Sugar vs. The Fake Stuff

Sugar vs. The Fake Stuff

When counting calories, a lot of people don’t consider just how many calories come from adding a little bit of sugar to everyday items like coffee, tea, breakfast grapefruits, etc. We all love a little sweetener every now and then, but cutting down on the calories that come from real sugar can help you reach your weight loss goals even faster. There are several sugar alternatives that can still give you that same great, sweet taste but won’t leave you feeling guilty from reaching for the sweetener.

Aspartame

One of the most popular sweetener alternatives on the market today, aspartame has made a huge name for itself as a sugar substitute. Popular aspartame products include Equal, NutraSweet and Canderel and are sold in their basic forms in grocery stores every. Additionally, the different brands of aspartame are used in a wide variety of consumer products (i.e. diet sodas, sugar-free gum, juices, yogurt, and many more) as a sugar substitute to help reduce the calories in those products.

As incredibly popular as aspartame is as a sugar substitute, most of us would have to go out of our way to avoid consuming the artificial sweetener on a daily basis. Due to the fact that aspartame is artificially manufactured, there is some health concerns associated with the widespread consumption of the compound that is so prevalent today. Some studies have linked the fake sweetener with various different health issues. Even though the FDA has approved aspartame for consumption, a lot of people have looked for other sweetening alternatives to sugar, just to be on the safe side.

Stevia

Stevia is the only all-natural, zero calorie sugar substitute. This product comes from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America, also known as sweet leaf and sugarleaf. Locals to South America have been using the plant for its natural sweetness for years. Recently the sugar-like product has become incredibly popular around the world and has gained huge notoriety for pretty basic reasons: it’s sweeter than sugar, is not artificially manufactured, and naturally contains zero calories.

Today the product is available in most grocery stores, especially stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, etc., and is marketed under names such as Truvia, SweetLeaf, Rebiana, PureVia, and Only Sweet. With similar properties to real sugar, stevia sweetening products can be used to replace sugar in every way; from sweetening items like coffee to baking (just keep in mind that Stevia is much sweeter than regular sugar and will probably require less). Some companies are starting to use this sugar substitute in place of other substitutes like aspartame to create healthier, more natural, diet food options. For instance, Zevia brand soft drinks markets 7 different flavors of common soft drinks that are zero calorie and all natural to compete with diet soft drinks made with aspartame sweeteners.