Nowadays many people who seek to lose weight and stay healthy exchange sugar for sweetener. Or they opt for a different type of sugar, other than refined white. But what is better to consume? Sugar or sweetener? What is the best type?
There are sugars that undergo a process of refinement or addition of chemicals. Sweeteners can be natural or artificial. It is known that excess sugar is related to health hazards, but is exchanging it for sweeteners a good option?
Continue reading the post to find out what these sugar and sweetener options we can find for consumption and which would be the best option to include in your diet.
Types of sugar
1. Refined sugar
2. Brown sugar
3. Demerara sugar
4. Coconut sugar
Types of sweeteners
You have probably heard that sugar is bad for your health and fattening. Sugar consumption is believed to be one of the main causes of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes.
This is mainly due to the abuse in the consumption of industrialized products, such as soft drinks and sweets, which are rich in simple sugars.
In addition to harm to health, sugar can hinder your weight loss process. That’s because 1 gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories.
Another reason is that when we consume sugar our body releases insulin. Insulin is a hormone that when in excess is responsible for storing glucose as fat in adipose tissue.
For these reasons, many people switch from sugar to sweetener or even look for other sugar options that they say are healthier. But are they really?
Types of sugar
1- Refined sugar
Refined sugar comes from sugarcane and is the most consumed in Brazil. In addition to being the most used by the industry, it has the lowest cost. In the refinement process it loses more than 90% of the nutrients and is added with chemical substances to make it thin and white.
2- Brown sugar
Brown sugar is also derived from sugar cane. However, it does not go through the refinement process and does not receive the addition of chemicals. So it contains a little more nutrients.
3- Sugar demerara
It is taken directly from sugarcane molasses and therefore can be considered more artisanal. However, it goes through the refinement process, without adding chemicals. It contains a nutritional value similar to brown sugar.
4- Coconut sugar
Coconut sugar is made from the coconut’s sap. It has been the most talked about recently. That’s because it is the type of sugar that has the lowest glycemic index.
Glycemic index is the speed with which the food increases blood sugar levels and activates the release of insulin. As we have seen, insulin is not a favorable hormone for weight loss. Therefore, foods with a low glycemic index are interesting for those who want to lose weight, since they do not raise insulin as much.
In addition, it has some nutrients and a fiber called inulin. This fiber is responsible for delaying the absorption of glucose. That’s why this sugar has a lower glycemic index.
Ordinary sugar has a glycemic index of 60, while coconut sugar has a glycemic index of 54.
Sweeteners can be natural or artificial. However, its consumption must also be done in a controlled manner. Especially if they are artificial sweeteners.
In order not to cause harm to health or impair your weight loss, there are consumption limits that must be respected.
This recommendation will vary depending on the type of sweetener you are going to use. Look for a nutritionist so that he can help you better on this.
Types of sweeteners
The most popular natural sweeteners today are stevia, erythritol, xylitol and maltitol.
Stevia is extracted from the leaves of a plant. It has very sweet taste and almost no calories. However, some people report experiencing a bitter aftertaste.
Erythritol, xylitol and maltitol are sugar alcohols. Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables.
These sweeteners are low in calories and taste very similar to sugar. In addition, they do not increase blood sugar levels.
Studies prove its safety. However, in excess they can cause digestive problems, and gases.
Artificial sweeteners have a much greater sweetening power than sugar itself. Among the most used are aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, sodium cyclamate.
They are produced from chemical products and several studies have been done analyzing their harm to health. These sweeteners are related to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, intestinal problems, cavities, headache and even cancer, depression and seizures.
So sugar or sweetener?
Although there are types of sugars that apparently have a better nutritional composition, their effects on health and weight loss are very similar.
What differentiates the types of sugar is the addition or not of chemicals and the micronutrient content that each contains. However, all have calories and can lead to weight gain. So use sugar sparingly, regardless of what type it is.
In addition, the micronutrient content is very small. You should not choose to consume a certain type of sugar with your micronutrients in mind. It would be much more advantageous for you to eat natural foods to obtain them.
However, the harmful effects of sugar depend very much on the context. That is, how is your diet and lifestyle. For example, for people who consume a lot of carbohydrates or are overweight, large amounts of sugar can be harmful, regardless of type.
If you have a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, small amounts of sugar will probably not harm you. Dietary guidelines recommend limiting consumption of added sugar to less than 10% of your total daily calories.
However, if you are focused on losing weight or have a health problem that contraindicates the use of sugar, it would be interesting to remove the sugar from day to day. So, leave sugar for special occasions and on a daily basis give preference to sweeteners.
In the post How to stop eating sugar we give you some tips that can help you reduce sugar consumption in your daily life!
Among sweeteners, always prefer natural ones. As stated earlier, artificial sweeteners have several chemicals and their consumption is associated with health problems.
Despite not containing calories or the same metabolic effects as sugar, sweeteners can stimulate the sweet taste receptors on the tongue.
There are already studies showing that the sweet taste when identified in the mouth causes our body to release insulin, just as it happens when we eat sugar. This is because our organism is conditioned to the sweet taste.
So even natural sweeteners cannot be overused!
- Although there are several types of sugar, and some apparently healthier, all have calories and should be avoided if you want to lose weight.
- If you use it in your day-to-day, prefer natural sweeteners to artificial sweeteners, but without exaggeration.