It has become common knowledge that it is important to limit sugar content in our diets. Because of this, many companies changed their products to include little to no sugar so they would appear healthier. In reality they have just switched the sugars in their products with artificial sweeteners that can be even worse for your health!
Artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are made of chemicals that are hard for our bodies to digest and sometimes can’t even be completely digested. This can cause gastrointestinal problems such as feeling bloated, gassy, or stomach discomfort. These artificial sweeteners can also make you feel like you haven’t eaten enough and cause your brain to think that you need more food. This can cause overeating and cravings, and could lead you to choose sweet, sugary foods over nutritious foods.
There is also a question of whether artificial sweeteners are actually safe for you to ingest in large quantities over time. The FDA has ruled out their risk as a carcinogen, but this study was done using very small amounts over a short period of time. Other studies have shown that there may be cancer risks when ingested in large quantities over long periods of time. They have also been shown to increase the risk of metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes.
Having large amounts of sugar in your diet isn’t good for you, but having some sugar from natural sources like fruit is totally fine. When the sugar comes in its natural form and includes other nutrients (such as fiber and vitamins), our bodies can digest it properly without negative effects if eaten in moderation. What’s really important is avoiding too much sugar, especially large quantities of added sugar and artificial sweeteners. So next time you see a product is sugar-free, check for any artificial sweeteners, it may be just as unhealthy for you as the sugar would’ve been.