Sugar substitutes: all there is to know about them

Sugar substitutes

The diseases and complications of health that we live have caused that the consumption of sugar is being reduced considerably, nevertheless, it still cannot be seen a real impact at the worldwide level. According to the American Heart Association, thousands of deaths caused by cancer, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems are directly linked to drinks or foods rich in sugar. For this reason, sugar substitutes are considered as an attractive alternative for those who like to consume very sweet foods.

The History of Sugar Substitutes

The use of sugar substitutes dates back to 1800 when saccharin was discovered, although its heyday occurred during the World Wars due to the lack of sugar production. Years later, in the decade of 1960 began to commercialize drinks and foods free of sugar. This was due to the fact that weight control clinics became more common.

From this moment, the population became aware of its role in their health and new substitutes for sugar appeared. Saccharin (200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar) remained the only option until 1981 when aspartame (200 times sweeter than sugar) became the preferred sweetener of more than 6,000 foods and beverages with the approval of The FDA.

Do sugar substitutes really help us lose weight?

There is a popular belief that sugar substitutes will reduce calories and facilitate weight loss. Therefore, they have conducted studies that compared weight loss among those who used sweetened with sugar substitutes who consumed products and sugar normal and showed that the difference is hardly noticeable between groups RTB or. However, it was determined that those who consumed sugar substitutes after losing weight were able to maintain themselves.

Do not go with the sugar substitute

One of the big questions around sugar substitutes is the amount we can take. According to the FDA, acceptable amounts in a day are equivalent to:

  • 18 cans of diet soda sweetened with aspartame.
  • 10 sachets of saccharin.
  • 31 cans of diet soda sweetened with acesulfame-k.
  • 6 cans of diet soda sweetened with sucralose.

Although these are the amounts that the FDA determines as healthy, nutritionists and doctors agree that it is common for people to substitute healthy foods with diet foods. This is a problem because healthy substitutions are not always made. For example, changing a normal yogurt to a light one is a good alternative, but it is not changing a normal soda to a light one. This is because the body continues to receive empty calories that do not bring anything positive.

In addition, it has been proven that those who consume a large quantity of sugar-free drinks tend to increase their consumption, making it difficult to lose weight. The most common cause is that adding any sugar substitute to a product without nutritional content (such as water or soda) increases hunger.

Who should avoid sugar substitutes?

Although foods that contain sugar substitutes are often considered safe, doctors recommend that pregnant women and children limit their use. It would be appropriate to take natural foods, such as natural water or fresh juice.

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People with phenylketonuria should avoid any product containing aspartame as it contains phenylalanine. Phenylketonuria is a genetic disorder that prevents the body from synthesizing phenylalanine, which can lead to serious brain problems.

Natural alternatives!


It is a natural sweetener very low in calories and increasingly popular. It is a derivative of the plant of the same name, which has been used as a sweetener and natural remedy for several centuries in South America. One of the main advantages of stevia is that it does not contribute calories despite being very sweet.

In addition, it has been determined that this substitute lowers blood pressure between 6 and 14% when elevated and does not affect it in the slightest when it is normal. This characteristic is repeated with blood sugar levels, which have to decrease considerably in diabetic people. The only problem with stevia is that its taste may be unpleasant, so you have to look for the perfect choice for everyone.


This substitute is a sweetening alcohol found in certain fruits, from which it is extracted through an industrial process. Each gram contributes 0.24 calories, equivalent to 6% of the calories contained in the sugar. Erythritol does not promote blood glucose or insulin spikes, nor does it affect cholesterol or triglyceride levels. This substitute is absorbed naturally by the intestine and excreted by the kidneys.

Your consumption should be moderate as it can cause digestive upset.

For many people, sugar substitutes are an excellent alternative and although they can be of great help, the ideal is to consume them in moderate amounts (like everything else …)

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