Fifty grams. That’s the daily cap on added sugar recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the average American. And unfortunately, it’s easy to not only meet that cap but skyrocket past it. Many of our favorite, beverages, condiments, and snacks or loaded with added sugar. Seriously, just grab a few bags off the grocery store shelves and look at how much of the stuff is added into just about everything we eat.
On the flip side, artificial and natural sugar alternatives can help kick sugar cravings and still deliver those sweet sensations our tastebuds so desperately desire—without the consequences.
“The brain gets a reward or sweet response from sweeteners,” says Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., and director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition. “Generally when people replace sugary beverages with artificially sweetened ones, they eat less sugar, fewer calories and lose weight.”
You might be saying to yourself, “Well I just stay away from anything that has sugar in it.” It’s not actually that simple.
The FDA labels, “high-intensity” artificial sweeteners such as asparatame and sucralose as food additives. Of these types, St. Pierre says, “there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence of health issues but the scientific evidence doesn’t show many negative effects.”
Sugar alcohols, such as erythritol and xylitol, are low-calorie carbohydrates found in plants processed for sale as table sugar substitutes. Refined stevia and monk fruit extract are natural sweeteners generally regarded as safe.
If you’re looking to rid your diet of sugar, try one the natural sweeteners below.