Sweeteners, which is better?

Is the solution to replace sugar with other sweeteners? The answer will depend on which one we choose.


Better sugar or sweeteners? Surely you have asked yourself this same question on more than one occasion and it is not surprising that it worries you: according to nutritionists, more and more sugar is consumed (think of your shopping basket: processed foods, pastries, carbonated drinks, artificial juices , vegetable broths, cereals …). But are sweeteners the solution?

“It is proven that excessive consumption of sugar is detrimental to health; since it is closely related to obesity and, as a consequence, with a multitude of other diseases. Therefore, sweeteners have become the ideal choice for many people as a substitute for sugar . The great advantage of these additives is their sweetening potential, which is much higher than common sugar but, in the case of artificial or synthetic sweeteners, they are also caloric, that is, without caloric content. Precisely, this has meant that its use in food has increased considerably due to the great demand for low-calorie products that there is today, maintaining that sweet taste that you like and hook. In some cases, likeIn people with type 2 diabetes , using artificial sweeteners is a good option to enjoy sweet foods since most artificial sweeteners are not metabolized by the body and, therefore, their consumption will not increase blood glucose levels. But, if this is not the case, it is always better to opt for natural sweeteners such as honey or stevia; since they are clearly healthier ”, explains Marta Lorenzo, nutritionist and collaborator of ¡Hola! , in line with the recommendations of the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) that advises to moderate the consumption of artificial additives.

Who’s who in the world of sweeteners?

“Like everything in life, artificial sweeteners in excess are not as beneficial, and they can have some major side effects, but, like I said, consuming them in large quantities. They can harm the hormonal level, promote diseases such as cancer or some other rare disease, “says the expert.

Where can we find them? The most consumed or used artificial sweeteners are:

  • Saccharin and aspartame. They are found in soft drinks, cider, canned fish or shellfish, fruits, processed vegetables, chewing gum, ice cream, yogurt, pastries, pastries, sauces and dietary products.
  • Cyclamate It is found in soft drinks, fruits, processed vegetables, yogurt, chewing gum, ice cream, pastries, sweets and pastries. 
  • Sorbitol. It is found in processed fruits and vegetables, breakfast cereals, chewing gum, candies, pastries, pastries, sauces. In the case of this artificial sweetener, the consequences of an excessive intake can cause diarrhea due to its laxative effect and, even if more than 40 grams are consumed daily it can cause abdominal pain, dizziness and flatulence.


For this reason, the nutrition expert recommends that we reduce, as far as possible, the amount of sugar we take throughout the day, replacing it with natural sweeteners, such as honey, which are much healthier and normally contain half. calories. These are some of the options that you have at your fingertips, however, do not forget to consume them in moderation.

  • Natural honey. Honey is a great natural and healthy alternative to the spoonful of sugar in tea or coffee. Honey contains fructose, glucose, and a little sucrose (while sugar is pure sucrose). It is fructose that makes us appreciate honey much sweeter and we put in less quantity – in this way, we reduce the number of calories ingested. In addition, among other benefits, honey is rich in antioxidants, which protect the heart; and other properties are also attributed to it, such as that it improves memory and relieves stress.
  • Stevia. It is approved by the European Food Health Authority as it is a harmless substance for health. It is a totally natural low-calorie sweetener obtained from the leaf of a small shrub native to the Amambay mountain range, between Paraguay and Brazil. You can use it to sweeten beverages, both hot and cold (tea, herbal teas, coffee …), yogurts, or even use it in making desserts. Some studies even suggest that stevia can help lower blood pressure. It is considered a good alternative to sugar because it does not affect blood sugar levels; which makes it suitable to be consumed by diabetic people.
  • Cereal syrup or agave syrup. Although it is a natural substance, the agave syrup or nectar that we find in herbalists and other establishments, has been processed. Nutritionally, it contains small amounts of calcium, potassium, and magnesium. As a sweetener, the texture of agave is similar to honey and is considered 1.5 times less sweet than sugar and provides around 60 calories per tablespoon. Thus, it is a little more caloric than sugar, but less sweet, so you can use less to achieve the same sweetness. The reason is that it has a higher percentage of fructose, which is less sweet than glucose. However, some studies have found that consuming too much fructose can cause long-term damage by raising cholesterol or raising blood pressure. For this reason, like sugar and other sweeteners, it must be used in moderation.

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