It’s a never ending discussion, isn’t it? Stevia’s bad for you… no it’s not… sugar is an addiction… low-cal is best, etc. Everyone has their dietary preferences and priorities, whether it’s paleo, vegetarian, “whole” foods, low calorie, or otherwise. It can be hard to choose an approach and stick with it.
It seems pretty common for people to switch to low cal/low sugar when they’re trying to lose weight. Think Light ‘N’ Fit yogurt, Splenda in your coffee, etc. I think this works well for short-term calorie cutting, but is it truly healthy?
Now, I’m seeing more and more articles/blog posts about the emphasis on real food. If we’re talking sugar, think maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc. There are also a ton of “outside the box” natural sugars popping up like monkfruit, etc. — but even those probably require a little more research, in my opinion.
There are a few things mostly everyone can agree on:
- Sugar makes you crave more sugar. It happens to me all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I polish off a bowl of froyo and say to myself, “I can literally eat 5 more bowls of that right now.” … usually I don’t. ; )
- Sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin are so ’90s. These are more commonly known as Splenda, Equal and Sweet & Low. There are tons of studies on how these can actually contribute to diabetes and obesity. Got Diet Coke?
- Stevia is the most natural artificial sweetener. But it’s still an artificial sweetener.
Luckily, I’ve never been into Splenda or artificial sweeteners at all. They hurt my stomach, as I learned the hard way post-skinny-peppermint-mocha-latte in the fall of 2011.
No, I’m still not over it. I use Stevia, but I try to use it sparingly.
So here’s the thing. Say I want pancakes. Do I go for natural maple syrup at 53g sugar and 210 calories per serving? Or do I choose a sugar free maple “flavored” syrup for 0g sugar and 35 calories?
Honestly, I don’t know the answer. I don’t think there is a right or wrong. However, I do think it’s important to be aware of what you’re putting in your body, and more importantly, how it makes you feel.
For me, I would rather have a little bit of something real than a ton of something fake. So if I want syrup on my pancakes, I’ll have a dab of real maple syrup. If I want ice cream, I’d rather have a small bowl of full-fat stuff than a huge bowl of the “light” kind that’s packed with chemicals.
I guess it all comes down to preference, priority, etc. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
- Thoughts on Stevia? Splenda? Real vs. artificial sources of sugar?