Whether you use the training facility at Fort Lee, New Jersey or at one of the surrounding areas, you probably know by now that having a great body is as much about eating healthy as it is about exercise. What you eat, especially snacks and carbs, play an intricate role in your overall health. In fact, it also includes how you sweeten your food. Even though artificial sweeteners may contain few or even no calories, many can be detrimental to your health. Natural sweeteners also can play a role in whether you’re healthy, too. While not all natural sweeteners are healthy, not all of them are unhealthy either.
What are the dangers of a diet of simple carbohydrates, like natural sugars?
In order to understand the effects of sweeteners and diet, the easiest way is to go back millions of years before man. The microsyops latidens, which is a squirrel sized primate that lived in the US 54 million years ago, had dental carries. This primate lived on natural sugars and a diet high in carbohydrates. That proves that no matter how natural the sugar in your diet is, your teeth still pay a price. Today, sugar is in all types of food and can have a negative effect on more than just your teeth. It’s been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other serious conditions.
Stevia may be one of the better natural sweeteners and may even have health benefits.
Stevia rebaudiana has leaves that taste sweet and was used for its sweet nature in South America, but also as a medicine. It’s hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar yet has no calories. While some people hate the taste of stevia, others love it. Stevia may be beneficial for people with diabetes, as it can help level out blood sugar. It also can aid people with high blood pressure if it’s considerably elevated. It has drawbacks. It interferes with the microbiome in the gut, by inhibiting the growth of bacteria including the beneficial bacteria.
Sugar alcohols like xylitol have some benefits.
One of the best known benefits of xylitol is for dental health. It’s been proven to help reduce cavities and remineralize teeth. Some people use it by adding a small amount of water and slushing it around the mouth, then spitting it in the sink. Why spit it out? It can cause abdominal distress and explosive diarrhea, like other sugar alcohols when consumed in larger amounts. When used in moderation, xylitol may help improve bone density.
- Monk fruit extract comes from a fruit from Southeast Asia. It has no calories or carbs. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help control blood sugar. Be aware that some monk fruit extracts are mixed with other types of sugar.
- Yacon syrup may be beneficial for the good bacteria in your intestines, since it’s high in fructooligosaccharides. It may help with weight loss and prevent constipation.
- Using actual fruit can add a sweet treat. Using the whole fruit, such as unsweetened applesauce, figs, dates or bananas can add sweetness, but also provide the benefits of fiber and nutrients.
- Getting the healthiest sugar alternative can be simplified by avoiding added sugar, whether it’s artificial or natural. Alternatives, like maple syrup or honey may be natural, but they still can cause many of the problems of table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center