Why zero-calorie sweeteners are fattening and what you can take instead

Sara Flamenco

When you think about the
sweeteners Surely the typical white and blue saccharin box that has been in all the cabinets of Spanish kitchens comes to mind. Over time, saccharin was replaced by other alternatives that were considered more natural, such as stevia or more recently erythritol. Light drinks, low-calorie cookies, healthy cakes… there is a whole market around the idea of ​​continuing to eat sweets without adding extra calories to our diet, but now the
World Health Organization (WHO) It has made us fall off the cherry. Sweeteners can make you gain more weight. Because?

According to a recent study, the WHO has concluded that the consumption of sweeteners does not provide any long-term benefit in reducing the
body fat. What’s more, not only are they not beneficial, but there may even be possible negative effects of long-term use of these products, including an increased risk of developing
type 2 diabetescardiovascular diseases and an increase in mortality.

“Replacing free sugars with unsweetened sweeteners does not help
control weight long-term. People should consider other ways to reduce their intake of free sugars, such as eating foods with natural sugars, such as fruit, or unsweetened foods and beverages.”
francisco brancaWHO Director of Nutrition and Food Safety.

And we are very used to the taste
sweet, even when the food itself should not be naturally so. “People should totally reduce the sweet taste of the diet, from an early age, to improve their health,” said Branca. Who does not add sugar, saccharin or some kind of sweetener to coffee? Well, from the WHO they recommend that
you get used to it little by little to its bitter taste.

A cup of coffee with cubes of brown sugar. /

Image from Freepik.

What are sweeteners and their pros and cons with respect to sugar

sweeteners They are substances that add a sweet taste to food without adding as many calories as sugar. They can be natural (sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, erythritol, stevia…) or artificial (aspartame, acesulfame, saccharin, cyclamate…) and, although the first group is less harmful to our health, none is considered

One of its advantages affects above all people
diabetic or those who are affected by spikes in blood sugar or glucose, since they do not cause those spikes. In addition, it is true that they do not contribute as many
calories like sugar, so in principle you would gain less weight consuming these substances.

Of course, the sweeteners
they are not good for healthsince they affect our intestinal microbiota, in addition to being products
inflammatorywhich can cause our body to extract more fat from food, so it could make you gain more weight instead of losing it.

In addition, the habitual consumption of sweeteners can produce
gases, since they are not fully absorbed in the small intestine, so they pass to the large intestine, which is where the bacteria that ferment them, producing them, are found. In addition, it can cause
swelling, malaise or diarrhea. He
erythritol It would be the only sweetener whose effects on the intestine are less harmful, but even so, experts recommend occasional consumption, never habitual.

White sugar cubes on a spoon. /

Image by 8photo on Freepik.

Healthy alternatives to sweeteners

Today we can find sweeteners in many foods
processed that you can buy in the supermarket. From all the products that assure us an absence of
sugar even others that you did not expect, such as sausages, toothpaste, chewing gum or even medicines.

With this in mind, it’s going to be hard to eliminate all sweeteners from your diet without going completely crazy, but you can.
reduce them to the maximum in your usual diet. Experts recommend prioritizing foods that are already
naturally sweetsuch as fruits such as bananas, oranges, dates or figs, and can be used to sweeten other products such as yogurt or kefir.

If what you want is to sweeten your coffee or your morning infusion, you can opt for other foods such as
cinnamon or milkbut the ideal would be to accustom your palate to the natural flavor of said foods, so as not to depend so much on an artificial sweetness that does not provide you with anything nutritionally.

Does this mean you can’t have sweets anymore? Of course not. If you consume them
punctual You can use sugar or sweetener, but as long as it is very occasionally. The problem is when you use it in a way
usual to add a sweet flavor to a food that you eat every day.