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21 February, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Will sugar substitutes help you lose weight?

Will sugar substitutes 
help you lose weight?

The term "sugar substitutes" is a catch-all that covers a wide range of alternatives, starting with those little pink, blue and yellow packets. But their value as a health or diet aid is still uncertain.

A research review in the BMJ found that there's limited evidence to say how much using them helps with weight loss, and that the real answer is to cut back on sugar in general by drinking water and choosing low- and no-sugar foods. Still, sugar substitutes can free up calories you can spend on healthier foods. Here's what you need to know:

Spoonful for spoonful, artificial sweeteners can be 100 times sweeter than sugar, with few or no calories. As food additives, they're regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and must get approval before they can be marketed.

Sugar alcohols are a type of sweetener commonly used in packaged foods. They're carbohydrates, but the body doesn't completely absorb them, so they don't raise blood sugar as much as natural sugars. They're also lower in calories, but they can have an unwanted laxative-type effect.

"Novel" sweeteners are a different kind of product. The most common one is stevia, which is made from a plant. Considered a dietary supplement rather than an additive, refined stevia isn't subject to FDA regulation, though the agency, among others, considers it safe. It's widely available in forms from powder to liquid drops to its own little packets. Monk fruit extract is another sweetener in this group starting to get some traction among consumers.

Although sugar alternatives like honey, molasses, maple syrup and agave nectar may seem healthier than processed white sugar, their calories are virtually the same as sugar.

No matter what sweetener you pick, watch how much you use. A Swedish study found that people who have just two sweetened drinks a day, whether naturally or artificially sweetened, double their risk of diabetes. And the risk grows with the number of such beverages you drink.

If you're trying to reduce the sugar and calories in your diet, you may be turning to artificial sweeteners or other sugar substitutes. You aren't alone.

Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes are found in a variety of food and beverages marketed as "sugar-free" or "diet," including soft drinks and baked goods. Just what are all these sweeteners? And what's their role in your diet?

Sugar substitutes are sweeteners that you use instead of regular table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute.

The topic of sugar substitutes can be confusing. One problem is that the terminology is often open to interpretation.

Some manufacturers call their sweeteners "natural" even though they're processed or refined. Stevia preparations are one example. And some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances — sucralose comes from sugar.

Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes. But they may be derived from naturally occurring substances, such as herbs or sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than sugar.

Artificial sweeteners can be attractive alternatives to sugar because they add virtually no calories to your diet. Also, you need only a fraction of artificial sweetener compared with the amount of sugar you would normally use for sweetness.

     HealthDay

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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