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What You Should Know About Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners often have a bad name, because they can sometimes have adverse effects on your body. However, this is a much more complicated topic than you might think. If you’re thinking of cutting back on sugar, but want to try artificial sweeteners, here is some information to know first.

Types of Artificial Sweeteners

The first thing to understand is that they might go by some different names. You can typically find them on the ingredients list of foods or drinks you are consuming, usually ones that claim to be diet or sugar-free. For example, do you enjoy adding Splenda as a natural sugar-free option to your coffee? This is an artificial sweetener known as sucralose. Some others include aspartame (Equal), saccharin (sweet ‘n low), and D-Tagatose.

They Are Not the Same as Added Sugar

One of the common misconceptions is that artificial sweeteners are added sugars. This is sometimes the case, but not always. There are also “healthy” versions of added sugars, including maple syrup and honey. These aren’t really bad for you, but still have a lot of the same effects as sugar. Artificial sweeteners are only the manmade sweeteners that don’t come from any natural sources. This also means that sweeteners like Stevia are not included, since it comes from a plant.

Sweeteners Affect Everyone Differently

While the American Heart Association has approved using artificial sweeteners in moderation to replace sugar and help with some of sugar’s side effects, some people don’t react well to them. There are people who might end up with stomach aches and digestive issues, headaches, and many other side effects. It is important to test out one artificial sweetener at a time to see how your body reacts to it. You might do better with more of a natural sweetener.

Final Note About Artificial Sweeteners

Like anything you consume, these may affect you completely different than someone else. And also like everything, you should practice moderation. If you are trying to reduce your fructose intake because of pre-diabetes or weight control issues, they can be a great alternative for some added sweetness to baked goods or coffee. However, they should not be relied on to just keep eating the same types of foods as you were before, with the same amount of sweetness. With a sugar detox, they should be avoided first to see how your body reacts to having no added sugars whatsoever.

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