Sugar, particularly refined sugar, is present in a large amount of the foods we consume regularly.
“Refined” refers to a chemical process that sugar goes through to remove impurities and, consequently, happens to remove beneficial nutrients. Too much refined sugar can lead to many health problems, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Cutting back on sugar is a part of a healthy lifestyle. You may consider replacing refined sugar with sugar substitutes, but it can be confusing to navigate your options and make a healthy choice.
Here are two of the best sugar substitutes you can use to swap out refined sugars:
Natural sweeteners are thought to be healthier than table sugar or other sugar substitutes because they are less processed. However, the vitamin and mineral content in natural sweeteners are not significantly different than regular sugar.
Natural sweeteners have a high caloric value but are more slowly absorbed and metabolized in the body leading to lower and slower rise in blood sugar. As such, natural sweeteners are good for individuals with diabetes, but not so much for weight loss and dieting.
- Fruit juices and nectars
- Maple syrup
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar alternatives that may be made from naturally occurring substances. While they aren’t the healthiest sugar option, they are an attractive alternative to refined sugar because they do not add any extra calories to the diet and are generally much sweeter than regular sugar. A little goes a long way with artificial sweeteners. However, be cautious when using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar.
Look out for the following terms that are different ways of saying refined sugar:
- Words ending with the suffix “-ose” such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose dextrose, lactose
- High fructose corn syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Cane crystals
- Corn sweetener
Consider making a habit of checking food labels for hidden refined sugars where you might not expect it, such as condiments, pasta sauces, breakfast cereals, and crackers to name a few.
Your chiropractor is educated in basic nutrition when it comes to inflammation. Sugar is one common source of inflammation in the body, which can contribute to existing muscle or joint pain. Talk to your local chiropractor for more information about how your diet can be impacting your spine, muscle, or nervous system and to learn more about how you can manage your sugar intake.
Resources Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes. Mayo Clinic Website. 2018. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936. Accessed January 8, 2018