Sugar or sugar substitute? Calories, low calorie or no calorie? Is there a difference? Does it matter? Which is healthiest?
This question is asked at least once a day, and it’s and important one to know the answer to, but every person is different and this is my professional opinion. If I have the chance, I choose real sugar every time. *gasp*
It’s a shocking answer in the health and fitness industry, but if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that our bodies know how to process sugar, and while it’s not great for us, it isn’t a chemical substance tricking us into thinking it’s sugar. Within reason, sugar isn’t bad for you. We need sugar to help our bodies move, our brains think and ultimately to keep us sane!
Why do I avoid such "health foods" that are labeled "no sugar", "low calorie" or "calorie free"? Because if you’re eating REAL foods, they have calories AND CALORIES AREN’T EVIL! If you’re eating chemicals, most likely, they are calorie "free". So do you want to load your body with chemicals in the name of the latest fad diet, or do you want to eat real food, that might contain real sugar?
The trick that many "diet" foods won’t let you know is that, while their low calorie, "health" foods give you peace of mind about your calorie intake, many times they trick us into eating those extra fries, last slice of pizza or grabbing that dessert because "we deserve it". Studies have shown that people who drink diet soda tend to gain more weight because they have tricked their minds into thinking they have "saved calories" all day.
There are different types of sugar (white, brown, agave nectar, honey, etc.), but sugar is sugar and has the same effects on our bodies. When you need a sugar hit, reach for an apple, kiwi, or some pineapple, especially when making smoothies! If you can get your sugar from fruits and vegetables, you’re on the healthiest path, but reaching for a Snickers every now and again won’t kill you!
If you really are looking for a sugar substitute, look for products that are plant based. Stevia (brand name, Truvia) is a great alternative and looks just like regular sugar. Keep this in mind when you purchase low calorie products! Search those ingredients and check for real sugar, cane sugar, agave, stevia, honey or fruit additives!
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