Natural sweeteners

We do know that sugars are bad for the waistline. They lead to obesity and health issues. Due to this, artificial sweeteners entered our daily diet. But studies have linked certain artificial sweeteners with a heightened risk of cancer. Does that imply we cannot have sweet foods and drinks without feelings of fear and guilt? Not necessarily. Because there are some natural sweeteners that one can opt for and continue to enjoy our desserts, sweet snacks and drinks. Here is the list of those available in the market.

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Sugars and sweets

We all know that sugars are refined carbs and can cause a lot of health problems. They have calories in them and hence can cause an increase in weight. This causes overweight and obesity. Moreover, the sugars lead to high blood sugar spikes. These cause type 2 diabetes. And in the long run cause problems to the heart and blood vessels.

Natural sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners (Source: HealthXchange)

Sugars also lead to body inflammation. They are bad for gut health and brain health too. A recent study has linked fructose of sugar to Alzheimer’s disease. But we also know that sweet foods are tasty. One cannot resist the temptation to have them. They give us an instant energy boost and elevate our moods. And most of these are also our comfort foods. But they also cause a crash and fatigue after the initial energy boost.

Artificial sweeteners

A number of artificial sweeteners came in the market due to the above sugar-related issues . This was mainly to help diabetics enjoy sweet foods with no blood sugar spikes. These had zero calories and hence did not cause weight gain.

The earliest artificial sweetener was saccharine. It has several times higher sweetness than sugar but gives a bitter aftertaste. More discoveries took place. And aspartame, sucralose, and acesulfame-K came into existence. The trade names were Equal or Nutrasweet, AKA Splenda, and Sunett® and Sweet One® respectively.

Natural sweeteners
Monk fruit (Source: Healthline)

But the initial elation of the discovery was blunted when reports started pouring in that they could cause raised cancer risk. The reputed medical journal, PLOS Medicine published a study in 2022 that showed that these artificial sweeteners can increase cancer risk. This was especially true with Aspartame and acesulfame-K.

Does that mean that diabetics cannot have sweet things life-long? No because there are some zero -calories natural sweeteners as well now available that could help them.

Zero-calories natural sweeteners

These, until now, have not shown to raise risk of cancer in users. And the two main ones are monk fruit and Stevia

Monk fruit is a vine from China. Its other name is luo han guo. It measures like the regular sugar and one can baje and cook with it. It comes in raw form, as a solid as well as a liquid.

While stevia comes from the plant, stevia rebaudiana bertoni. Its second name is candy plant. It also comes in raw form, as powdered sprinkler, or as liquid drops.

Natural sweeteners
Natural sweeteners (Source: Integrated health solution)

Also, read Luo Han Guo or Monk fruit: health benefits, uses and risks!

Try this to enjoy your drinks, foods and desserts safely and fearlessly with no feelings of guilt.