‘Healthy’ sweeteners like stevia and erythritol are on the rise. But are they actually healthy? Let’s find out.
Sugar? Yes, please? We humans are hardwired to consume sugar. Pastries, cookies, fruits – it starts when sugar molecules bind to the taste receptors of your tongue. Then, there’s an innate sense of pleasure, as your brain lights up; skyrocketing dopamine and serotonin levels. Until that moment, sugar is amazing.
But, then, here’s the kicker. Eventually, that sugar rush comes crashing down, contributing to obesity, diabetes, and cavities. Yet, you still crave the sweet stuff. Are you aware that sugar has absolutely no benefit to your system? It is possible to give up sugar right away and NOT miss out on any nutrients.
Here are some shattering facts you HAVE to know. Sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine. It doesn’t matter whether it’s chocolate or sweet drinks. A high sugar intake or sweets with added sugars will cause long-term health problems.
How Does Sugar Harm Your Body
Sugar attacks our body’s neurotransmitters. Each time you consume it, you crave more of it the next time. It is a real addiction. Its high consumption leads to high dopamine production. As a result, we feel immensely satisfied. Consuming sugar in large quantities causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin.
This in turn leads to a drop in blood sugar levels. Despite insulin’s job of clearing the bloodstream of excess sugar, the sugars are stored in the body as ‘body fat’. A drop in blood sugar levels causes a pique, leading to cravings for more sugar. This is the beginning of your addiction cycle.
To release the same amount of Dopamine over time, you need to consume more sugar as your addiction increases. That’s how compulsive eating disorders begin. Basically, you start binge eating.
But do not worry; science has come to your rescue, so you don’t have to compromise on your sugar cravings. Each day, science has been discovering multiple health problems that are caused by consuming too much sugar in your diet.
As a solution to this, people are now resorting to natural sweeteners like Stevia and Erythritol that carries the potential for considerable health benefits.
Many rumors have been gaining momentum with regards to natural sweeteners and their ill effects on your health. However, most of them are baseless, distorted information.
Read this article on to get information about how Stevia and Erythritol are a blessing for your sugar cravings, minimizing the metabolic effects of sugar.
What Is Stevia?
Stevia is a sugar substitute made from the leaves of the Stevia plant. The plant is a native to Paraguay and Brazil but is also grown in Japan and China.
The raw leaves of Stevia are 40 times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia has found its use in various industries across the globe in the past few years. Stevia, in its pure form, has zero carbohydrates as well as zero calories. Additionally, Stevia has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
What Is Erythritol?
Erythritol is a sugar substitute that looks and tastes exactly like sugar. Erythritol is made from extracting plant sugars from natural sources such as grapes, melons, pears, and other starches.
The plant sugar is then mixed with water and the mixture goes through the fermentation process. Once it is fermented, Erythritol is formed.
It has 70% of the sweetness of sugar
Unlike sugar, Erythritol has zero glycemic index. This means, when you consume Erythritol you will notice zero to negligible rise in your blood sugar or insulin levels. Also, Erythritol causes zero tooth decay while still providing you with the sweet taste as per your liking.
Stevia And Erythritol As Healthy Sweeteners?
Let’s dive deeper into the benefits of Stevia and Erythritol and the extent to which they are beneficial as healthy sweeteners.
Suppressing Your Cravings
Most artificial sweeteners do not have any calories albeit they still promote a craving for sugary treats. Whereas, Stevia reduces sugar cravings as it has to be consumed in small quantities devoid of any added calories or chemical alternatives to your diet.
Erythritol does not raise the satiety hormones that signal your brain when you’ve had enough to eat and sugar usually triggers their production. Erythritol doesn’t trigger that production and suppresses your further sugar cravings.
Improving The Cholesterol Levels
Researchers have concluded that Stevia effectively decreases elevated serum cholesterol levels, including LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, while increasing good cholesterol levels.
Erythritol reduces CD36-mediated absorption of saturated fatty acids, which decreases intrahepatic fat accumulation and significantly improves lipid profiles such as cholesterol.
A Great Alternative For The Diabetics
Stevia sweeteners have negligible to zero contribution in calories or carbohydrates to the diet. They’ve also demonstrated no effect on blood glucose and insulin response. This allows people with diabetes to eat a wider variety of food products adding Stevia and comply with essential nutrients.
Erythritol does not affect glucose and insulin levels. Additionally, a study shows that neither a single dose of Erythritol nor a two-week daily regime harmed blood sugar levels. This makes Erythritol an excellent sugar replacement for people with diabetes.
Stevia shows a high level of digestibility amongst the consumers and most people tolerate Stevia well unless the product has been mixed with sugar alcohol like Maltitol.
Most artificial sweeteners are known for causing stomach discomfort, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. That’s because the body can’t break down the sugar alcohols and ultimately they pass into the colon unchanged.
Erythritol has excellent digestibility and you won’t experience any discomfort after its consumption.
Erythritol is different from other sugar alcohols. Only 10% of it even reaches the colon, because 90% of Erythritol gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
The root cause of obesity is physical inactivity and increased intake of energy-dense food that has high sugar levels. To avert this, Stevia can be a part of your well-balanced diet to keep your weight under check, without compromising much on the taste.
Erythritol effectively dilutes the effect of sugar during food consumption, making it a reliable agent for weight control. Also, Erythritol reduces the weight-gaining process and can be easily absorbed and excreted by the human body.
Take Home Message:
All in all, Stevia and Erythritol are perfectly compatible with your sugary zest that doesn’t have any ill effects on your body and can be classified as healthy sweeteners.