The Sweet Truth About Sugar

With so much talk about sugar and quitting sugar (thanks to Sarah Wilson) since there have been a number of diet, fat free low fat options constantly being promoted but being filled with sugar, as doctors we see a lot of dis-ease coming from patients who maybe don’t have a high fat diet but they treat their taste buds with so much sugar which is even more easily stored as fat.

Because of this increased awareness, people are sourcing out many different substitutes for their sugar cravings. Here's the lowdown on different types of sugar substitutes and their benefits and drawbacks.

ASPARTAME

Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener branded under the name Nutrasweet and Equal. Aspartame is made by joining together the amino acids aspartic acid and phenylalanine.

Benefits: Low in calories; doesn't promote tooth decay; helpful for diabetes sufferers.

Drawbacks: A known carcinogen and its carcinogenic effects are increased when exposure begins in the womb. There are better sugar substitutes below!

STEVIA

Stevia is a plant that is part of the species of herbs and shrubs belonging to the sunflower family, also known as Sweatleaf or Sugarleaf. Stevia originates from sub-tropical areas in Latin America and has been used for centuries in places like Paraguay and Brazil.

Benefits: Does not affect blood sugar levels, so Stevia is great for diabetics; up to 300 times sweeter than sugar; no calories; non-toxic; non-carcinogenic; contains Vitamin C, calcium, beta-carotene, chromium, fiber, iron, magnesium, niacin, potassium, protein and silicon; doesn't convert to glucose so has a glycemi index of 0.

Drawbacks: No conclusive drawback at the time of writing.  

HONEY

If you haven't eaten honey before, get thee to the shops right this second and grab a jar of Manuka honey. It's divine on fruit and plain yoghurt as a healthy alternative to ice-cream.

Benefits: Sweeter than white sugar; assimilated directly into the bloodstream very quickly; contains high number of minerals and enzymes if consumed raw (without being treated with heat; great hangover cure; contains strong pro-biotic properties; contains sleep-inducing, sedative and tranquilizing properties; nutrients are believed to assist in caner, heart and other diseases; Buckwheat honey and darker honey is generally considered to have more nutrients; honey also has the same disease-resistant nutrients as fruits.

Drawbacks: A number of people eat honey because they think its healthy: but they are not consuming raw honey which is better for the body. The healthy enzymes in processed honey are lost due to the heating process, so switch to raw honey from your health food store.