With the broadcasted negative information on sugar, drinks companies having increasingly supplied alternative options to sugar filled drinks, by using artificial sweeteners.
Although some of the evidence is controversial, Harvard Medical School explains that people using artificial sweeteners may be replacing the lost calories through consuming other sources of foods and therefore counteract the intended weight loss.
So how is this possible?
Artificial sweeteners are far more potent, gram from gram, than table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. This can overstimulate the sugar receptors, resulting in limiting the tolerance and appeal for less intensely sweet foods such as fruits and vegetables. These changes in the way we taste our food affect our choices in food, as we constantly chase after the newly set expectations of sweetness, rejecting healthy, filling and nutritious foods for artificially flavoured foods with poor nutritional value.
One concern around the psychology of consuming artificial sweeteners, is that those who consume the diet drinks fool themselves into thinking, “well I didn’t drink those calories, so I can have this piece of cake”.
Another trick artificial sweeteners may play, is that they may prevent us from associating sweetness with caloric intake. Because our bodies are not being fulfilled by the calorie intake of sugar, we then choose to eat sweet foods over nutritious foods, resulting in weight gain.
According to the American Diabetes Association, daily consumption of diet soda was associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Concluding that the consumption of diet soda either independently of conjointly with other lifestyle choices, may lead to weight gain, impaired glucose control, and diabetes.
So, which should we choose? Sugar? Or artificial sweeteners?
According to Harvard Medical School, foods in their natural form that contain sugar, such as a whole fruit, are nutrient dense, high in fiber and have low glycaemic indexes. Whereas refined, concentrated sugars that are consumed in large quantities lead to increased blood glucose and insulin levels, inflammatory mediators, triglycerides, oxygen radicals along with the increased risk for chronic illnesses, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
In other words...
“If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.” - Michael Pollan