Sugar substitutes: harm or benefit of the most controversial product

You no longer need to give up marshmallows, marshmallows, sweets and cakes in order to lose weight. Sweeteners can significantly reduce the calorie content of desserts while maintaining their sweet taste. Stevia, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, fructose, isomalt, saccharin, sorbitol, glucose – what to choose so as not to harm your health? Below we answer the question: “What is a sugar substitute: harm or benefit for the figure and the body?”

What is a sweetener?

Sweetener – a substance that gives a barely sweet taste. Sometimes it is made from natural substances, sometimes it is a synthetic compound. Usually it is prescribed for weight loss in order to reduce the calorie content of dishes and at the same time not give up your favorite dishes.

On the one hand, it turns out to be very convenient: eat the same amount, the taste does not change, and at the same time you don’t get fat. On the other hand, many studies confirm that many sweeteners are far more harmful to the body than refined sugar. Before being tempted by the “sugar-free” label, read the ingredients carefully and make sure that there are no dangerous products among the ingredients.

Types of sweeteners

First, we need to clarify that sweeteners and sweeteners are two different things. The difference is that sweeteners have zero calories and are not metabolized.

Sugar substitutes are usually fructose, stevia, glucose or sorbitol. Sweeteners include thaumatin, stevioside, or lactulose.

In stores, they can be bought in three states: liquid, tablets and powder. There is no difference between them. Perhaps the powder is more convenient to dissolve in liquids.

Sugar substitutes: harm or benefit of the most controversial product

The harm and benefits of sugar substitutes for the body

It cannot be said for sure that all sugar substitutes are harmful to health. Below we will consider the most common types and talk about their effect on the body. Remember that some substances are considered to be harmless, but constant and excessive consumption leads to the accumulation of a large amount of harmful substances in the human body.


The dangers and benefits of stevia sweetener have been debated for a long time. Stevia can be obtained in two ways: from the plant and in the laboratory. In the 90s, it was banned, now it is considered an absolutely safe product. Of the advantages, one can single out the fact that it is much sweeter than sugar and at the same time the calorie content is almost zero. Consume this product at the rate of four milligrams per kilogram.


Everyone has eaten it at least once in their life, as it is a part of fruits, vegetables and honey. The calorie content is much lower, but the taste is much richer than that of regular sugar. Due to the low glycemic index, fructose can be used by diabetics. Doctors allow you to eat no more than 40 grams per day.


Its plus is that it does not raise blood sugar levels and does not cause tooth decay. Not so sweet in taste. Erythritol is well absorbed by the body.


Since it is a carbohydrate and a hexa alcohol, the body does not use insulin to metabolize it. You should not eat more than forty grams of sorbitol – among the side effects, a laxative effect is distinguished.

Maple syrup

The well-known Canadian sweetness is not suitable for those on a diet because of its calorie content – 253 kcal per 100 g. However, the product contains about fifty useful substances, including vitamin B, abscisic acid, iron, zinc and calcium.

Jerusalem artichoke syrup

Jerusalem artichoke is a sweet potato, the syrup of which contains vitamins B and C, minerals and prebiotics – substances that normalize the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.

It is generally accepted that Jerusalem artichoke syrup the most useful of all sugar substitutes.

Agave syrup

Since the product is high in fructose, it is best not to overuse it. Plus, excessive consumption can lead to diabetes and heart disease.

Coconut sugar

Suitable for diabetics due to its low glycemic index. However, this is not the best option for losing weight, since the product is very high in calories. For a healthy person, it can be a good alternative to regular sugar. A person on a diet is better off choosing something else.

Brown rice syrup

It is made at a temperature not exceeding forty degrees by fermentation of rice grains. Thus, it is possible to preserve all the useful elements. The product consists of glucose and has a very high glycemic index of 98.

Can sweeteners be used for pregnant women?

In minimal doses, expectant mothers can use all types of sugar substitutes, except saccharin and cyclamate. However, it is better to consult a doctor, since during pregnancy it is necessary to adhere to a diet so as not to harm the baby.

Can sweeteners be used for children?

There are no specific prohibitions, but still you should not stuff a young growing body with artificial additives. If your child has diabetes, you can look at natural, low glycemic sugar substitutes.

What is the best sweetener to choose?

Judging by the doctors’ reviews, natural sweeteners would be the best option. For example, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, maple syrup, or fructose.

Among the most dangerous sugar substitutes, it is customary to distinguish:

  • aspartame (E951) – leads to headaches and dizziness,

  • sucralose (E955) – releases toxic compounds,

  • acesulfame potassium (E950) – a carcinogen,

  • saccharin (E954) – causes bladder cancer (be careful: this product is often used in the production of cough syrups).

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