There is no doubt that the abuse of table sugar and sugared products can quickly lead to problems with health and excessive body weight. For many years, we have been looking for an alternative to popular sucrose, which would have its advantages (sweet taste), and whose consumption would not bring negative consequences.
For some time now, synthetic and natural substances called circulatory sweeteners have been growing in popularity, the most popular of which are aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sodium saccharin, sucralose, and more recently also xylitol and stevia. Unfortunately, more and more often talk about the potential risks associated with their consumption, which according to selected sources can be even greater than those resulting from the use of sugar.
Countless contradictory data often creates a kind of chaos, and in the informational noise it is difficult to make unambiguous conclusions. Therefore, in this article I will try to answer the question about what drinks are best sweetened, and I will also refer to several popular circulating theories regarding the health consequences of using sugar and other sweeteners.
A lot is said about the fact that sugar is needed for us to function properly, it is mentioned that it adds energy, improves brain function etc. Of course, the nervous system requires constant delivery of certain doses of glucose, but it does not mean that it will work better if we will sweeten more. In fact, the daily demand of the brain for glucose can be fully satisfied by eating a solid bowl of oatmeal with fruit for breakfast, and in the next meals without consuming carbohydrates anymore! And if necessary, the body is able to produce an additional portion of sugar from non-sugar sources in a process called gluconeogenesis. The situation is similar in the case of physical effort. A sweet candy bar can give us energy during a long-lasting effort such as running a marathon, and a walk in the park or a half-hour walk are no indication to consume extra carbohydrate doses, especially in refined form!
The fact is that refined sugars hidden under the names such as sucrose, glucose-fructose syrup, as well as glucose itself and – considered to be dietetic – fructose are definitely undesirable components of our diet. Their regular consumption may lead to disturbances in insulin-glucose and lipid metabolism and dysregulation of mechanisms responsible for the control of appetite. As a result, we are more hungry, eat more and more often we feel like low-quality products, and also easier to succumb to culinary temptations. The result is not only the increase in body fat leading to overweight and obesity, but also an increased risk of diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, gout or some forms of cancer!
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