Articles on sugar substitute

Does Sugar Cause Cancer?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Sugar is a commonly used food additive. Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables, milk and honey. It is also added to other foods and beverages like sodas, juices, and desserts to sweeten them.Our brain requires sugar for proper functioning. So you would wonder why sugar is bad for us if it is so essential for the functioning of the brain. The problem arises when we consume more sugar than we need to, and even when that sugar is processed and not natural. In a recent study, excess sugar has been linked to cancer.How sugar effect cancer cells?Every cell in your body requires sugar (glucose) for energy. All cells in your body consume sugar as they grow and divide. But the problem arises when you consume more than you need to.In a recent study, it was found that high sugar levels in the body activated a gene responsible for cancer progression. High sugar levels in the intestine increase the activity of a protein known as Beta-Catenine. Increased activity of Beta-Catenine is known to be responsible for the development of many cancers. In fact, the activity of Beta-Catenine is strictly dependant on sugar levels.Basically, high sugar levels in the body lead to increased activity of Beta Catenine, which makes normal cells cancerous.Here are some tips regarding use of sugar which you need to watch out for to reduce your risk of cancer due to sugar consumption: • Check nutrition labels to help you avoid foods high in sugar. Here are some hidden “sugar” words to look out for: • fructose (natural sugar from fruits) • lactose (natural sugar from milk) • sucrose (made from fructose and glucose) • maltose (sugar made from grain) • glucose (simple sugar, product of photosynthesis) • dextrose (form of glucose) • Drink water or unsweetened fruit juice instead of soft drinks and juices. Try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water if you find it hard to give up sweetened sodas. • Gradually reduce the amount of sugar you add in your coffee or tea. • Have a piece of fruit when you’re craving something sweet. Have a slice of melon or fresh berries with a low-fat yogurt instead of cookies for a mid-afternoon snack. • Choose whole grain breakfast cereals that are not coated with sugar or honey. If you find it hard to get used to the new taste, try sprinkling a little bit of sugary cereal on top of your healthier option at first. Then use a little less each day. • Try using half the amount of sugar you would normally use in your recipes. It works for most things except jam, meringues and ice cream. • Choose natural sugars such as honey, molassess and fruits over artificial sweeteners. Natural sugars contain anti-oxidants which help to prevent cancer.Excess sugar consumption not only increases your risks of obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance, but even increases your risk for cancer. There is more and more reason to stay from processed and unnecessary sugar. 

7 Top Reasons to Kick Sugar Today

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do you have a sweet tooth? Are you always craving for something sweet to complete your meals? Try not to be overwhelmed when you learn about the basketful of harmful effects of sugar on your body. Honestly speaking, there is nothing sweet about sugar, in fact sugar is bitter and vengeful in all the ways it takes a toll on your body.The sugar found in our food is of two kinds mainly – sucrose and fructose. Sucrose or the table sugar increases blood sugar levels and initiates the pancreas to release insulin forces the sugar into cells, thus contributing to fat formation. Fructose on the other hand acts upon the liver and hence no insulin is secreted. But fructose is more detrimental to health as it releases the hormone for hunger – ghrelin making us hungrier; one continues to eat, leading to weight gain. Fructose is found in corn syrup which is used to sweeten most processed and packed foods.Here are top 7 reasons why you should get away from this addictive white powder:Sugar and cancer: Over consumption of sugar has been found to cause cancer. Studies have linked elevated blood sugar levels to cancers in women. Moreover, pancreatic cancer uses fructose to initiate a particular process that aids rapid cell division. Extra sugar present in the bloodstream feeds the cancer cells.Impact on liver: Sugar overdose hits the liver and causes the liver cells to bloat up and become fatter. This leads to liver complications and conditions like fatty liver disease. Research shows that extra calories fatten the liver cells first by 27% while external body gains hardly 2% of fat.Hurts your Heart: Excess sugar in the diet contributes to heart diseases and may even damage your arteries. Sugar is known to deplete good cholesterol levels in the blood.Prolonged exposure of the arterial inner walls to sugar causes it to get irritated and less responsive to body’s healing mechanisms. This results in malabsorption of oxygen and other nutrients into the cells.Addictive properties of Sugar: Sugar evokes addictive responses within our body which make us crave for it even more. It is a never-ending struggle that is triggered by the feel good hormones like dopamine in our body. However, the receptors that release dopamine weaken over time and hence need more sugar to get activated which leaves us wanting for more.Aids in ageing: Fructose especially contributes to ageing by boosting cell damage and causing cells to die faster. Sugars can also cause wrinkles as they are capable of breaking down the collagen and elastin of skin, which are responsible for the tightness and glow of the skin.Causes mental anxiety: Kicking back on sugar will help you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Excess sugars can also cause depression and reduce cognitive abilities like memory and so on.Bad teeth and bones: Sugar binds with the bacteria of the mouth to form acid that diminishes the quality of your teeth. Similarly, sugar works to deplete vital minerals like Calcium which causes osteoporosis and bone loss.Lastly, sugar directly leads to weight gain and diabetes, the silent killer.

7 More Reasons to Give Up Sugar

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Many of us are addicted to sugar and need some form of sugar every day. For most of us, sugar has become a mandatory food group and is a part of our daily diet. But we are not completely aware of the adverse effects of excess sugar consumption. Find below a list of some of the various adverse and negative side effects of excess sugar consumption.1.It accelerates aging according to one research. Sugar contains fructose, which is stronger than glucose in building up free radicals, due to which so many people across the world are facing health problems such as diabetes, heart ailments, etc. These ailments are detrimental to the body and ultimately accelerate aging.2. Daily overdose of sugar leads to ‘browning’ or ‘rusting’ of tissues. Overdosing of sugar will not only affect age but also lead to browning of tissues due to internal chemical reactions in our body, which proves to be harmful for our health.3. Excessive sugar intake will affect our hormonal system and balance. Sugar contains fructose , which if consumed in large quantities tricks our brain into believing that we haven’t eaten enough, even when we actually have. This leads to overeating and unnecessary cravings.4. Eating a diet high in refined sugar is a leading cause of obesity. Sugar is directly converted to fat by your body, and the more sugar you eat, the fatter you will be. Many people think that eating fatty food is the main cause of weight gain. But that is not true. Sugar is the main cause for fat gain, for most people.5. Sugar destroys your teeth and gums. The combination of sugar, saliva, and bacteria creates the perfect recipe for tooth decay. So, try to avoid consumption of sugar to maintain oral health.6. Sugar makes you fat and sick. When we eat sugar (actually, any refined carbohydrates) it gets turned into glucose. Excessive glucose converts into triglycerides in our livers and is then stored in fat cells. Sugar makes us fat. Again, as you can see, it isn’t necessarily dietary fat that makes us fat. It’s most likely sugar.7. Sugar leads to malnourishment. Sugar leeches minerals from the body and makes you over-weight. You become simultaneously malnourished and fat.To avoid excessive consumption of sugar, do read nutrition labels before buying packaged foods. Control sugar intake with cautious and smart grocery shopping.

Your Brain Knows the Difference Between Real Sugar & Sugar Free Food

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
In today’s lifestyle, it has become a fad to substitute regular food with zero or low-caloric food products just to save a few calories. The most common is the use of sugar-free or artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. It seems logical to replace a sugar-loaded or based food item with a low calorie version of it, and which should automatically lead to weight loss. But according to many researchers, it’s been shown that such sugar-free foods are actually making you fat as compared to real sugar. Let’s see how artificial sweeteners make you fat.Sugar and sweeteners don’t chemically resemble each other; they belong to different classes of substances. Sugars are simple carbohydrates or glucose and are easily metabolized to energy. But sweeteners are prepared by synthetic procedure and act as a food additive for the sweetening effect. They are calorie-free or low-calorie but are up to 450 times sweeter than real sugar because they are made up of sweet-tasting compounds.When sugar is metabolized by the body cells, levels of dopamine hormone (a neuro-transmitter) rise, which leads to the feeling of satisfaction and satiety value. It sends a signal to the brain that the body’s energy needs are met. But when artificial sweetener is consumed, the brain keeps on waiting for the calories to come; it causes a drop in blood sugar which triggers hunger and cravings for more food. People are not metabolically satisfied after consuming them. Artificial sweeteners are also know to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and Leptin hormones that are involved with satiety and fat storage, and may therefore lead to weight gain.So, next time think twice before reaching for your artificial sweetener. Instead eat the real thing but keep a check on the quantity. Instead of having two teaspoons of sugar in your tea, try one. Or you can switch to more natural sources like fruits to satisfy your sugar cravings without compromising on your health.

Side Effects Of Artificial Sweetner On Your Health

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Weight Gain Artificial sweeteners increase your appetite thus increasing calorie consumption, which ultimately leads to weight gain. You tend to eat larger portions when you eat foods with artificial sweeteners. Most of the foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners are high in carbohydrates.Diabetes Artificial sweeteners may disrupt body's ability to regulate blood sugar, causing metabolic changes that can be a precursor to diabetes. According to the recent reports, too much consumption of artificial sweeteners instead of sugar is one of the major causes of diabetes.High Blood pressure and cardiovascular disease The risk for coronary heart disease gets significantly elevated in those who consume more than two artificially-sweetened beverages a day. It has the same effect as sugar sweetened foods. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.Metabolic Syndrome Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that commonly include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, and increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and other diseases. It has been observed that people consuming artificial sweeteners on regular basis have a double risk of contracting metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.Taste buds become dull Artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than regular table sugar. The exposure of your taste buds to such high intensity of sweetness makes them less receptive to naturally occurring sweet foods, such as fruits. Also, when your taste buds become dull, you tend to seek out sweeter foods to satiate your sweet cravings.If you are really looking for a sugar substitute, then it’s always better to go for natural sweeteners like honey. They will provide taste without being a potential hazard for your health.

Love Sugar? Now, There Is a Zero-Calorie, Healthy Substitute

Dr. Shreya, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Sugar is one thing that we can find in every kitchen all around the globe. But with unhealthy eating habits, diabetes has become very common ailment in the society. India is among top 3 countries in regards to the total number of diabetic patients. With Indians being more vulnerable towards sweet, refined sugar finds its way in every dish that they consume. However, it is the same refined sugar that is the leading cause for diabetes and even obesity. There are several artificial sweeteners available in the market but they are even more dangerous if consumed on regular basis.There is, however, respite because research has discovered a 100% naturally occurring zero calorie sweetener which is called Stevia. Scientifically called Stevia rebaudiana, is a South American plant of the Asteraceae family, which also includes sunflowers and chrysanthemums. Native to Paraguay, Stevia has traditionally been used to sweeten beverages and make tea. The term “stevia” refers to the entire plant and its components, but it is only some parts that are sweet in taste.Stevia sweeteners do not add carbohydrates or calories to the diet and do not affect blood glucose or insulin. This means that even a diabetic can consume it without harming their health.  Without sacrificing taste, the plant based sweetener also reduces energy intake. Moreover, the plant also has many health benefits for children. This means that all those unhealthy sweets, and beverages can be made with stevia and parents do not have to worry about calorie content, or even sugar rush.Regulatory health agencies have approved the use of stevia leaf extract for special people like pregnant women, nursing women and people with allergies. Stevia is proven to be helpful to regulate heartbeat and maintain balanced pressure of blood in the body.

How Sugar Is Deteriorating Your Body

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Is sugar really that bad? Sugar has continued to play an increasingly important role in our food industry. It’s not just sugary foods, but sugar has made its way into practically everything we eat. You can become addicted to sugar. Refined sugar in particular provides only empty calories and lacks all the essential and natural nutrients that the body requires.Here is how sugar deteriorates your body:1. Sugar makes you fatA high sugar diet makes the liver store fat more efficiently and overtime it could lead to the deposition of fat globules in the liver and other parts of your body, which makes you gain weight.2. Sugar affects your Insulin levelsSugar is high on the glycemic index because of which it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin production. High intake of sugar stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to lower the blood sugar levels. Excess of Insulin in the body promotes fat storage.3. Sugar weakens your Immune systemSugar directly impacts the immune response. White blood cells accumulate Vitamin C in order to consume virus, bacteria or cancer cells but when we get overloaded with sugar, then white blood cells accumulate glucose and leave little room inside the cell, as Vitamin C and sugar have similar structures. Therefore, sugar slows your immune system down.4. Sugar reduces good cholesterol and raises bad cholesterolEmpty calories in sugar increase your risk of having high cholesterol. It raises the bad cholesterol, saturated fats and trans-fatty acids in the body which lead to heart diseases.5. Sugar leads to Type-3 diabetesSuzanne de lo Monte, a neuropathologist at Brown University had discovered the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets and Alzheimer’s disease. In this type of diabetes, the insulin levels gets blocked in the brain due to which the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged.6. Sugar turns you into junkieEating sugar triggers the release of hormones like opioids and dopamine that makes your brain feel ‘pleasure’ and provides you a satiety value, due to which you will always look for junk food or high sugar foods.

11 Foods That Sneak Sugar Into Your Diet

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
We all know sweets, chocolates, candies, ice creams and sweetened food contain high levels of sugar and therefore stay away from them as much as we can. Sugar is addictive and is a source of instant energy. But eating too much sugar is unhealthy and leads to excess fat storage and increase of insulin.Although we limit ourselves from the most obvious forms of sugar there might be 'sugar coated' ways that you are consuming sugar. Here are a few example of not so healthy ways that we might be consuming sugar without really being aware.Cereal Puffs: Regular v/s non coated cereals. The market is flooded with different flavored cereals like choco wheat puffs, honey puffs, flavoured muesli. Because of their wheat and muesli content one believes them to be healthy and overlooks the sugarcoating on the cereals. This is hidden sugar that adds up your waistline without you even realizing it. Stick to non-flavored cereals as they are the healthier option.Flavored Yoghurt: We get varieties in yoghurts and different flavours too. Sweetened yogurt is commonly available these days which contains added sugar in it, which may not be healthy. Best is to stick to the most original flavor of yogurt and enjoy it.Jams: Commercially packed jams have quite a high percentage of sugar in it finding space into your meals on breads and toast. Try consuming it in moderation or opt for one prepared in your house with less sugar.Commercially Packed Juices: Commercially packed juices are not so healthy as portrayed. They are prepared from fruit concentrates or prepared with water, sugar and fruit pulp with additives to preserve it. The sugar level is pretty high as compared to its natural form and thus not so healthy. Stay away from the fruit squashes, crushes and fruit syrups as they have more sugar than packaged juices.Malted Drink Supplements: Malted drink supplements are sold on the basis of nutrition, but they contain sugar. That's how they taste sweet. Skip them if you're trying to avoid sugar.Honey: Honey is a natural source of sugar but its still sugar. Honey contains nutrition and thus has health benefits, but don't let those trick you in to eating too much honey.Peanut Butter: Peanuts are great for health. So peanut butter is also supposed to be healthy. But peanut butter that is sold commercially contains a varying amount of sugar.Granola Bars: A study showed that some granola bars contain as much sugar as chocolates. So, choose wisely, and not all granola bars are healthy.Ketchup: The most ubiquitous dressing of all time- the primary ingredient for ketchup is sugar besides tomatoes. So, while tomatoes in ketchup are heart healthy, all that sugar and preservatives aren't so healthy.Salad/Sandwich Dressings: Most dressings either are high in sugar or in fat. That's what gives the flavour to your salad or sandwich. Check if your salad is healthy.Biscuits: Last but not the least, some people eat biscuits assuming that it can help you snack light and potentially lose weight. But they have their share of sugar. See how biscuits slow down your weight loss.Learn to read the nutrition labels correctly so you can read the sugar content present in it to check whether it is healthy for you or not. Include sugar, glucose, sucrose, inverted sugar and corn syrup as not so healthy components. Consume sugar through the natural form as present in fruit and vegetables.

Does Sugar in Fruits Cause Weight Gain?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Fruits contain sugar in the form of fructose and glucose, in addition to essential minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins. Your body uses both fructose and glucose as an energy source, providing fuel for your daily activities and general body function.Fructose is also found in table sugar. Since consumption of sugar is closely related to weight gain, many people wonder if fruits are on the approved list of weight loss foods. To figure this one out, we’ll take a step-by-step look at this.Why do people believe that fruits make you fat?Some people believe that the sugar content in fruits, in the form of fructose might cause weight gain or other health issues. And they are not entirely incorrect in their beliefs about fructose, because according to research, fructose increases insulin resistance, blood cholesterol, abdominal fat gain, and raises the levels of hunger promoting hormone ghrelin. But the truth is fructose is only harmful in large amounts and it is almost impossible to overeat fructose by eating fruit.The amount of fructose in fruits is considerably lower than that found in beverages like soda and soft drinks. A study found that people who eat higher servings of fruits have lower BMI’s, even lower than people who consume more vegetables. Researchers believe that this might be because fruits tend to have fewer calories than other artificially sweetened foods besides being more nutritionally denseEating fruits don’t make you fat. Excess calories cause weight gain. So if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. But newer studies show that consuming more produce (fruits and vegetables) in your diet is linked to lower abdominal and body fat percentage while maintaining the same calorie intake. This clearly indicates that the quality of your calorie intake is key to weight loss and long term health.So, how do fruits assist in weight loss or long term health?Fresh fruits offer much more than just sugar – water, vitamins, minerals, fiber,antioxidants, etc.Increase satiety and fullness: The water and fiber content of fruits considerably increases levels of fullness. This leads to lower calorie intake through the day, assisting in weight loss and fat loss. Fruits cut out cravings for unhealthy foods.Lower sugar content: Fruits are great replacements to unhealthy sugar treats and high calorie foods. They contain considerably less sugar, a fraction of the calories, and provide higher satiety. This helps in controlling calorie intake and fat gain.Increases energy, endurance: A fruit before your workout can give you a huge energy boost. A study showed that bananas were more effective than sports drinks in boosting performance before an intense cycling session. Eating a bananas may cause a boost in dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for improved mood and movement.Moreover, fruits contain vitamins and antioxidants which are not found in sports or energy drinks. With more energy and stamina, you will be more active through the day and during your workouts, helping you burn more calories.Improved Digestion: The high fiber content of fruits improves digestion, leading to better absorption of nutrients and improved health. Good digestion is even responsible for prevention of many other diseases.FightsCancer: The vitamins, mineral and antioxidants in fruits fight cancer causing cells. For example, Mangoes have been shown to stop the growth of breast and colon cancer cells.Additional benefits: Fruit consumption improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, prevents skin damage from sun light and pollutants, makes you look younger and more attractive by imparting a natural skin glow and prevents and controls various metabolic diseases.Do all fruits help in losing weight?Excess calories cause weight gain. So if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.There are a wide range of fruits available. To maximize benefits, consume a variety of fruits. Different fruits have different vitamins, calorie content,antioxidants and health benefits.If you are trying to lose weight, try to choose fruits with low to medium glycemic index. If you are suffering from diabetes, consuming fruits with low glycemic index will help control blood glucose levels. But there some exceptions such as Guavas, which are great for health despite their high glycemic index, because of their high nutritional value.The best way to control unhealthy fat gain is to follow a balanced,healthy diet. Health authorities like WHO, ICMR state that 3 servings of fruit are the daily recommendation for a healthy individual.Find below some examples of fruits and their nutritional value1 medium apple contains 95 calories, 4.4 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar and a lowGlycemic Index of 381 medium Orange contain 47 calories, 2.4grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and a low Glycemic Index of 32 1medium Guava contains 37 calories, 3 grams fiber, 4.91 grams of sugar, and a Glycemic Index of 78.Does this mean that even fruit juices assist in weight loss? Processed fruit juices are often loaded with processed sugar and other artificial additives to make them taste better and to increase shelf life. Fruit juices lack the essential fiber content of whole fruits. Also, fruit juices don’t have all the vitamins, mineral and antioxidants found in whole fruits, since they get reduced while being processed. Infact, processed fruit juices can make you gain weight, since they contain high sugar and no fiber, spiking blood sugar levels and subsequent increasing unnecessary cravings for unhealthy food. Fresh fruit juices are slightly better since they don’t have preservatives and might have more fiber, but eating whole fruits is recommended for maximum benefit.