Sugar Rush: Real Vs. Artificial Sweeteners

            "Can I have a medium ice-coffee with vanilla, skim-milk and sugar please?" Ahhh the classic morning coffee run that has snuck into your schedule just before that 9AM class. But before the aroma of that sweet morning brew hits your nose, do you ever wonder what's really inside of that mug? Artificial sweeteners? A scoop or two of real sugar? Whatever the answer may be, it's time to uncover the truth behind that sugar rush!

Wait, but before digging deep into the realm of artificial sweeteners, what really is sugar anyway? Your regular, basic sugar (or sucrose) is a natural carbohydrate that can be found in fruits and veggies due to that age-old biology process of the transformation of the sun's energy into food. Carbohydrates are an important aspect to include in a diet, as they are the main energy source for the body. But carbohydrates in the form of sugar can become a dangerous thing when pushed past the point of moderation. This is due to the concentration in sugar being very high. So while regular sugar has only about 15 calories per teaspoon, it can add up when being used in excess.

 

            With all this considered about real, natural sugar, it's easy to reach for that artificial sweetener that screams "all the same sweetness without all the calories!" But what's the deal with this sugar substitute anyway? Well, first off let's be real. That pink, blue or yellow sugar packet you reach for won't do you any serious harm. But, it's important to note that study after study has shown that the use of artificial sweeteners do not tend to have any strong, sound weight-loss benefits. In fact, studies from Harvard Medical School have shown just the opposite. When you offer your body a sweet drink without any of the calories, you tend to crave real sugar ever more, making it easier to overeat.

So what’s the bottom line here? Well, many nutritionists agree that while reaching for an artificial sweetener packet every once in awhile won't do your body much harm, the calories you save in choosing to go the ~fake~ route won't help with curbing your appetite or increasing the likelihood of weight-loss in the long run. Instead, if you just need that extra dash of sweetness to help you get through the day, it's probably a safe bet to keep it simple and go with the real sugar option.

 

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