Sugar substitutes (including both artificial and natural) are wildly popular for use by food and beverage companies and consumers alike to try and improve health. Although there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on sweeteners, we already know that there are many potential benefits. Substituting sugar with an artificial or natural sweetener (like stevia) may help prevent tooth decay, control blood sugar levels, reduce the amount of added sugars in your diet, help you lose weight, and also allow you to enjoy some of your favorite foods that you may not be able to otherwise.1,2
There is still a bit of controversy among scientists on whether or not artificial sweeteners are potentially detrimental to our health in other ways. However, natural sugar substitutes are becoming more common and have greatly improved, giving consumers better sweetener options, like Purecane. What makes sugar substitutes like Purecane stand out is that not only does it provide zero calories and no bitter aftertaste, but it is naturally derived from sugarcane using a patented fermentation process.
Sugar substitutes can help you lose weight as they significantly reduce the number of calories you take in on a daily basis, especially if you often consume sugary items. For example, drinking diet sodas instead of regular, using a sweetener in your coffee or tea instead of sugar, baking with sugar-replacements, or even sweetening your meals with low-calorie or no calorie substitutes instead of other natural sugar sources like maple syrup or honey. Sugar provides us with 4 calories per gram, whereas alternative sweeteners often provide us with 0 calories per gram. As long as you’re not replacing the lost calories with extra foods throughout the day or going over your calorie limit otherwise, sugar substitutes can be a helpful tool when trying to lose weight.
Chronic Health Condition Management and Prevention
Using low glycemic sugar substitutes such as Purecane is another way that you can manage or help prevent chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, without sacrificing your favorite foods. Since type 2 diabetes is often associated with an increased risk of other conditions such as heart disease, being able to better manage or prevent type 2 diabetes can also reduce your risk of these other chronic conditions.3 One way that sugar substitutes, like Purecane, help is by contributing to weight loss as described earlier. In fact, losing just 5 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes in half (if you weigh 200 lbs, 5 percent would be 10 lbs of weight loss).4
Side Effects of Using Sweeteners
For some, sugar substitutes can often leave an unpalatable aftertaste, but other than that, there aren’t a lot of downsides to using sugar substitutes. However, there are some common side effects to be aware of that are mostly associated with sugar alcohols (naturally occurring molecules that serve as a low-calorie sugar substitute). For some, sugar alcohols like sorbitol or mannitol can have a laxative effect, and cause bloating, gas, diarrhea or general abdominal discomfort.5 Fortunately, not all sugar alcohols are the same. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol with a high digestive tolerance, meaning that it’s unlikely you’ll experience any of these side effects when consumed in recommended amounts. That’s why some companies like Purecane use erythritol in their formulation, so you can feel comfortable knowing that using their product won’t leave you with any undesirable side effects, and allows for a natural way of giving both texture and volume.
The Bottom Line on Sweeteners
It has become very important for our health and wellbeing to reduce intake of added sugars. Not only can too much added sugar lead to the health complications discussed earlier, but research suggests that it can also lead to changes in the brain and behaviors that are like those seen with addiction.6 This is one of the reasons why cutting back on sugar can be so difficult. Having the ability to incorporate other sweeteners into your diet can help people to not only reduce their added sugar intake, but perhaps also reduce some of the negative effects that consuming too much sugar can have on our brain and metabolic health. Purecane solves this issue by offering a complete line of sweeteners that are either zero-glycemic or low-glycemic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), gluten free, vegan, Paleo friendly, halal and kosher, allowing for easy incorporation in anyone’s diet.
1 Gupta M., Sugar Substitutes: Mechanism, Availability, Current Use and Safety Concerns-an update. Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences, 2018. 6(10): 1888-1894.
2 Non-Nutritive Sweeteners (Artificial Sweeteners). American Heart Association. April 2018.
3 Managing Diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. December 2016.
4 “Diabetes.” Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed October 2021. www.hopkinsmedicine.org/endoscopic-weight-loss-program/conditions/diabetes.html.
5 Nutrition and Healthy Eating. Mayo Clinic. October 2020.
6 Avena N.M., Potenza M.N., Gold M.S. Why are we consuming so much sugar despite knowing too much can harm us? JAMA Intern Med. 2015 Jan;175(1):145-6.
Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction, with a special focus on nutrition during early life and pregnancy. Her research achievements have been honored by awards from several groups including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She is an assistant professor of neuroscience at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York, NY and is a visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University in New Jersey. Dr. Avena has written several books, including What to Eat When You’re Pregnant and What to Feed Your Baby and Toddler. She regularly appears as a science expert on the Dr. Oz Show, Good Day NY and The Doctors, as well as many other news programs. Her work has been featured in Bloomberg Business Week, Time Magazine for Kids, The New York Times, Shape, Men’s Health, Details, as well as many other periodicals. Dr. Avena blogs for Psychology Today, is a member of the Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau and has the No. 2 most watched TED-ED Health talk, “How Sugar Affects Your Brain.” You can follow Dr. Avena on Twitter (@DrNicoleAvena), Facebook (www.facebook.com/DrNicoleAvena) and Instagram (@drnicoleavena), or visit www.drnicoleavena.com.