In recent decades, the problem of excess weight has acquired global significance. One of the factors leading to its development is the irrepressible consumption of foods containing sugar. Therefore, many in the fight for weight loss are trying to exclude sucrose from the diet, replacing it with other sweeteners. But do sweeteners really help you lose weight?
For what and who are these products needed?
Sugar substitutes are sucrose-free substances designed to impart sweetness to food. They are of two types.
- Natural, gently affecting the carbohydrate process in the body and not contributing to a sharp increase in glucose levels. Therefore, they are prescribed to people with diabetes mellitus or metabolic disorder. These sweeteners include fructose, xylitol, sorbitol, lures, etc. They have a familiar taste, are fully absorbed by the body and are safe. However, they do not contribute to weight loss in any way, since they contain a fairly large number of calories.
- Synthetic – do not carry calories, do not take part in the process of carbohydrate metabolism, do not produce energy and are not absorbed by the body. This group includes aspartame, sucrasite, saccharin, cyclamate, etc. They are commonly used in industrial production in order to reduce its cost. Not a single confection or sweet drink today is complete without these substances.
Will sweeteners help you fight obesity?
It is logical to assume that if synthetic sweeteners do not contain calories, then they are effective for weight loss. It is this principle that is guided by the large army of fans of the use of sugar substitutes and products containing them marked “Lite”. This can work in the short term. But in a longer period, everything is far from being so rosy.
As you know, the cause of hunger is a decrease in the level of glucose in the liver in the form of glycogen, which is a vital component.
When its reserves are depleted, the “hunger center” sends a signal to the stomach, to which the latter responds with contractions. It is they that cause an urgent desire to eat, and the generated adrenaline pushes us to an immediate search for food.
Full saturation is possible not only when the stomach is full, but also when the glycogen stores in the liver are restored. This is where the danger lies for a person using sweeteners.
The fact is that, without being absorbed by the body, calorie-free sweeteners affect only the taste buds. They don’t make the simple carbohydrates that provide glucose, and they don’t satisfy the “satiety center” in our brain. As a result, the feeling of satiety does not come. People continue to eat even though their stomachs are already full. In addition, the “deceived” organism that has not replenished the level of glycogen, with the subsequent intake of glucose, begins to store it in the reserve.
The same applies to drinks containing sugar substitutes. They not so much quench as provoke even greater thirst due to the fact that sweet substances are not completely removed by saliva. There remains an unpleasant sugary sensation that we try to drink with a new portion of soda. By the way, this is another reason for the popularity of the use of sweeteners in mass food production. They stimulate thirst and appetite, helping to increase sales.
Another trap that makes it difficult to say goodbye to extra pounds is psychological perception. A person is sincerely convinced that by giving up sugar and reducing the calorie content of food, he has earned the right to please himself with additional candy.
All this leads to the fact that usually people who use sugar substitutes gain weight instead of losing it.
This does not mean that sweeteners are only harmful. They are indispensable for diabetes, metabolic disorders, weak tooth enamel. They may also be useful in the fight against obesity. But only if the dosage of used substitutes is observed and strict control of the amount and calorie content of the main food.
Moreover, it is advisable to take sweeteners on the recommendation and under the supervision of a specialist. After all, it is very difficult to independently calculate the required number of substances used, given the large percentage of their hidden content. After all, no manufacturer will indicate the exact amount of sugar substitutes contained in his product.
What are the best sweeteners for weight loss?
So, you decided to give up the use of sucrose and replace it with other substances. Which sweetener to buy? A good product must meet several conditions:
- be as safe as possible for health;
- taste good;
- contain a minimum of calories if our goal is to lose weight;
- be suitable for heat treatment to be used in cooking.
From the point of view of these criteria, it is rather difficult to identify the best sweetener. Most synthetics do not withstand high temperatures. Sometimes this simply leads to a significant deterioration in their taste, at worst – to the decomposition of a substance, for example, aspartame, into carcinogenic elements. Also, synthetic sweeteners are prohibited during pregnancy, lactation and childhood.
Natural substitutes are good for everyone, except for the calories present. Only a unique sweetener, stevia, was able to combine all the requirements. Despite its natural origin, it is low in calories and has virtually no side effects. Therefore, if necessary, it can be recommended even for pregnant women and children. Moreover, stevia strengthens blood vessels, helps to normalize the functioning of the liver, pancreas and stomach.
This substance is approved for use even under strict US laws. This does not mean that you can take it thoughtlessly. However, with the correct dosage, it is stevia that is the safest and most beneficial sweetener that will help you lose weight.
It can be purchased both in pure form and as part of complex sugar substitutes. Among the most famous is the Russian Fit-parade complex, which is used to prevent caries and reduce the calorie content of food.
But the best thing is, if you don’t have a vital indication for sucrose substitutes, just try to change your eating and living habits. Gradually limit your sugar intake, learn to enjoy the natural sweetness of foods, and lead an active and healthy lifestyle. And then the extra pounds will go away without the use of chemicals.