Most of us love something sweet to eat. It's a magical feeling when you're a kid. After dinner you get a scoop of ice cream and you feel like your whole life is completely perfect cause ice-cream is EVERYTHING! Or am I just exaggerating?
I can't remember what that felt like but I remember thinking it was absolutely amazing. Sure, dinner was good. But ice-cream was 1000 levels above other foods. I didn't crave it every single day and i knew how suggary it was but if mum served ice cream after dinner every night, I never would have complained.
Now sugar is one thing that we know is bad for us, but artifical sweeteners are on a whole other level.
You guys would have heard me mention on Instagram and Snapchat about how I hate artificial sweeteners. I cannot find myself supporting anyone who thinks using them as a "healthy alternative" to sugar is a good idea. The number of times I've been asked why and then had to explain isn't a problem, but perhaps this just makes it easier to understand my perspective on the matter.
Just like that magical feeling kids get, I'm sure as adults we still feel a little bit of magic when we eat dessert. I still love my occasional vegan desserts - coconut ice cream will always be a favourite!
But vegan or not, added sugar in these treats don't really do our bodies any good. As kids we know too much will give us cavities and "make us fat" and when you get older you realise there's much scarier things like the fact that sugar is basically useless since it has no essential nutrients, it could screw with your liver, bring you closer to diabetes and in extreme cases, it's even linked to cancer.
Am I saying refined sugar is pure evil? Well sugar is that friend you love but your parents say you shouldn't be hanging out with because they're a "bad influence".
Sugar is in nearly any box/pack/canned food item you are going to buy. Basically if it's some kind of processed food, it would be safe to assume there's added sugar somewhere in there.
It's not hard to find products labelled "low fat" "healthy" or even "sugar free" but whether or not they're completely healthy, you need to find out for yourself.
I'd prefer to live in a world where our sweet foods are naturally flavoured and do minimal harm to our bodies. But we've become to heavily reliant on sugar haven't we? We know refined sugar is not good for us yet we keep eating it and it's in so many products it's nearly impossible to avoid unless you make everything on your own.
At least more people seem to start caring everyday and start looking for alternatives
So what's the alternative to refined sugar? Artificial sweeteners!
Where is the logic with replacing a bad thing with something else that's equally, if not much worse than the original option?
I may not love sugar and i do avoid many processed food items because of it but I'd happily have my vegan ice cream with sugar than with an artificial sweetener as a substitute.
After all, everyone from your fave celeb to fitness "professionals" and even my own granddad uses artificial sweeteners instead of sugar these days. It's just better, you get the sweetness of sugar without adding all the calories. (and it's great for diabetics, right?) So why not use it?!
But everyone forgets to mention the other bits.
How artificial sweeteners are basically "calorie free" because they are so potent in sweetness that they require a small amount in calories to give you what you need in sweetness. That's why your diet sodas are still sweet with virtually no calories in them.
But it's no calories, isn't that a good thing?
Haven't we learned that nothing in this world comes that easy? So what's the catch?
Frankly there are a lot more negatives than positives when it comes to artificial sweeteners. And the one point everyone loves, that it's calorie free, doesn't automatically make it a better choice.
Just like sugar, I don't have to list all the negatives from small ones like weight gain to major ones like an increased risk in developing Type 2 Diabetes (though more research still needs to be done). I'm sure it's easy enough to do a google search yourself to find out everything it does to your body.
But the one thing about artificial sweeteners that really fucked me up is this:
They screw with your brain.
What I'm talking about isn't exactly the worst thing that could happen to someone but it's still pretty bad and something I know I never want to experience.
In short, because of how potent they are, long term use of artificial sweeteners may just affect your brain's pleasure response to sweetness.
These artificial sweeteners, depending on the brand used, can go from 180 to 600 times sweeter than sugar. And there are other artificial sweeteners like Neotame and Advantame which go up to 20,000 times sweeter than sugar. They're so potent which is why we get 0 calories for the amount of sweetness we need. After long term use, your brain might just get used to the sweetness of these artificial sweetners and not be so sensitive to the sweetness that comes from refined or natural sugar.
And what does this mean?
This means if you keep using artificial sweetners regularly in place of sugar, you might find that one day you won't be able to taste the sweetness in fruits or vegetables.
You can imagine eating apples, watermelon, carrots, pears etc. I absolutely love them all, now imagine biting into one and tasting just a tiny fraction of the sweetness you get now, if any at all.
whether or not this will happen to every single person, I don't know. But thankfully my paranoid self bothered reading some of the research behind artifical sweeteners after hearing so much about it. At least now I know.
I'd much rather eat that 100 calories in refined sugar, or make myself some nana ice cream that's sweetned only with the sugar from bananas or mangoes, than put any artificial sweeteners in my body.
But even then, if avoid adding sugar or artificial sweeteners into your food, there are many things, food and otherwise, that already have it added. So you can deal it the best way you know how (like many of us do) or find an alternative for yourself. Frankly I feel there's no need to stress over sugar and sweetness in every little thing you own, as long as you know what you're doing and feeding yourself 80% of the time there's not need to worry about some sweetness in your toothpaste or sugar in that cookie your grandma made.
It's not possible to be perfect, so make the best possible decision based on the information you have.
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