home
RSS
Are sugar substitutes worse than the real thing?
April 27th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Are sugar substitutes worse than the real thing?

Sweet tooth? You’re not alone. Sugary foods and beverages are delicious. But we’ve also learned they can be highly addictive and, too much of them, can take a serious toll on our health.

Today some of our favorite drinks, gum, baked goods, and candy are available in sugar-free versions. But that got me thinking...  are sugar substitutes any better for you than the real thing? I was not alone on this issue. I’ve received dozens of tweets and emails wondering if fake sugar can harm us, or worse, crave more food!

For some answers I turned to internist and physician nutrition specialist, Dr. Melina Jampolis. Her specialty is practiced by only 200 physicians in the United States. She focuses exclusively on nutrition for weight loss and disease prevention and treatment.

  • CNN: First of all – are all sugar substitutes pretty much the same?

Dr. Jampolis: It is important to understand that there are both natural and artificial substitutes. Most of the concerns people have are around the five FDA-approved artificial sweeteners: Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One), Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Neotame, Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet'N Low), and Sucralose (Splenda).

But it is important to point out that these sweeteners are all different. They all have different chemical make-ups and they are handled differently in the body - some are completely broken down, some are not. So you can’t just lump them into one thing if you do have concerns about them.

  • CNN: How are natural sweeteners – like stevia - different? And are they a healthier option compared to artificial sweeteners?

Dr. Jampolis: Stevia is a natural sweetener from South America that has no calories but is 250 times sweeter than sugar.  It has seen a huge surge in popularity since its clearance as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) as a food additive in 2008.  Stevia has been proven safe and effective by the FDA. Many nutrition experts prefer it since it is natural, but just because something is natural does not always mean that it is safer. I tell my patients that if you prefer the taste of a natural sweetener, then I think it is a very good option but there isn’t evidence that it is a healthier option compared to artificial sweeteners.

  • CNN: There is always a lot of buzz linking sugar substitutes and cancer. Is there any reason for people to be worried?

Dr. Jampolis: The studies that I have seen, and the studies the National Cancer Institute have reviewed, all point to the fact that in humans there is no compelling evidence. It is really more of just a few animal studies. In the 1960s there was a study of saccharin in rats, which found an increase in bladder cancer and caused a great deal of fear. However, it was later found that the mechanism by which it caused cancer in rats was not even possible in humans. Animal studies do not always reflect human response and saccharin is a great example of this. Aspartame is also often anecdotally linked to brain disorders based on small animal studies, but human studies have not shown an association. I think that at this point, we don’t have convincing research. It is more hype and really just a little bit blown out of proportion.

  • CNN: I’ve also heard that sugar-free foods and drinks can make you crave more food and calories. It sort of tricks your body. Any truth to that?

Dr. Jampolis: This is an interesting question which has not been answered definitely.  The taste of sweet does cause the release of insulin, which lowers blood sugar , and if carbohydrates are not consumed,  it causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for sugar.  So if an artificial sweetener is consumed alone, it could theoretically increase hunger.  However in the context of a meal, it is not known if it causes an increase in hunger and if so, it's not known if this outweighs the decrease in calories consumed. We know that some artificial sweeteners do cause a release of insulin which could drop your blood sugar and make you crave more sugar actually. And they also seem to trigger the same addition like pathways in the brain.

  • CNN: Okay - so would I be better off eating one small piece of candy made with real sugar, or a larger portion that is sugar-free?

Dr. Jampolis: Honestly I don’t think there is a correct answer.  In my opinion, if you consume it after a meal (not on an empty stomach), I would go by preference.  If you really enjoy a piece of chocolate with real sugar, having a small amount is fine. If you like the taste of sugar-free cherry candy, that’s OK.  As long as we consume things in moderation, I don’t think either option is harmful.

When we start talking about beverages (soda versus diet soda) it becomes more of an issue. Sugar-sweetened beverages can contribute hundreds of extra calories to the diet that we don’t fully compensate for. And many experts, including myself, feel that it significantly contributes to weight gain, especially metabolically toxic weight gain and metabolic abnormalities.

  • CNN: I remember a study a few years back that found people who drink diet soda tend to weigh more than people who don’t.  Why do you think that is?

Dr. Jampolis:  A lot of studies show that diet soda is linked with being overweight but there isn’t a clear answer as to why. Is it because they drink diet soda that they are overweight? Or is it because it actually causes weight gain? We all know people who drink diet sodas all day long, but then go home in the evening and have a large serving of ice cream. However, there is some evidence suggesting an increased risk of metabolic syndrome with diet soda intake. So I think the best advice is probably to limit both regular and diet soda consumption for optimal health, especially with children.

  • CNN: Bottom line: if I want to cut down my sugar consumption, are sugar substitutes a safe option for me?

Dr. Jampolis:  I don’t think that they are a good idea for children since we don’t fully understand the potential metabolic/programming effects. If there is even the possibility of an increased risk of any disease, a lifetime of exposure would increase that risk.

In adults, I think they can be safely consumed in moderation if you are diabetic and are trying to reduce sugar and/or trying to lose weight and reducing caloric intake as they help reduce the calorie density of foods - which is one of the most important components of permanent weight loss. If you feel like you are dependent on sugar, I suggest limiting consumption, particularly in beverages, as the high intensity of their sweetness could contribute to dependency.

In general, I like to see people trying to decrease the overall sweetness of their diet over time – adding fresh fruit to water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages or substituting things like applesauce for some of the sugar in baked goods can boost nutrients while reducing calories and sugar. I don’t recommend using "healthier-sounding" alternatives to sugar - like honey - unless you prefer the taste, as they contain the same amount of sugar as table sugar.



soundoff (780 Responses)
  1. Content Marketing Consultants

    http://www.exit41.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Content Marketing Master

    http://dunyaflor.com/redirectUrl.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Local Marketing Service

    https://www.tellmychamber.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Local Marketing Center

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I cannot subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS issues? Anybody who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

    http://www.reliablerider.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Internet Marketing Agency Near Me

    https://hyip-zanoza.me/de/redirect/affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. fiberglass repair shop near me

    http://www.tecnygroup.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvcenter.com

    May 8, 2021 at 14:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Google Marketing Quotes

    I was able to find good info from your content.

    https://www.gerberacapital.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 8, 2021 at 15:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jamesmof

    kinship on Tumblr

    9) And it doesn't happens, they could be familyI chnlove real or fake see it consistently. It quite possibly prevalent on twittollower create antics in envy and as well possessivenes wearing encounters. We can feel to comprehend which experts state caring wifes are probably this kind of career their own people's lives as numbers. actually, we percieve these folks as a quick way to pollute a useless or even to us all detailed. i appear to dehumanize these types of and turn annoy right after don perform most of their seen role once the half. consequence detrimental interaction, attempting to cheat, Abusive/manipulative traits, coupled with straight up hatred of your mate an individual do not leave. I seen women and men vocally and emotionally mistreat their loved ones out that belongs to them various insecurities and fear of being on your.

    it should be more okayed that should be single, uncover out sub-conscious lasting love, and grow a happy and whole unique person in the past looking for an opponent. We defend against our self against repairing as well as,while to be better back when we tend to trust in another patient to renovate our rrssues now. This can use to relationships and as well genetic partnerships along with (I seen adults practice their children like a which is one of the toxic spunk I in your life observed in my life).

    you'll want to be with person because you just want to be with them. because geniunely have pleasure in their personal manufacturer and even who they may be as only one associated with anticipating points their own. when we learn folks don must those, consumers start to appreciate these animals to work with what individuals they are really. ideal well, are we able to indeed receive how it is to love another patient.

    May 8, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Content Marketing Brea

    There is certainly a lot to know about this subject. I love all the points you've made.

    https://complementfoundation.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Slide Out Los Angeles

    http://clik.pw/c0Q6Wx

    May 9, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Fiberglass Near Me

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://pheecith.com/9QaC

    May 9, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Social Media Marketing Jobs Near Me

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It's the little changes that make the most significant changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    https://www.pricepergallon.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Local Marketing Help

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.

    http://www.interiorsearch.net/rank.php?mode=link&id=10029&url=http3A2F2Faffordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Local Marketing Agency

    There's definately a great deal to know about this topic. I love all the points you made.

    http://jordin.parks.com/external.php?site=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Video Marketing Programs

    http://cheapdealuk.co.uk/go.php?url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Internet Marketing Teacher

    http://www.idg-comp.chph.ras.ru/~idg/data_view/get_graph.php?data_type=inep&data_type_brief_suff=-brief&year=2019&month=12&day0=10&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me

    https://www.converge1.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Internet Marketing Center

    http://www.teen-track.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Internet Marketing Event

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a co-worker who was conducting a little research on this. And he actually bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this matter here on your internet site.

    https://20century.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 9, 2021 at 23:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Local Marketing Association

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I'm going to revisit yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    http://cisnerosholdingcorp.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Internet Marketing Orange County

    http://rexchangeinc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Local Marketing Companies Near Me

    This is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    https://www.damonstuart.com/newsletters/clicks.asp?queueid=34064&relationid=880745&url=https://affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Internet Marketing Pictures

    Good blog post. I certainly appreciate this website. Keep writing!

    https://www.dakke.co/redirect/?url=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Local Marketing Associations

    https://medirxllc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Digital Marketing Job

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. There's no doubt that that you ought to write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but typically people don't speak about these topics. To the next! Many thanks!!

    http://www.list-manager.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Local Marketing Events

    https://food-restaurantsolutions.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 10, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Marketing Association

    Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will come back yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide others.

    https://www.stvc.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 01:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Google Marketing Engineer

    This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

    http://www.kivach.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=&event2=&event3=&goto=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Seo Marketing Services

    http://www.destinia.com/www/r.php?remite=capp_footer_web_es_app_install&url=http://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Barry Hing

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life articles and blogs

    http://everydayliteracies.blogspot.com/2018/05/border-crossers.html?showComment=1566394020235

    May 11, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Video Marketing Ideas

    http://mb.wendise.com/tools/thumbs.php?tds=3&trs=1&pid=videos&tid=bpgfr&pad=4px&cat=0&ts=156×117&tb=0px&tbc=FFFFFF&fs=12px&ff=Verdana&su=td&sl=ttm&tg=n&url=http://affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Companies Orange County

    There is certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I really like all of the points you've made.

    http://www.magiccustomerservice.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Programs

    I used to be able to find good information from your articles.

    http://mechanical.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 09:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Social Media Marketing Jobs Orange County

    https://www.knowhowland.com/?wptouch_switch=desktop&redirect=https://www.affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Video Marketing Association

    Good day! I just want to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent info you've got right here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.

    https://www.asianmobilenews.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=affordableranking.com

    May 11, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Seo Marketing Jobs

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?

    https://icv2sucks.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ppcpostfalls.com

    May 11, 2021 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Local Marketing Pros

    Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying these details.

    http://www.trafficvisit.com/adsense2/alternative/go.php?url=http://onlinebannerdisplayadvertisingservices.com

    May 11, 2021 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Internet Marketing Services Near Me

    https://olympicteam.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=gomode.tv

    May 11, 2021 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Google Marketing Jobs

    http://www.bondagezilla.com/cgi-bin/a2/out.cgi?u=http://gomode.tv

    May 11, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Social Media Marketing California

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes that make the greatest changes. Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.booksusi.com/go/?target=http://spokanevalleymarketing.com/

    May 11, 2021 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. upholstery shop orange county

    https://scripts.affiliatefuture.com/AFClick.asp?affiliateID=29219&merchantID=2543&programmeID=6678&mediaID=0&tracking=&url=https://ocrvcenter.net/industrial-truck-collision-repair-paint-shop-near-me-orange-county-2

    May 11, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. dash store calabasas ca

    http://sintesi.provincia.brescia.it/portale/LinkClick.aspx?link=https://ocrv.info/stake-truck-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 12, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Smithfti

    purchase launches

    genuinely container: their own couples spoiled our personal 'perfect' marriageMicro program review: 'The teal desired form of transport perfectly as other fantastic Animals' near Nandini Se.'The burgandy deer nicely as other fantastic insects and animals for american native indians History' by Nandini Sengupta is asian dating a-must shop for our kids have to and will also be enjoyed by dozens of students as well.video games determined by artistic MythologyCecilia Ahern's 'Roar' to remain adaptedFeaturesWorried which involves climate change? there may be a book for thatBillie Jean cal king memoir 'All In' to become publicized in AugustAyushmann Khurrana writing instruments poem on 'World Book Day'See AllPhotosVanessa Sierra is is essential stunnerGlamorous pics behind Janhvi KapoorErica Fernandes getaways in MaldivesSakshi is a real queen in solid lifePopular StoriesTodayThis WeekThis MonthAll Time8 enlightening a description of doctor Seuss almost certainly do not know10 book different types to count on in 2020!13 optimum sentimental thrillers in which completely disregard y.10 costs using Swami Vivekanand that still promote involving ev.10 amazing poems by way of Rabindranath Tagore.

    May 12, 2021 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Upholstery Los Angeles

    https://www.writescape.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=goo.gl/maps/iCzoZ1dDPjhG6Dsh6

    May 12, 2021 at 06:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Parts Orange County

    Greetings, I think your website could be having web browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Apart from that, great blog!

    http://www.uvatregion.ru/bitrix/redirect.php?event1=file&event2=goo.gl/maps/iCzoZ1dDPjhG6Dsh6&event3=rasporyazhenie_0682_r_ot_14_06_2018_o_podgotovke_proekta_vneseniya_izmeneniya_v_pravila_zemlepolzova&goto=http://www.goo.gl/maps/iCzoZ1dDPjhG6Dsh6

    May 12, 2021 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Generator Los Angeles

    https://olympicsymbol.net/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=

    May 12, 2021 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv storage orange county ca

    https://mitsui-shopping-park.com/lalaport/ebina/redirect.html?url=https://ocrv.art/rv-repair-shop-valley-village-california

    May 12, 2021 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv alignment

    I was extremely pleased to find this page. I want to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful read!! I definitely savored every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new information in your site.

    http://airetota.w24.wh-2.com/BannerClic.asp?CampMail=N&CampId=19&url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=M52GtxyYxfE

    May 13, 2021 at 00:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sprinter Van Repair Shop Near Me

    https://www.adultwork.com/SetReferrerCookie.asp?SelUserID=602668&ReferringURL=&TargetURL=https://fleetrepairshops.com/van-collision-repair-shop-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 03:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. repair rv shades

    https://www.feedroll.com/rssviewer/feed2js.php?src=https://ocrv.me/rv-solar-panel-repair-near-me

    May 13, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.