Which Sweetener is Better for You?
Shout out to Kelly Lanyon, friend and super hair stylist, for launching this question on Facebook.
You need your coffee a little sweet. Which sweetener do you grab? Real sugar? The Splenda? The Stevia?
Put Splenda with NutraSweet and Saccharin: Artificial Sweeteners
What’s Splenda? Splenda is sucralose: a synthetic chemical made in a five-step laboratory process where three chlorine molecules are added to a sucrose or sugar molecule.
The chemical process to make sucralose alters the chemical composition of the sugar. This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature so your body doesn’t know how to metabolize it.
What happens to it? How much of this chlorine chemical does your body metabolize? On average about 15%, but some people absorb all of it. Ouch!
Even though Splenda has been approved by the FDA those concerned point out that no studies have been conducted on humans. A study conducted by Duke University shows that Splenda alters gut microflora, a key ingredient for digestive health and overall immune system support.
Is Splenda Safe?
Honestly, we don’t know yet, but here’s some info on side effects. Time will tell.
My take? I only eat real food the body recognizes. Sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin fall outside that category. Man-made synthetic items tend to turn into sources of illness, carcinogens, and other self-created problems.
What’s more important? A quick taste fix that real foods can satisfy or your long term health?
Stevia: Plant Based, 3x Sweeter than Sugar
An herb native to South America, Stevia comes from the leaf of the Stevia plant. No calories, no effect on blood sugar, 100% natural, and a real food the body recognizes, Stevia offers a great sweetener alternative, especially for diabetics and anyone sensitive to sugar.
The cons? Some think it has an odd after taste, which may come from its ultra sweetness. I find it’s stronger when it’s cooked, heated, or used in baking. I like Stevia better in drinks. Great coffee option.
What to look for? The Mayo Clinic wrote a clear explanation of safe refined Stevia products. Basically, look for Truvia and FDA approved brands that have highly refined the Stevia leaf – this makes it safe to consume.
What’s So Bad About Sugar?
It’s not all bad. It’s still a real food. But –
- It’s still 15 calories per teaspoon
- It makes your blood sugar spike and crash
- It causes weight gain when you don’t burn it
If you HAVE TO HAVE IT in your coffee, at least switch to a lower glycemic sugar like agave nectar, raw honey, or maple syrup. All 3 are sweeter than sugar so you need less and they won’t cause the same sugar spike in blood levels.
If you need a refresher on sugar, go back to my earlier blog post, Sugar: Are All Kinds Created Equal?