Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners: Which Is Healthier and Safer?

Ever do the sugar-or-sweetener cha-cha-cha at the coffee shop? You know, when you dance between the sugar shaker and the pink, blue, and yellow packets? If this were a cartoon strip, the thought bubble over your head would read, “What’s the more healthful choice? The no-calorie fakes? The full-calorie hard stuff? Help!”

It’s like choosing between raising taxes and increasing the national debt. Pick your poison. Okay, neither sugar nor sweeteners are poison if they’re eaten in reasonable quantities, but that’s our point. There’s nothing reasonable about the amount of sugars and syrups in all kinds of foods, from bagels to frozen veggie mixes. The effect of these added sugars? Imagine eating 22 teaspoons of sugar for breakfast every day. That’s average for Americans. Canadians average 14 teaspoons of sugar a day.

“What that does to your health reads like a dirty laundry list. Research shows it lowers HDL (good) cholesterol and raises bad triglycerides. It also gloms onto proteins that create destructive substances called AGEs (short for advanced glycation end products). These set you up for heart disease, stiff joints, wrinkles, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney problems, bone fractures, and vision loss.

So, minimize your sugar intake. Here are their 3 tips:

  1. If you drink regular soda, diet is a better choice. No soda is the best choice.
  2. If you suspect sugar is in something, trust your instincts.
  3. If you love dessert, go for Mother Nature’s original treat: fruit.


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