President's Prescription: Sugar Substitutes

President's Prescription: Sugar Substitutes

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle or losing weight, sugar substitutes are staple in many people's diet.

Things like aspartame and saccharin, stevia and honey are found in a lot of our food these days. And these sugar substitutes are meant to satisfy our sweet tooth while helping us consume less sugar. But the question is, are they really good for you?

There are different classifications of sugar substitute and you must look at them individually to determine their healthfulness. Artificial sweeteners include aspartame, also known as Equal or NutraSweet, saccharin, which goes by the name Sweet'N'Low, and sucralose, often called Splenda. These are popular because they contain no calories, so people often utilize them while trying to lose weight, but there's actually no proof that they actually help you lose weight. There's also some concern that they may be dangerous to your health, but the research is divided here too.

Other sweeteners, such as stevia extract, are derived from natural ingredients and are much lower in calories than table sugar. However, the FDA has only approved their use in certain forms.

Finally, natural sweeteners, like honey and agave nectar, have recently become popular because they are less processed than your normal table sugar. However, since consuming added sugar has no benefit for your health, it's still not wise to consume too much of even a natural sugar substitute. Doing so could still lead to health problems.

So the next time you're craving something sweet, ask yourself what type of sweetener are they using in the product. And remember this, just because something is low calorie or even sugar free, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthy for you.

For maintaining good health, I'm Dr. Tedd Mitchell.

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