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This is a topic of much debate! Do you use real sugar or are you better off with calorie-free sweeteners? Excess sugar can cause diabetes and lead to extra calories, and excess sweeteners can cause cancer and other issues. Pick your poison! In college I switched to sugar free everything to save calories, but over the past couple years I have learned that these sweeteners may not be all they are cracked up to be! There are numerous studies out there that show that people who drink diet soft drinks are just as likely or more likely to be overweight than those who drink regular sodas. There is speculation that these sweeteners make your body not notice calories associated with sweetness... so the next time you eat something sweet it thinks there are no calories associated with it, so you end up over eating on sugar.
Adding artificial sweeteners to our diets have just basically allowed us to think we are making "smart" choices by eating sugar free candy, chocolate, pies, cakes, syrup, coffee, sodas and cookies.. but in reality we should not be eating these things very often anyway! Yes of course every once in a while, but these should not be in our daily diets.
Am I saying to eat real sugar than? Not necessarily. We as a nation eat way to much added sugar in our day! Our bodies do need a certain amount of sugar to keep our blood sugar stable, but the best sources of these are complex carbohydrates that come from whole grains, oats, brown rice, quinoa, legumes, beans, barley; and simple carbs that come from fruits and milk sugars.
So what is the answer? Moderation on both!
My challenge to you this week is to count your grams of sugar and packets of artificial sweetener that you use in a day. Once you have that number, cut it in half! Use half the sugar or sweetener in your coffee, or have 1 less coffee per day and replace it with water! Drink half as many crystal lights and try regular water instead with a splash of lime! Try a bowl of blueberries when you are having a sweet craving. Cut your baking sugar in half too! You wont even notice! I stopped using artificial sweeteners last month and I don't miss them. If I need to sweeten something I now use a little Organic honey or Organic Agave Nectar, but I don't have to use a lot. Give it a try!