If you have a sweet tooth, cutting down on your sugar intake can be an effective way of helping you lose weight. But should you replace the sugar in your coffee with sweetener instead? Some say yes, some say absolutely not. It seems that the subject of artificial sweetener is a hotly debated one – but what’s all the fuss about?
What are sweeteners?
Essentially artificial sweeteners are chemicals that taste sweet, providing an alternative to sugar. While sweeteners do contain calories, the tiny amount needed to flavour your food contains almost no calories, which is why they’re a favourable option if you’re looking to lose weight. Common sweeteners include aspartame, sucralose, and saccharine, usually found in diet cooldrink, chewing gum, and foods labelled as ‘low carb’ or ‘sugar-free’.
Can they help you lose weight?
They can do. If you’re used to indulging in sweet, sugary foods, switching to a virtually calorie-free option can help you manage your weight more effectively while allowing you to enjoy the sweet taste you love. However, if you swap your regular cooldrink for a sugar-free one, then feel justified in eating a giant slab of chocolate afterwards, you won’t see the weight loss you’re looking for. As with any healthy eating plan, you’ll still need to watch your nutrition and your portion sizes.
Are they dangerous?
Whether artificial sweeteners are the cause of health issues, most notably cancer, is a hotly debated issue. Over the years, studies have linked saccharine and aspartame to cancer, but further research has revealed that there is no connection between the two. Additionally, if you suffer from diabetes, you could also benefit from switching to sweetener, which doesn’t elevate blood sugar levels the same way that sugar does.
The final verdict
If you’re part of the clean eating movement that places importance on eating foods in as natural a state as possible, you might want to steer clear of man-made sweeteners, and opt for water instead. However, if you prefer a more relaxed style of eating, the odd diet cooldrink here and there is far better than a daily two litres of fizzy drink. Just moderate your intake, and you’ll still be able to eat healthily while enjoying the occasional guilt-free sweet treat.
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