Numerous studies associated sugar intake with cardiovascular disease, increased aging, obesity and even cancer. Because of that people believe that they lower their risk of those health issues by avoiding sugar and drinking sugar-free diet soda. However, according to the experts, these drinks are harmful and can elevate the risk of stroke and dementia as well as type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and leukemia.
The research of the American Heart Association, which involved 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 showed that artificial sweeteners used in diet drinks can elevate the risk of stroke and dementia. The finding confirms that only one artificially sweetened drink daily can increase nearly three times the risk of a stroke or develop dementia.
Researchers were focused on investigating the effects of the sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharine, and sucralose on the levels of blood sugar. They found that it increases the risk of health issues two to four times, depending on their intestinal flora. The people who consumed the largest amount of artificial sweeteners faced most problems to control blood sugar levels, and they were more prone to diabetes.
Aspartame is found in more than 6,000 products worldwide and is the most commonly used artificial sweetener in the US, especially in soda products. According to the experts, about 75% of the side effects to the food additives are attributed to aspartame (ranged from mild to severe), including headaches, seizures, and even deaths, which is due to the effects of the aspartame, as it is breaking down into formaldehyde in the body. The formaldehyde is extremely toxic, especially in larger quantities.
The studies, also have found a link between aspartame and depression, brain damage, kidney damage, and heart attacks, as well as increased risk of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
To avoid any of above-mentioned health problems because of the using artificial sweeteners it would be much better to turn to some healthier alternatives, such as the following:
Honey is a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes so it can be used for sweetening desserts and drinks.
- Molasses (treacle)
Molasses is a dark brown syrup is a rich source of calcium, potassium, iron, and B vitamins. It is used for baked goods, baked beans, and barbecue sauces.
A naturally sweet taste of the leaves of the stevia plant, and very low amount of calories, and numerous medicinal properties make it one of the most appropriate alternatives of sugar. It can be used in powder, concentrated liquid, but also can be added fresh leaves to a cup of tea.
How to prepare Stevia extract: – Add 1 cup of warm water to 1/3 cup fresh finely chopped stevia leaves. Infuse the mixture for 24 hours, strain, and refrigerate it. Use this extract to sweeten drinks.
- Date Sugar
It is made from the chopped dry dates and is sweeter than regular or brown sugar. The date sugar is great in baked goods and can be sprinkled on the top of plain yogurt and fruits, waffles or pancakes.
- Maple Syrup
Maple syrup contains powerful medicinal properties, because of its high amount of manganese, zinc, calcium. It has the ability to boost heart health, male fertility, insulin sensitivity, and prevents prostate enlargement.
People used it as an addition to marinades, porridges, coffee, tea, as well as to sweet potato mash.
- Real Fruit Jam
The sugar can be replaced by adding berries, stone fruit, pears, apples, and grapes in many recipes. The ratio of replacing should be one-to-one.
Homemade fresh jam recipe: mix ½ cup water with four cups of some fruit or berry in a saucepan. Simmer the mixture until the fruit has broken down and has started to thicken. When it enough thickens puree it in a food processor.
- Monk Fruit
This fruit doesn’t contain calories and is not affecting blood sugar. It is used as an addition to cookies, cheesecakes, smoothies, and cocktails.
- Balsamic Glaze
It is a rich source of enzymes and antioxidants and can be purchased in natural health food and gourmet stores.
Homemade balsamic glaze: simmer two cups of balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat, stirring it frequently, until it’s reduced to ½ cup. Then cool it. It can be drizzled over grilled wild-caught salmon, over fresh berries or raw cheese.
- Brown Rice Syrup
Brown rice syrup is ideal when added instead of corn syrup and other unhealthy sweeteners in recipes.
It is used instead of corn syrup, in a one-to-one ratio. If you use it to replace regularly processed white sugar, use one cup for each cup of sugar. It is a perfect addition in the fruit and nut pies, granola clusters, and granola bars.
- Banana Puree
Bananas can be used as a natural sweetener and prove you a high amount of potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C. Add overripe bananas sugar in recipes, and for every cup of sugar called for in a recipe, use one cup of banana puree.
The puree is made by adding bananas to a food processor with a tablespoon of water and blending them.