What is worse: sweetener or sugar?

This is an eternal problem of many people who care about their body: when you have craving for something sweet, is it better to choose a product sweetened with fattening table sugar or should I rather turn to stuffed with chemistry (that is: poisonous) sweetener? Opinions on this subject are so strongly divided that sometimes talks on this issue turn into arguments and fights the examples of which you can find on the Internet forums and various portals and articles. In this piece I will try to answer the above question and shed some more light on this intriguing subject.

The omnipresent sugar

Sucrose in its refined form (that is sugar from your sugar bowl) and its clones, such as glucose-fructose syrup are ubiquitous components of modern food. Interestingly, they are present not only in sweets and sweetened drinks, but also in many other foods which are widely considered to be "dietetic" and healthy. This refers, among others, to:

  • breakfast cereals - both for children and extremely popular muesli and granola-type inventions,
  • fruit yoghurt - few people are aware of the fact that in one glass of fruit yogurt there can be almost 40g (this equals 9 - 10 teaspoons) of sugars such as sucrose, and lactose!
  • ready-made sauces - both in powder and in jars, sometimes they are simply larded with sugars! On shelves you can find such products that almost in half consist of sucrose,
  • sausages - contrary to what you would expect, contemporary sausages are a source not only of preservatives and cheap fillers such as soy protein but also table sugar or glucose-fructose syrup,
  • bread - some rolls and breads contain quite a lot not only of salt but also of glucose-fructose syrup,
  • and many others (including and "light" products such as slimming shakes).

Sucrose's influence on your organism

Persons who prefer sugar over sweetener argue that in the end we need carbohydrates to function properly, they also mention that sugar "energizes", improves brain function (after all brain needs glucose), and that, as a matter of fact, sugar occurs naturally in foods (and sweeteners: do not). In fact, these statements are quite right. There is no doubt that carbohydrates, including sucrose (consisting of glucose and fructose), make an integral component of your diet, they have energetic properties, as also the fact is that your brain needs glucose. Only that you should not jump at too enthusiastic conclusions.

Refined sugars are not a "natural component of your diet"

First of all, from the point of view of our evolutionary history refined sugars are not a natural part of our diet. This is something that does not occur in nature. The carbohydrates we eat from immemorial times have always occurred in the company of fiber, phenolic compounds, water, and, importantly, their concentration was lower (based on weight of products) than in modern processed foods. Thus, another argument in favour of sugar - overthrown.

Sugar does not give you strength

Secondly, the argument regarding the "strengthening properties" of sugar has some limitation. Well, many people overestimate their energy expenses and caloric needs resulting from them. While a serving of refined sugars could be a good idea after a hard workout or during a marathon, it is quite unnecessary if your physical activity is limited to mild run in the park, especially if your accompanying problem is overweight or obesity.

Your brain will be satisfied with a portion of oatmeal

Thirdly, the argument of brain's needs for glucose is sometimes overestimated and incorrectly interpreted. In fact, the brain is able to fully satisfy its energy needs by providing carbohydrates in an amount of oatmeal with fruits. Besides, in case of sudden demand for this component your organism is capable of producing it on its own from non-sugar sources in a process called gluconeogenesis.