All health conscious people these days make an effort to lookout for healthy products while shopping for groceries or eating out in general. So, naturally, the products with labels proclaiming ‘all-natural’ and ‘diet’ attract their attention immediately. Among other things, they tend to choose the so-called ‘diet’ drinks and feel that they have made a healthy choice. However, an important question has to be addressed by each one of them:
What do diet sodas, diet teas, and artificial sweeteners have in common? The answer is – Aspartame.
An Unhealthy Sugar Substitute
Aspartame is present in many diet drinks, and acts as a sugar substitute to give your beverage the sweetness you need without the calories. Although it’s seen in many diet drinks, its reputation of being a cause of various illnesses has many diet drink enthusiasts worried about taking their next sip.
When diet sodas first came out, American soda drinkers were pleased that they could indulge in their favorite flavorful pops without consuming the usual high doses of calories and sugar. That enjoyment was short lived, however, and the recent buzz about the side effects of the diet drinks’ and artificial sweeteners’ main ingredient aspartame is attracting attention.
Diet drink consumers are beginning to be weary about their faith in their sugar-free snacks and drinks. Recent studies by doctors and researchers have surfaced, and some list the side effects of aspartame being ones that relate to seizures, cancer, headaches, anxiety and high-blood pressure. Now people fear that the cost of shedding a few calories isn’t worth the cost of gaining illnesses.
A Safe and Healthy Alternative to Sugar
Although aspartame is used in many diet drinks, there is another safe and healthy alternative to make your drink taste as sweet as you’d like, without the unhealthy effects of aspartame. The answer to your diet woes is Stevia.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that tastes just like sugar. It is a genus of over 200 species of herbs in the sunflower family. It can be found in regions such as North America to South America, and is gaining popularity as a safe, healthy and natural substitute to artificial sweeteners. Unlike sugar – that brings about the onset of cavities – it is completely natural with no artificial ingredients, and has no reports of negative side effects.
You can purchase Stevia sweetener from most health food stores and in the health food sections of grocery stores.
Some More Healthy Sugar Substitutes:
Coconut Sugar: is made by heating the sap from the coconut palm and evaporating its water content. This results in nutritious coconut sugar that you may use to replace the regular sugar. Also, coconut sugar doesn’t make you ‘hyper’ like the traditional kind.
Date Sugar: I love eating dates to satisfy my sweet tooth cravings once in a while. However, dates can be dried, dehydrated and then ground to make your date sugar. Although it doesn’t dissolve easily, like in drinks, there are still many other foods you may use it to sweeten.
Honey: Most people are already aware of honey as a sugar substitute. It packs more calories than regular sugar but is much sweeter, and so provides you enough sweetness even when used in moderation. And don’t forget the additional benefit of its antimicrobial properties that you get in the bargain.
Maple Syrup: is another popular sugar substitute. It is a common item in kitchen cabinets in countries like Canada where people enjoy its sweetness without the apprehensions associated with normal table sugar.