Sugar vs. Low-calorie Alternatives

A calorie-conscious diet is important to many people today. Especially sugar is a red rag for many and so you can find more and more sugar substitutes and sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, succralose, mannitol, sorbitol and many more in various foods.

These artificial sugar alternatives are not only used in confectionery. They are also contained in many processed products, beverages and so-called ‘light’ products. Sweeteners usually have a very low or even no calorie content, whereas sugar substitutes, with about 40% of the calorie count, are only reduced in calories compared to household sugar.

Consumers are often easily misled on this topic. Reduced-calorie products are usually understood as “healthy” and are therefore preferentially purchased and consumed. However, the consequences of excessive consumption of the sweeteners or sugar substitutes contained in them can be devastating for the body.

1. Food Cravings

Research has shown that sweeteners like saccharin lead to constant feelings of hunger. This is because when saccharin is ingested, the body believes it needs to metabolize sugar. But since there is no real sugar to metabolize for energy, the organism reacts with feelings of hunger.

In stock-breeding, saccharin is used as an appetite-stimulating fattening agent. In the human organism, its intake has a similar effect.[1]

The consequence of sweetener consumption can lead to eating more and the body is supplied with more energy than it needs. Thus, by consuming light products, more calories are often absorbed than would be the case if the same product containing conventional sugar were consumed.

2. Disturbance of the Intestinal Flora

Products sweetened with sweeteners often contain the statement that “excessive consumption may have a laxative effect”. One of the reasons for this is that the artificial substances can disturb the intestinal flora. Studies published by the German Medical Journal confirm that sweeteners negatively change the intestinal flora.[2] The intake of sweeteners causes bacteria to multiply, which can metabolize more dietary fiber. This produces short-chain fatty acids, which enter the bloodstream via the intestinal cells and – when there is no energy demand – are stored in fat cells.

Artificially produced sweeteners cannot be metabolized by the human organism. Their consumption contributes to the fact that the composition of the intestinal flora is changed. In the long run, this unbalances the metabolism. Weight gain, high blood pressure and other ailments can be promoted.

Metabolic Balance deliberately avoids the use of sugar and any kind of sugar substitutes. The body can cover its sugar requirements with fruit and vegetables. Sugar substitutes and sweeteners, which are produced with high technological input or exclusively artificially in the laboratory, have no place in a healthy and balanced diet, which consists mainly of unprocessed and natural foods.

The clear recommendation is to stay clear of light products and all foods enriched with sugar substitutes.

It is best to reduce sugar altogether. However, if you don’t want to give up cakes or desserts completely, you should definitely prepare them from scratch. By doing so the sugar content can be significantly reduced or the natural sweetness of fruits (e. g. dates) can be used.

[1] Bürkle, Silvia et al. (2015): „Ernährung macht’s möglich – Stress ade“, p. 59

[2] Süßstoffe: Studie belegt Störung von Darmflora und Glukosestoffwechsel