar options to keep both your sweet tooth and sugar levels happy?
The great debate
The debate surrounding sugar and the best (and worst) ways to include it in your diet is as long and complicated as civilisation’s historic love affair with sugar itself. The argument surrounding artificial sugars and its comparative benefits to natural sugars is yet another complex chapter of this debate, but here are the basics to help make things a little clearer.
Essentially, sweeteners use a collection of chemicals that simulate the taste of sugar without containing the same amount of calories. While this is indeed an obvious benefit to those wanting to reduce their calorie intake, many experts believe these chemicals can affect the body negatively.
Knowing the difference
Like the name suggests, ‘artificial’ sugars or sweeteners are not naturally sourced and are created in a lab. They come in various forms but the most common types in foods and products are Aspartame, Sucralose and Saccharin, which can all be found in your local store under differing brand names such as Canderel, Sweetex and Splenda.
These sugar alternatives have received much criticism in the past, but as they remain widely available in stores, it seems that links between these substances and various diseases are more rumour than truth…right?
Links to diseases
The first and most memorable health risk alert related to the consumption of artificial sugars appeared in the 1970’s linking Saccharin to bladder cancer in rats. Although this was later dismissed by the research community that stated only rats were susceptible to this kind of reaction – where humans were not – a shadow was cast over the world of artificial sugars that has not yet been fully dispelled.
Another study suggesting the link between Aspartame consumption and brain tumours was eventually disproved for being founded on a weak hypothesis and lack of real evidence. A later study also suggested a relationship between artificial sugars and the development of lymphoma and leukaemia, which ultimately failed due to a lack of supporting results.
And so the trend continues, for every study that has shown a direct link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and increased disease risk, there’s another that has disproved it.
So what should you choose?
The consequences of using artificial sweeteners may not be as scary as you originally thought, but neither can we say with 100 per cent certainty that regular use of these substances will have no adverse effect on the body in the long term other than increased rates of headaches among certain consumers.
Humans have been using artificial sweeteners for a relatively short time and we are still performing tests on how they impact us.
A moderate approach
Our advice at Silvina’s is to take a moderate approach. There’s no real pressure to resort to sweeteners unless you are seriously struggling to reduce your calorie intake. The reason we put so much effort into crafting our meringue Crown treats with organic unprocessed cane sugar is that we know how hard it is to compromise.
When your treats also offer you high protein and fibre in addition to low sugar levels we know the decision is a lot easier for you.
In the end, remember that a balanced diet (give or take the occasional extravagant blow out or delicious snack) is the most important thing. A little bit of naughty is good for your soul and whenever you can, look to natural sources for your sugar fill or products that contain natural ingredients.