and Natural Sweeteners
Is there a difference?
Artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners, in some form, are the most common food additives. There are different types of sweeteners, each with different beneficial or detrimental effects to your health. All sugars, even natural ones, are simple carbohydrates, and thus affect your blood sugar levels quickly. Rapid fluctuations to your blood sugar can weaken your immune system and cause stress on your pancreas – which tries to keep your blood sugar at a constant level. Sugars also have a tendency to leach essential vitamins and minerals from your body. As a consequence, sugar not only contributes to health problems, but also reduces your body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Therefore, all sweeteners, even natural ones, should be used sparingly.
Natural sweeteners, such as honey or unrefined maple syrup, are generally the least detrimental to your health. They are less processed, and therefore contain more vitamins and minerals. Refined sugars such as sucrose (white table sugar) provide little nutritional value. Artificial sweeteners are the worst for your system. The reason they claim to have no calories is that your body does not process them properly. However, byproducts of the body’s attempt to process them can be harmful. Aspartame has been reported to cause blackouts, while saccharin was linked to cancer.
Summary List of Sweeteners
Natural Minimally Refined Sweeteners (the best for you)
Refined Sweeteners (second best)
- Stevia - an herbal sugar substitute that is extremely sweet tasting, but has no calories and does not effect blood sugar levels
- Fruit juice
- Unrefined maple syrup
- Raw honey
- Date sugar
- Molasses (blackstrap or barbados)
- Brown rice syrup
- Barley malt
Artificial Sweeteners (avoid!)
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Refined maple syrup
- Corn syrup
- Processed honey
Minimizing the use of all sweeteners, and eliminating artificial ones, is
- Aspartame (a.k.a. NutraSweet)
The Natural Path to good health.
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