How Artificial Sweeteners Compare to Real Sugar

I’ve been on a journey lately to be more mindful about the artificial sweeteners I’m putting in my body. I’ve spent some time reflecting on how they’re affecting my gut and if there are alternatives to what I’m currently doing. 


Today, I encourage you to begin your own self-reflection. Let’s dig into artificial sweeteners and learn about their health impacts compared to real sugar.


Sugar Alcohols


Sugar alcohols are a hot topic today, especially in the Keto space. When we look at the carbohydrate content of a protein bar, for example, a lot of times you’ll see sugar alcohols listed there. 


This is related to net carbs. If your protein bar has 30 grams of carbohydrates and five grams of fiber, you deduct that out and your carb count does down to 25. On top of that, if the protein bar has sugar alcohols in it, because those sugar alcohols don’t impact blood sugar, they don’t get fully digested and metabolized and you also deduct those out of your carb count. 


Sugar alcohols come from fruits and veggie sources whereas artificial sweeteners (like saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose) are fully manufactured chemical products. In this sense, sugar alcohols are a little better. However, they are often still manipulated and manufactured, making them slightly artificial. 


Sugar, on the other hand, is 100% natural. Additionally, sugar alcohol can stimulate and affect the glucose tolerance curve more so than regular sugar. 


My Personal Journey


As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been on a journey regarding paying attention to my artificial sweetener intake and how it affects my gut. I started looking deeper into the ingredient lists of the foods and drinks I was consuming and noticed my GI issues. Though I can’t be sure the artificial sweeteners are the cause of my gut issues, I knew they couldn’t be helping.


So, I began to experiment. I reduced the amount of Splenda I was using and opted for some natural sweeteners instead. For example, I realized I can easily put honey in my yogurt instead of Splenda and put a little cinnamon, sugar, or fruit in my oatmeal in the morning.


What About Stevia?


Stevia has become very trendy in recent years as it has been identified as a natural sweetener. 


However, we still have to be careful. For example, Truvia is a mainstream Stevia product but it actually has erythritol in it. This is in many sugar-free products nowadays. 


This isn’t something to be fearful about. Rather, it’s just something to be aware of.

If you want to learn more about artificial sweeteners compared to natural sugar, check out Episode 018: Artificial vs. Natural Sugar: Which is Better?

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