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sugar-free and no-sugar added, vs. the REAL THING =)


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hi everyone,

I'm just curious to know, what are your opinions on items that are sugar-free/no sugar added,  vs. the regular item with the regular sugar?

I just ask because, on one hand I feel like there must be some benefit to this, especially for people who have diabetes...but on the other hand, I see a lot of disadvantages because for one thing...it can't be very healthy to consume all these artificial ingredients, right? I mean usually when I look at sugar-free things, half the ingredients are totally unpronouncable!!

And is there any evidence-based research supporting the claims that sugar substitutes are indeed carcinogenic?

Lastly, I'm very confused on why sugar-free things actually taste a LOT sweeter than original items with the original sugar. It strikes me as rather counter-intuitive.

And sometimes, the opposite occurs; there's simply NO taste to the sugar-free item at all.

For example, today I was with a friend at Starbucks and she ordered one of those frappe drinks that was sugar-free, swearing that it tasted no different. Well I tried it and I thought there was a HUGE difference, there was no taste at all! Whereas, my 'regular' frappe was more pleasing to my palate, personally speaking...

I'd love to get more perspective, advice and opinions on this. Thanks =)

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I just want to say that sugar-free is not the same as no sugar added. To me sugar-free usually means it is replaced with artificial sweeteners. This also explains that sometimes they are sweeter then original item. The no sugar added is when sweetness comes from natural sugars in the product. An example of that are fruit preserves. The "sugar" comes from actual fruit.

UD

My view is that both sugar and artificial sweetners should be used very, very sparingly.  Excessive sugar in the diet is unhealthy.  Excessive sweetners in the diet (I think) is also unhealthy.

 

Nothing's been proven yet on sweeteners, but "yet" is really the thing there.  I used to avoid sweeteners like the plague because I was misled about the amount of real evidence about them, but now I'm all over them.  (I took stats and research methods and actually learned something about scientific studies haha, that's what college will do to you.)

 

See, just for kicks, the other day I had a full-fat normal frappuccino from Starbucks... and it was sickeningly sweet.  I could feel the fat on my tongue... I was literally grossed out and threw half away.  It's just a matter of what you get used to.  The same thing happens to me with regular soda now, too.

I dislike artificial sweeteners and think non-diet products taste a lot better so I'm satisfied with less... instead of not satisfied at all.

That said I think a lot of people are way too accustomed to eating very sweet products all the time, to the point where even savoury items like sauces and breads often have added sugar. I avoid this kind of added sugar by buying real bread, eating yoghurt plain, making my own sauces etc - and this way I save sugar for something really worth eating.

Original Post by biscotti_e_panna:

hi everyone,

I'm just curious to know, what are your opinions on items that are sugar-free/no sugar added,  vs. the regular item with the regular sugar?

I just ask because, on one hand I feel like there must be some benefit to this, especially for people who have diabetes...but on the other hand, I see a lot of disadvantages because for one thing...it can't be very healthy to consume all these artificial ingredients, right? I mean usually when I look at sugar-free things, half the ingredients are totally unpronouncable!!

And is there any evidence-based research supporting the claims that sugar substitutes are indeed carcinogenic?

Lastly, I'm very confused on why sugar-free things actually taste a LOT sweeter than original items with the original sugar. It strikes me as rather counter-intuitive.

And sometimes, the opposite occurs; there's simply NO taste to the sugar-free item at all.

For example, today I was with a friend at Starbucks and she ordered one of those frappe drinks that was sugar-free, swearing that it tasted no different. Well I tried it and I thought there was a HUGE difference, there was no taste at all! Whereas, my 'regular' frappe was more pleasing to my palate, personally speaking...

I'd love to get more perspective, advice and opinions on this. Thanks =)

 

 There is nothing good or healthy about artificial sweeteners. Sugar free and no sugar added are usually two different things. Sugar free usually means that artificial sweeteners are added. No sugar added usually means no additional sugar or artificial sweeteners have been added. I avoid artificial sweeteners. I choose natural, organic products when I can. If I am going to eat desert which I do twice a week I just eat a normal desert with natural sugar.

A lot of times sugar free items are made with sugar alcohol which I would avoid at all costs. It wrecks havoc on your intestines and the side effects are not pretty.

I, and all the women in my family, get headaches from artificial sweeteners so I avoid them altogether. I don't think it means that they're awful or bad for you but I just have a bad reaction to them. Also, I actually don't like very sweet things and I agree with you that artificial sweeteners often taste excessively sweet to me and it will result in my not even eating/drinking whatever it's in. In general, I'm on the side of flavor. I use real sugar (and butter too) but I use them sparingly and I keep track of them in food diary to make sure I'm not underestimating my intake.

As a former MAJOR Diet Coke addict for 20 yrs ( I don't drink coffee, so I would typically drink 2 in the morning and often a couple more throughout the day), I tried to block out the warning rumblings of aspartame for years.  (I also used to eat a lot of 'fat free' yogurt and often selected fat free desert options w/ artificial sweetners when buying the occasional sweet.)

Well, then out of nowhere I started to experience incredible joint pain - I could barely walk in the morning, would almost cry coming down the steps, was hard to wear work shoes, had trouble holding pens correctly - -I felt like an 90 year old woman as opposed to healthy/37yr. old - just chronic horrible joint pain. My doctor was alarmed and immediately tested me for a variety of diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.  I was certain it was lupus - my symptoms matched so closely, minus the rash. Well, much to both of our surprise, all results came back perfectly fine.  Obviously I was happy, but we were baffled and it was just getting worse and worse and impacting life and work. A few months later I heard a full story on NPR about the history of aspartame (I'll just throw out there that Don Rumsfeld was a big player back when he was in the private sector, need I say more....), and addressed the problem of how the medical field believes its one of those chemicals that can mimic or aggravate a lot of symptoms to diseases, but its hard to directly prove its the cause of any one thing.

I immediately went home and googled aspartame+joint pain - and got over 30K results, and starting reading everything possible. Scary scary scary. Basically aspartame converts to formaldehyde ...the stuff they using for embalming dead bodies. Yum.

Its amazing how it has snuck into nearly everything - including many children's vitamins (under a different name), most gums, etc.

So after about 4-5 months of this mystery, I was desperate to try anything and  I immediately stopped drinking my beloved Diet Cokes (seriously, you can equate it to giving up cigarettes). Within a few weeks my excruciating joint pain decreased by about 50%, and within about 2 months it was completely gone. Now granted, I can never PROVE the connection, but it matched the experiences of many people I saw online. And since I started talking about it openly with people, I have lost track of how many similar stories I have heard. A friend's coworker actually started using a cane and was beginning to use a wheelchair (after 10 years of pain and repeatedly clean tests for any disease)...she started to hear of the aspartame issues as well and quit cold turkey. She saw a dramatic improvement immediately and now was running around and playing with her kids after the previous 10 years of being totally restricted in activity.

So I don't have any medical proof, just my own experience and many stories once I got talking to people. But I no longer touch anything with an artificial sweetner and have experienced no joint pains since. If I want something sweet, I just save up my calories or have a tiny serving of the real stuff.

 

#9  
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Mostly what everyone else has said.

No sugar added to me usually means that whatever the product is has a fair amount of sugar naturally. So you might see this on applesauce, yogurt, juice - I associate it with things made with fruit, and am usually happy to consume it if it's a food I eat anyway (I'm not a big juice drinker).

Sugar-free could have one of a number of artificial sweeteners. I'm not dead-set against them, as I occasionally drink diet soda, but there's a lot of anecdotal evidence that they can have unpleasant side effects, and some people seem to be particularly sensitive. In any case, I don't like to overindulge in them. Generally I don't like the way artificial sweeteners taste (the diet soda being the exception), and I assume that if something has fake sugar in it, whatever it is isn't something that's doing me much good anyway. I am not a sugar-free eater - I like it too much, and I'm able (finally) to control myself so that I don't binge on it. In just about every case, I'd rather have a little of the real thing than a lot of the substitute.

As for the evidence - it's mixed, as far as I know. The sugar industry has just as much of an interest in proving that their product is better for you as do companies promoting alternatives (who are of course all competing against each other, too). A number of the studies that seemed to show carcinogenic effects featured megadoses - much more than you could reasonably consume in food products. www.cancer.gov has a fact sheet about cancer and artificial sweeteners that lists references - if you wanted to read up, there's a place to start.

Finally, many artificial sweeteners are perceived by the taste buds as much more sweet than sucrose. Not all sugars taste the same, for that matter. Lactose is still a sugar, but it just barely tastes sweet by itself. Stevia, an herb, tastes many times sweeter than sugar (by weight, I'm assuming this is - I haven't done a whole lot of research into it).

In short, I'd decide for yourself, but avoiding artificial sweeteners probably means you'll eat more real foods, and it's a lot easier to get your vitamins, minerals and fiber by eating fruits and veggies instead of sugar-free candy.

Sugar free generally means the stuff has gone through multiple surgeries to replace the natural sugars with weird sweeteners. No sugar added means it is sweetened by whatever was already in it, if that makes sense... Like no sugar added apple sauce would be sweetened by the apples. My policy is if you want something sweet you may as well get real sugar; the sweeteners are probably worse for you anyway. ._.

Original Post by aprilmay4482:

A lot of times sugar free items are made with sugar alcohol which I would avoid at all costs. It wrecks havoc on your intestines and the side effects are not pretty.

1 pack of sugar free twizzlers one day gave me the wost few hours of my life stuck in the washroom. My god. I can look back and only laugh at my mistake.

I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and I really have to watch my carbs, so I opt for the occasional sugar-free item so as to avoid blood sugar spurts and needing to take more insulin.

My body doesn't react well to sucralose (Splenda) or Stevia or Agave, so that leaves me with aspartame and saccharine. And I try to be really careful with sugar alcohols, too.

Unless someone is in a similar situation, I can't imagine why they'd want to eat a lot of sugar-free stuff for a variety of reasons.

If the item I want to consume has a sugar free version with a significantly less amount of calories (Chocolate syrup, coke, yogurt, juices etc) ill go with the sugar free version, like another posted mentioned I have yet to come across exact evidence linking health problems to moderate intake.

As for SF muffins, cookies and other baked good, I think they are great for diabetics who need to monitor their blood glucose levels, but usually they add extra fat or sugar alcohols and the calorie content ends up being about the same as the regular version.

The only "regular" sugar I tend to consume is the naturally occuring ones in fruits and dairy products.

I guess to sum up my answer i'll look at the whole food picture and if I can save some calories ill go that route by going Sugar free.

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