So, last week we discussed the facts about sugar and this week we're taking the knowledge a step further. This is the sugar vs sweeteners debate. To be quite honest, we still don't know what is best ourselves and you can see for yourself why.
(Image credit: Food Navigator)
So, you're probably thinking 'what is the difference between pure sugar and a sweetener?'. Sugar is an easily metabolised carbohydrate and a sweetener is an additive that we add to foods for a sweeter effect. Sugar does not require authentication but sweeteners need to be approved by a specific body or the EU. Sugar is calorific but sweeteners tend to be zero calories. While sugar is a natural product, sweeteners can be either natural or artificial.
When it comes to dental health, sugar is the scientifically proven cause of tooth decay. However, chemical sweeteners have no proven link with tooth decay and some sweetened gum can even help repair tooth enamel.
Stevia which is an extract from the stevia plant has become very popular throughout the past few years when it comes to looking for a natural sweetener. It is calorie free and shockingly 200/300 times sweeter than sugar itself. It's deemed as safe but the evidence is coming forward which state that it may have an impact on fertility. Sweeteners have the capability of stimulating the taste buds which send messages to the brain and can affect hormones along with slowing down metabolism. Both sugar and sweeteners are addictive but sweeteners may be more likely to make someone hungry and eat more.
The harsh reality
There is a side to sweeteners which isn't so sweet. There's a debate which suggests that artificial sweeteners can still lead to weight gain because it stimulates the body to produce insulin which causes the body to store calories as fat. This, of course, can lead to conditions such as diabetes. When researching into the subject, there are a lot of debates and conflicting opinions but the bottom line is that limiting the intake of sugar and fructose is one of the smartest ways to protect long-term health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. This includes eating Gookie Dough in moderation and as a treat (even though it may be extremely tempting to eat the whole tub).