Why Natural Sugars Aren’t Any Better Than Artificial Sugars (And Neither Is Paleo!)
Natural sugars are not any better than artificial sugars. They do not provide any health benefits over them. There is no scientific evidence that they have any effect on your blood glucose levels or insulin resistance.
And there is no proof that they cause weight gain or diabetes mellitus either!
The only reason why most people consume them is because they believe it will improve their blood sugar control. But it doesn’t work like that. You cannot eat too much of anything and get rid of hunger.
Even if you were able to eat all the food in the world, you would still feel hungry after eating it. That’s how our bodies work!
Sugars don’t even make you lose weight. If anything, they increase your appetite. Eating too many carbohydrates increases your insulin level which causes fat storage.
So the next time someone tells you that eating carbs makes you thin, just tell him/her to go back to school and read some nutrition books instead!
If artificial sugars are so bad then why do we use them?
Because they taste good and they are cheap! Yes, the food industry uses them to improve their profit margins. Some of them are even worse than table sugar and cause other problems in the body such as cancer. Aspartame, for example, is a carcinogen which changes into toxic substances in your liver. A few decades ago, using artificial sweeteners was actually banned because some of them caused certain health complications in lab rats!
But let’s get back to the topic at hand. The main problem with any sweetener is that it can cause cravings and hunger, which leads to weight gain. And since many people have a misconception that “sweets” are unhealthy, some of them turn to more dangerous options such as sugar alcohols and stevia.
Sugar alcohols, also known as polyols, are sugar molecules which your body cannot digest completely. This means that they pass through your system without being fully absorbed. Some of the most common types are xylitol, erythritol, lactitol, and maltitol.
The good thing about them is that they do not contribute to tooth decay and some of them have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that they are safe for consumption!
Most of them cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues. They can even cause headaches, bloating, and nausea. Lactitol, for example, is known to cause severe diarrhea, and some people are even allergic to it!
The reason why they cause these problems is because they are osmotically active. In other words, they absorb water when in the intestines. The large intestine tries to get rid of the excess water by creating a lot of diarrhea!
Even though they have a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, some studies have shown that they can cause weight gain. If you eat something sweet, your pancreas releases insulin to get rid of the excess blood sugar. If the sweetener doesn’t raise your blood sugar levels at all, your body gets confused and increases insulin production to deal with the incoming sugar.
This can be even worse than eating regular sugar since it affects your body on a hormonal level! (1, 2)
Stevia is another “natural” sweetener which people often consider to be healthy. But just like all the other sugar replacements, it’s not! Even though some studies have shown that stevia doesn’t affect blood sugar levels and therefore is suitable for diabetics, this effect is very minimal.
Most studies that claim that stevia doesn’t raise blood sugar levels use a specific extract of the herb called rebaudioside A. This is just one of the many stevia extracts and most of them have a glycemic index which is similar to table sugar (30-70). (3, 4)
Even though stevia on its own doesn’t raise blood sugar levels much, it still has a multitude of other problems. Most stevia products are packed with fillers such as maltodextrin (sugar), dextrose, and other additives which negate any benefits it may have. This is especially true for sugar-free products which advertise stevia as a natural sweetener.
If you want to use stevia to sweeten your food, then buy pure extract in its whole form and add it yourself. Don’t trust a product which has many other additives since it’s unlikely that these are good for you.
One of the latest “health trends” is to eat like our ancestors did. Of course, our ancestors did a lot of things that we know are bad for us today. For example, they ate a lot of meat and saturated fat which increased their risk of heart disease and other problems.
Even though our diet has changed drastically, our digestive system hasn’t. We can eat a lot of foods that previous generations couldn’t, but we have a much higher risk of developing certain diseases because of it.
It’s important to remember that evolution is a slow process. It can’t keep up with rapid changes in our diet. Eating whatever we want while still expecting optimal health is being optimistic about things.
Even though we can eat a lot of carbs and remain lean, this doesn’t mean that it’s good for us. We have a lot more insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance than any previous generation.
So what does this all have to do with artificial sweeteners?
Many people replaced regular sugar with artificial sweeteners since they believed it would improve their health. Some people even use it as an excuse to eat “healthier”.
But studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can have other effects on the body. Some of them are even linked to more health problems than regular sugar (6, 7).
So next time you see an overweight person drinking diet soda, don’t think that they’re worse off than you. They might be eating healthy on the outside, but their diet is slowly killing them on the inside.
Even though the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners are still unknown, it’s best to avoid them just in case. Instead of reaching for that diet soda, try reaching for organic juice or water. Your body will thank you for it.
Now I’m not telling you to stop using all sweeteners. If your body can tolerate them and you like the taste, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use them.
But if you’re looking to improve your health as much as possible, then you should limit your intake. This is especially true if you’re currently consuming foods that contain these ingredients since you’re only adding to the problem.
Here’s a list of common sweeteners and possible replacements:
Sugar: Coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, Sucanat
HFCS: Organic brown rice syrup, agave nectar
Aspartame: Stevia, Xylitol, erythritol, Luo Han Guo (monk fruit)
Acesulfame K: Sucralose (or any other brand of sucralose), xylitol, erythritol
Saccharin: Stevia, erythritol
Neotame: Aspartame, erythritol
Hopefully you learned something new today.
“Artificial Ingredients are Harmful to Health” is another reason why you should try to limit the amount of processed foods in your diet. If you want to make the change from a junky diet to a healthy one, then check out this guide. It will help you get on the right path.
Thank you for reading and I hope you learn something useful today.
Sources & references used in this article:
Why Natural Sugars Aren’t Any Better Than Artificial Sugars (and Neither Is Paleo!) by V Bennington – breakingmuscle.com
FROM FAT TO FIT by WNS Aren’t Any, BTA Sugars – fatshapetofitshape.wordpress.com
ALL ABOUT SUGAR by FTA In, FTA Out, GA Foods, P Reintroductions – paleointheuk.com
ALL ABOUT ARTIFICIAL & NON-NUTRITIVE SWEETENERS by FTA In, FTA Out, GA Foods, P Reintroductions – paleointheuk.com