So, you’re on a diet and use artificial sweeteners in just about everything. But, you're still gaining weight and can’t figure out why. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, you have been fooled into thinking that they will help you lose weight.
First, I want to talk about why artificial sweeteners aren’t such a good thing when you are trying to lose weight. Research has shown, repeatedly, that artificial sweeteners that are low or no calorie are not helping your diet. These studies investigating aspartame show that they can:
Aspartame is forbidden for human consumption in most European and some other countries. In Germany, my home country, it is only fed to pigs. So that they get more hungry and fatter. Do you need more arguments to throw your 0-calories artificial sugar out? There is a false belief that artificially sweetened beverages and food help you to lose weight. So, what are the alternatives? We know that white processed sugar isn’t good, so where does that leave you and what are your choices. Sugar is an additive. We become addicted to it. Please note, that the feeling you “need” to eat sugar immediately will go away after only 2 days. Getting rid of artificial sugar, and ideally, any sugar is crucial for your health and weight.
Palm sugar is rich in nutrients and a low-glycemic sweetener. It tastes, looks, and dissolves almost precisely like sugar, however, it is completely unrefined and natural. Palm sugar is derived from the flowers of a coconut tree, which are then collected and opened for their nectar. The nectar is dried to form crystalline sugar and is brown in color and high in quite a few minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients, like zinc, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and potassium.
Stevia is native to South America and is a leafy, green plant. For many centuries, it has been used for medicinal purposes. It has a strong, sweet flavor and is used as a sweetener. You can buy crushed or whole stevia leaves, but most of the time you find liquid or powder, or the refined version of the plant. Interestingly enough, it has been found to lower blood pressure and blood sugar, which in turn helps fight diabetes.
Agave is best known as the plant Tequila is being made off and has been recognized for many years as a food ingredient. In Mexico, the nectar made from this plant is known as “honey water”. The agave nectar was prized by the Aztecs and was thought of as a gift from the gods and used it to flavor drinks and foods. Today, there has been increased awareness for its beneficial properties and is becoming a preferred sweetener for people that are health conscious, natural food cooks and doctors.
Honey is usually a staple in the kitchen and is full of antioxidants. It is a sweet natural liquid that is produced by bees from flower nectar. The flavor and texture of honey depend on what flower the bee is collecting from. Honey is composed of 40% fructose, 30% glucose, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Because of the high fructose concentration, it is sweeter than table sugar. It is also high in carbohydrate. Honey, especially the darker varieties, is high in chemical compounds called flavonoids. These are reported to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-allergic properties. Some view this as being a healthier choice than sugar. If you do choose honey, try to get a raw variety. It contains more enzymes, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients.
I hope this gives you a guide to which sugars are good for you and your diet and why those artificial sweeteners are sabotaging your hard work. Now, at least you have an idea and choices of natural sugars that are not only good for you but can benefit your diet plans. I would like to once more point out that a life without sugar (or only fructose through eating real fruit) is the healthiest choice. When choosing between two evils, real sugar (in ANY form even the refined unhealthy one) is by far the smaller one. That obesity is increasing parallel to the amount of diet and “sugar-free” foods and drinks is not a coincidence.
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