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Which is better? Sugar or sugar substitutes?


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Knowing that some sugar substitutes may not be good for you, what do you think is bad or not so bad for you, including sugar and sugar substitutes? And why?

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Refined sugar is a fairly simple product. It's not good for you in large amounts, of course, so to have a healthy diet you're recommended to keep the sugar content (refined and natural) to below 50g a day. Sugar substitutes tend to be quite complicated by comparison and although they've been passed as safe by all kinds of authorities I don't think they've been around long enough to really judge.

In short..... if you want sweetness in your diet try to get it from natural sources and use all sweetners whether they be sugar or a substitute very, very sparingly.

OK. I've been drinking diet sodas for years. And adding substitutes to coffee. What do you drink when you want something besides water and what, if any, sweeteners do you put in them?

If you're only drinking one diet soda or one cup of coffee a day, it's probably no big deal. But what to drink otherwise?.... Artificial sweetners have only been around for the last 40 or so years and people managed pretty well before they appeared. You could try coffee without sugar (trust me it's much, much nicer!).... then there are all kinds of teas which you can flavour with slices of lemon or a little honey. Or fruit teas, of course, which are pretty sweet all by themselves. Sparkling water with a slice of lime is a more interesting drink than water out of the tap.

If you're on this site because you're overweight, and if you're overweight because you have a sweet tooth... then maybe the challenge is to find non-sweet foods and drinks? Retrain your taste-buds?

Yes, I'm overweight, but it's a bit difficult for me to get off an occasional diet soda or sweeteners for my coffee. I don't like artificial sweeteners in my cereal (uck!) but may try using a little sugar in my coffee. How do you feel about stevia?

Stevia's not approved for sale in Europe which is where I am so you'd have to read into that what you may.... Smile

Really try to ditch the sweet tooth. If you start with the coffee it'll taste terrible for about a week but if you persevere you'll quickly adjust. I did that when I was about 18 years old... used to have 2 teaspoons of sugar in coffee and one in tea!... and these days if you give me a cup of either with sugar in I have to spit it out because it tastes bloody awful.

Same with cereals... just eat them straight rather than adding sugar. Again, it'll take time to get used to the idea but you'll quickly adapt. People I know who have gone through this process of ditching sweetners and sugar tell me that after just one week they start to notice a difference, after two they don't get the same sugar cravings they used to and by the third week other foods (like carrots and tomatoes, for example) suddenly taste a lot sweeter than normal.

I personally think artificial sweeteners should be avoided. You can do a lot of research yourself but many studies have been done on the negative effects of artificial sweeteners. One side effect that almost all recent studies have found is weight gain. I don't eat a lot of real sugar but I allow two deserts a week and go for natural sugar. Otherwise I don't use anything sugar or artificial sweeteners. Try your coffee black. It takes a while to get use to it but now that is the only way I drink it. I don't put anything on my cereal. Just organic milk. Smile

http://www.womentowomen.com/healthyweight/spl enda.aspx

http://www.emaxhealth.com/11/586.html

I use milk to sweeten my coffee.

I would like to say that this discussion is helping me, ever so little but certainly making a change, to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, although I'm having a soda right now. Diet. But as I was coming home tonight I remembered the cheesecake we have in the freezer that some kind (?) soul gave us. I thought I might like to have a little piece but then I thought about the sugar and I thought it was poison so I decided to forego the cake. Meantime I've having the diet Coke, which is probably more poisonous than sugar, but I'm going to work on eliminating much of my soda drinking. And tomorrow I'm going to try having coffee with 2% milk, no sweetener. I hope I can take it. Black? No, I don't think I'm ready for that yet.

I drink diet soda, because I don't want to waste so many calories on a drink. I am trying to quit soda though. I've heard that consuming artificial sweeteners makes your body crave real sugar.

I do believe real sugar is better for you than artificial chemicals, so if I'm using sugar for anything else, I use the real stuff and just try not to use too much.

A few thoughts:

- avoiding all sugar after you have become used to it is the equivalent of going cold turkey. Sugar is a very addictive substance. Why not try and cut down a little more gradually? Halve the amount you use for a week or two; then halve again.

- unrefined sugars have similar calories but at least a little more nutrients. Try using raw sugar or molasses. Molasses is a source of iron.

- get your sweet fix from fruit. It contains fructose (fruit sugar) and plenty of nutrients and fibre.

- the odd sweet desert like cheesecake (yum!) is not going to hurt you. Food is for pleasure as well as sustenance. Just try and eat in moderation.

Sugar is immeasurably preferable!!  Obviously not ideal to subsist on sugar alone, but in moderate quantities, it's fine.  Certainly better to artificial sweeteners, many of which are suspected carcinogens - eeeeewwww.

Today I've had real sugar in my coffee. Well, at this point I think I don't like the coffee flavor or brand I'm using, but anyway, I'm existing with the sugar so far. Eh...but I might stick with it instead of Sweet & Low.

I used to drink at least 6 Diet Cokes a day and was hungry all the time, and gained weight.

I went cold turkey and gave up the Diet Coke a year and a half ago.  I drink green tea, club soda and tap water.  Coke, doesn't taste good to me anymore.

If I treat myself to a beverage nowadays I'll have a Cappucino (small) or a glass of all natural fresh-squeezed orange juice or a glass of champagne!  (Not every day of course, maybe once or twice a week)  It's a real treat!

I never use artificial sweetners. If I want sugar, I'm going to use the real thing! 

I also like to put honey in my coffee and tea. It's healthier than sugar, and it tastes quite good, as well! 

When I use sugar in my coffee, I use sugar in the raw. I don't like the white grainy sugar. 

From what I understand on the subject, both sugar and sugar substitutes should be used in moderation, as far as one over the other, it depends on what your goal is.

If your goal is to lose weight, sugar substitues are going to be more up your alley, of course.

If you are a clean eater and are trying to eat natural, it would be best to stick to sugar. If you are good at moderating then you may even be able to work a little sugar into your weight loss plan.

My best adice for you? Try not to stress the small stuff :)

Original Post by recovery_now:

From what I understand on the subject, both sugar and sugar substitutes should be used in moderation, as far as one over the other, it depends on what your goal is.

If your goal is to lose weight, sugar substitutes are going to be more up your alley, of course.

If you are a clean eater and are trying to eat natural, it would be best to stick to sugar. If you are good at moderating then you may even be able to work a little sugar into your weight loss plan.

My best adice for you? Try not to stress the small stuff :)

 Not necessarily. Studies have been done that link artificial sweeteners to weight gain. They are much worse for you than pure sugar. Not just because of weight gain but many other negative effects on your health.

 Best to eat real sugar in moderation and eliminate artificial sweeteners. As another poster suggested honey is another alternative. Honey is sweet and tasty and also has many health benefits.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/ 080210183902.htmhttp://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=427 1246&page=1http://www.womentowomen.com/healthyweight/spl enda.aspx

http://www.emaxhealth.com/11/586.html

I'm beginning to understand that sugar, honey, and the like are all metabolized very quickly by the body (that includes alcohol), and wreaks havoc on the body system. I did have sugar in my coffee for the most part during the day, I tried not to have too much. Later, though, I succumbed to artificial sweetener in another cup when I went to a fast food place, and now I'm having a diet soda. Oh well. I'll continue working on having less artificial sweetener, though, since I'd like to live a little longer.

Agree with all that has been said about natural sources ( I love black strap molasses in milk before bed...mmm, and it full of iron too). If animal-welfare concerns you, make sure the label on the honey jar tells you the origins of the honey (China for example exploits its bees, and douses them in antibiotics, fungicides, and other nasty stuff) and whether the honey is farmed with due concern for the indiginous wildlife (badger friendly and bear friendly honey, for example). You could also try Stevia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia

 

I drink diet sodas when I go out and used to drink 4-5 cans a day when I was living at my parents' house.  I put Splenda in my coffee and use it in recipes.  I don't think it's going to cause you any problems.

I hate that people when they think that they want a "lifestyle change" or just a diet, that they try to go with all natural stuff.  That's not the way it works for a normal person.  I think that's the way it works when you try to eat all natural stuff and then one day you just REALLY want a "few slices" of pizza and end up eating the entire thing, with sausage and pepperoni and extra cheese with cheese stuffed crust to top it off.  I personally eat "junk food", but I eat it sparingly.  I'll eat a bean & cheese burrito and I will be in love with that burrito the entire way through it, but the rest of the day I'll watch my calories very closely and always make sure I get the 500 calorie burrito, not the 1,000 calorie burrito.. then I'll top it off with some 200 calorie delicious chips and some delicious ultra hot salsa.

My advice is to have all the sugar substitute you want.  Don't stop enjoying life just because you want to be all healthy.  I mean, I believe that if you eat fruits and veggies and eat junk food sparingly, you're going to be okay.  Even if it means you have a few diet sodas and a cup of coffee and one serving of baked chips a day... I mean go for it.  People are may argue with me, but I've had many discussions about this with my mom, who knows just about everything about eating healthy after being diagnosed with the beginning stages of heart disease several years ago.  She also is an exercise instructor and the healthiest person I know.

Original Post by katesorad:

I drink diet sodas when I go out and used to drink 4-5 cans a day when I was living at my parents' house.  I put Splenda in my coffee and use it in recipes.  I don't think it's going to cause you any problems.

I hate that people when they think that they want a "lifestyle change" or just a diet, that they try to go with all natural stuff.  That's not the way it works for a normal person.  I think that's the way it works when you try to eat all natural stuff and then one day you just REALLY want a "few slices" of pizza and end up eating the entire thing, with sausage and pepperoni and extra cheese with cheese stuffed crust to top it off.  I personally eat "junk food", but I eat it sparingly.  I'll eat a bean & cheese burrito and I will be in love with that burrito the entire way through it, but the rest of the day I'll watch my calories very closely and always make sure I get the 500 calorie burrito, not the 1,000 calorie burrito.. then I'll top it off with some 200 calorie delicious chips and some delicious ultra hot salsa.

My advice is to have all the sugar substitute you want.  Don't stop enjoying life just because you want to be all healthy.  I mean, I believe that if you eat fruits and veggies and eat junk food sparingly, you're going to be okay.  Even if it means you have a few diet sodas and a cup of coffee and one serving of baked chips a day... I mean go for it.  People are may argue with me, but I've had many discussions about this with my mom, who knows just about everything about eating healthy after being diagnosed with the beginning stages of heart disease several years ago.  She also is an exercise instructor and the healthiest person I know.

Well, I have to agree with you, because anyway, I started taking sugar substitutes in my coffee again, also a soda or two a day. I am making small lifestyle changes, but frankly, like you, I am keeping my caloric intake down as much as humanly possible while still enjoying my food. That's the only way I can do it, and I'm doing it, although it is taking me some time. I thought about pizza tonight but decided I wasn't "ready" for it tonight, but it is definitely on my imaginative menu for a time coming up asap. :-) Thanks! for your insightful reply.

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