Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners in Your Desserts and Drinks?

Saving calories on desserts isn't as easy as replacing that rich dessert you love with a sugar-free alternative. Many times the amount of calories you save isn't worth all the trouble found in sugar-free desserts. Here's the lowdown on why sugar-free desserts may do more harm than good.

Increasing Food Cravings

While many sweet desserts are blamed for causing food coma after a meal, going sugar-free doesn't solve this problem, nor does it leave you as satisfied. Sugar cravings are satisfied by sugar, sugar substitutes may leave you wanting. Despite giving in to a nutrient-poor sugar-free dessert, your craving for sugar will probably not be satisfied which could cause even more cravings. A just-released review by Purdue researcher Susan Swithers notes that artificial sweeteners do not trigger the reward center of the brain like sugar does. In addition, artificial sweeteners don’t trigger insulin response, which according to the author, “could impair energy and body weight regulation.” The results suggest this may cause more cravings and promote excess calorie intake to help “satisfy” the body’s need for energy from food.

Impacting Taste 
Sugar substitutes alter the taste of desserts made with real sugar, but even if you get past the difference in taste of artificial sweeteners, your body does not. In fact, the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners may alter the body’s ability to “recognize” sweet tastes from a metabolic standpoint. That means your “taste” for sweet things may not work as well after continued consumption of zero-calorie sweeteners. This could support excess caloric intake, which, if left unchecked, could contribute to weight gain. So, while artificial sweeteners have been proven to lower caloric intake initially, over time, they may have an adverse affect.

Saving Calories?
If you think that going sugar-free will save you a significant amount of calories, you may be wrong. Portion size is king but when you compare sugar-free versions of familiar desserts, you may find that the calories saved are not worth it. For example, the calorie difference between regular and sugar-free Oreos is 7 calories per serving. Hershey’s Special Dark Sugar-Free version saves about 40 calories from the regular version, but note it’s a slightly smaller serving. From brownies to flavored oatmeal, the same is true, sugar-free options may save some calories, but there’s no real drastic calorie save overall.

Reducing Artificial Sweeteners in Your Diet
Lowering the amount of artificial sweeteners takes the same strategies as lowering your sugar intake. Here are three tips to help you cutback on artificial sweeteners:
Add Fiber: Instead of trying to find comparable sugar-free replacements for decadent desserts, add fresh fruit to add sweetness. 
Switch to Whole Grains: Many desserts are made with refined grains, but adding whole grains to items like cookies or pancakes satisfies your hunger better, and gives you more vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids than refined grains.
Add Healthy Fats: Many products with artificial sweeteners have added fat to maintain taste. Instead of the butter, cream, and margarine used for desserts, add healthy fats such as avocado, nut butter, or olive oil where appropriate.

Your thoughts…

Do you use artificial sweeteners in your diet? Why or why not?

By +Carolyn Richardson on Jul 16, 2013 10:00 AM in Healthy Eating

Read more: Is Sugar-Free Dessert Better for You? http://caloriecount.about.com/sugar-free-dessert-better-you-b610356#ixzz2ZDyiblHe

Read more: Is Sugar-Free Dessert Better for You? http://caloriecount.about.com/sugar-free-dessert-better-you-b610356#ixzz2ZDy5rXFK

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