Weight loss tip: Be cautious with sugar-free products

Weight loss tip 117 - Be cautious with sugar-free productsWeight loss tip 117 - Be cautious with sugar-free products

“Sugar-free” does not always mean “more healthy”.

Tea cup with sugar

Teacup with sugar cubes

Sugar is in the health spotlight as being risk #1 for obesity.   There are two types of sugar in your food.  There’s the sugar that comes naturally in the sugar that is added.  Natural sugar includes things like fructose from fruit and lactose from milk.  It is well recognized today that added sugar is a well-known risk for obesity and diabetes.    In particular, there is research to indicate that sugar-sweetened beverages increase your risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity.  Although the beverage industry would like you to think that added sugar is no different than natural sugar, added sugar is highly processed and easily used by your body for energy or fat storage.  Your body has to do very little to use it.  That may seem like an advantage, but it is not.

Sugar limits: The World Health Organization recommends 25 g or less per day.  25 g of sugar per day would equate to 6 teaspoons or less.The American Heart Association recommends 36 g or less for men and 25 g  or less for women.  This number would equate to nine and six teaspoons respectively.  These guidelines have led many communities to start adding sugar taxes to attempt to reduce consumption.  

 I wrote a prior article on the low sugar products and sugar-free in which I recommended eating less sugar.   Although I stand by the suggestion, I recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners.  Artificial sweeteners are the Frankensteins of the modern food industry.  Some of them are fake compounds like saccharin and others are modified sugars and amino acids such as sucralose and aspartame.   Although I would agree that these are generally safe, there is research that indicates that they may increase hunger and do not decrease obesity.  For this reason, I would suggest limiting your intake of low sugar and sugar-free products that contain artificial sweeteners.

The bottom line: Although I recommend that you decrease your sugar intake, I recommend that you avoid or at least limit the amount of artificial sweeteners you consume.  These artificial sweeteners have not been fully studied and research is beginning to show that they may actually be tied to increased obesity.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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