Sugar Vs. Sweetener Substitutes: The Good & Bad

ingredient label with lots of sugarWhen it comes to our favorite drinks, whether in the form of a latte, a piping hot cup of tea, or a delicious cocktail, you may be surprised how that calorie (and sugar) count spikes in the presence of artificial sweeteners, high-fructose syrup or even honey. Which begs the question: is one healthier than the other?

To help you decide, here’s the real deal on sweeteners and 5 healthier substitutions.

Sugar or Substitute?

While research shows that sugar may lead to tooth decay, obesity or worse, Americans consume 165 pounds of added sugar each year, author of Feed the Belly, Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, recently told Health magazine.

Facts About Artificial Sweeteners 

Found in soft drinks, gelatins, bubble gum frozen desserts, cereal, yogurt, tea, even cough drops, among other things, artificial sweeteners have absolutely no nutritional value.

Popular brands include: Sunett, Sweet One, Equal, Nutrasweet, Truvia, Sweet’N Low, Agave nectar, and Splenda.

Agave is sweeter than sugar but contains more fructose than table sugar. In other words, it’s more likely to reduce your metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

While approved by the FDA, World Health Organization, and the American Dietetic Association – claiming that in moderation these sweeteners pose no threat. The CSPI gave artificial flavorings containing Aspartame, aka Equal and Nutrasweet their lowest ranking (food additives) stating their belief that users are at risk of weight gain or worse, cancer.

When it comes to HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) some studies found that beverages sweetened with the food additive contributed to obesity.