Browse By

Sweeteners, friends or enemies? We tell you everything you should know about these additives

Sugar, saccharin or stevia are accepted in our daily lives, so much so that in any bar in Spain when you order a coffee they will bring it directly to you. sugars along with saccharin.

Everyone knows that the sugar It causes great damage to our health. But what about the sweeteners? Why are they so accepted? Which ones should we consume and which ones should we completely eradicate from our lives? I answer these questions and some more.

First of all, I would like to comment on something obvious that, like common sense, is the least common of the senses, perhaps it is not so obvious and you have not stopped to question it. Sweeteners cover flavors, They mask them, they transform them.

Why do we eat things masking their taste? Why do you eat foods you don’t like and still insist on eating them?

That being said, let’s start with the sweeteners.

Sweeteners, friends or enemies?

Cristina Barrous

They are all the same?

Sweeteners are food additives (substances we add to food) to make it sweeter. Broadly speaking, we can classify them into caloric and non-caloric and in natural and artificial.

As always, everything that is natural will interest us more for the simple fact that our body is prepared for it.

Just as our body is not designed to eat protein pills and boiled eggs, it happens that we receive and digest them better. natural sweeteners.

Natural sweeteners are those that come from a plant: sugar cane, beets and stevia are the most typical.

But the industry has been in charge of transforming them to ensure that these natural sweeteners last longer and longer on the supermarket shelf and produce more satisfaction.

On the other hand, chemical sweeteners will always cause inflammation in our body. Saccharin (aspartame), xylitol or maltitol are indigestiblethey make our digestion difficult and produce (a lot of) gases.

Don’t sweeteners make you fat?

In the 90s there was a boom of the products Light, where we bought the (absurd) idea that we could continue drinking and eating lthe same products, but with fewer calories and that this way we would ensure that they did not make us fat.

But it was not until 2006 that the use of the word was regulated Lightwhere it was established that to use this term the product had to have a 30% less calories with respect to the original.

But be careful, don’t let them give you Light for healthy.

In most cases (most is a euphemism, because it is always) the use of this word implies that, indeed, They have fewer calories, but not that they are better. Instead of caloric sweeteners, other non-caloric sweeteners are used but are just as harmful to the body.

Furthermore, studies have shown that although the sweetener has no calories, our pancreas and intestine have receptors for sweet taste. In other words, although it is low in calories, it activates the same systems as sugar, and causes us to produce more fat!

So what sweetener do I use?

Starting from the beginning, let it be stated in the record that the ideal would be not to use any sweetener, in order not to cover up flavors, practice a more conscious diet and give our body what it is designed for.

But I have made a list of some sweeteners (the best known) and I have rated them with how ‘good’ (knowing that none of them are) they are for our health.

Saccharin. 0/10

Without a doubt one of the worst sweeteners we can find and unfortunately one of the most used. Studies show how the consumption of this sweetener increases the probability of developing cancer cells. It should get out of your life if you continue to consume it.

White or brown sugar. 3/10

Brown sugar is a less refined white sugar. Same origin, but the machine stopped a little earlier. This creates a small nuance in the brown and preserves some lost vitamins and gives it a little more flavor. Between you and me, it’s nonsense to sell you sugar in another format: the calories and the damage are the same.

Panela. 5/10

Panela is to brown sugar what brown sugar is to white. It is a sugar that comes from cane and is less refined than brown sugar. This does not imply that it is “healthy”, only that it is less processed and, therefore, retains properties of the original plant such as some vitamins and minerals.

Honey. 7/10

Although it is a highly caloric sweetener, I like it because it is of natural origin. A good, unrefined honey (the kind that is hard in the bottle) can soften our throat and add that sweet touch occasionally. Be careful, just because it is natural does not mean that it is healthy for our health, but without a doubt our body will be able to digest it better. Attention: you gain weight just the same.

Stevia. 10/10

It is the option that I like the most because it is easy to get zero processed stevia, and with a very small amount we will be able to sweeten our coffee. The ideal is to use the dried and powdered plant, you can buy it at herbalists or online.

Know how to enjoy

My opinion as nutrition professional The thing is that having a sweet from time to time is not harmful; The really bad thing is getting into the habit of consuming artificially sweet foods in our daily lives that are harming us inside and out.

I don’t understand the alternatives healthy classic pastries as something truly healthy, but as a way to trick ourselves into eating something we really like.

From my point of view you have to know how to enjoy from time to time a good dessert that, although it is not the best for your digestion or your weight, can provide us with a moment of great satisfaction.

Follow the topics that interest you