Sugar Free Sweets – A Better Way to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Oh, heavenly sugar. Cultivated from the sugar cane, sugar beets, and other natural plant sources, how could it be bad for you? Well, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Sadly, aside from its pleasant taste, sugar has few redeeming qualities. It has no nutrients or fiber, is loaded with empty calories, and in excess, raises the blood sugar which can eventually lead to insulin resistance. This, along with the obesity it may contribute to, is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes which is now reaching epidemic proportions. All this seems to be good reason to limit sugar consumption or to choose sugar free sweets instead.

Most people already receive large amounts of sugar in the form of refined carbohydrates (starches), milk, fruits, and other foods. These foods at least have some nutritional value. But advanced technology in food processing and low cost has made it convenient and profitable for food manufacturers to use refined sugar liberally in packaged foods. These products entice buyers with their sweeter taste. Even foods we generally don’t think of as sweet, such as pasta sauces and bread, may be loaded with added sugar in one form or another. All this in addition to the vast quantities knowingly ingested in desserts, candy, and other sweet snacks. The body simply isn’t designed to process such large amounts of sugar, and excess consumption has led to a myriad of health problems. Obesity and diabetes aren’t the only negative effects of consuming too much sugar. Sugar may also contribute to reactive hypoglycemia, tooth decay, headaches including migraines, and indigestion. The negative health impacts of sugar are serious enough for many to try to ban the sale and availability of sugar-sweetened soft drinks in U.S. schools. The average 12 oz. sugar-sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 empty calories. It’s estimated that 56% to 85% of all children consume at least one 12 oz. soft drink per day in U.S. schools, and it’s believed that each 12 oz. sugar-sweetened soft drink consumed daily increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%.

The best option would be to start your kids off right in the first place by instilling healthy eating habits and limiting their sugar intake. But for those who’ve already acquired the taste for sugar, including the adults in the family, giving up all sweet desserts and snacks can be extremely difficult. Limiting sugar consumption to an occasional sweet treat probably isn’t too harmful, as long as it doesn’t lead to excess. But if you or a family member has already developed related health problems, even that may not be an option.

Fortunately, you may not have to give up all sweet foods. There have been great improvements in sugar substitutes in recent years. While there is still some controversy over the safety of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin, medical studies continue to test and scrutinize them. There are also many natural sugar substitutes available and in use in sugar free sweets on the market now, such as Stevia and sugar alcohols like sorbitol, though some may have some side effects of their own. With moderation, though, these sugar substitutes and products made with them, can allow you to enjoy some sweet treats again. In quality, taste, and selection, the options today can be very tempting, with delicious sugar free desserts, cookies, chocolates and other sweet delights to be had. Just be sure to read the labels to see that they meet your particular health requirements or concerns.