We get asked this a lot… is having an non-sugar sweetener in your hot drink instead of sugar or the diet version of a fizzy drink a better option than the normal version?
Well, yes and no.
The research shows that those who take sugar in hot drinks and drink sugary drinks carry more fat (especially around the mid-section) than those who opt for sweeteners and diet versions.
In fact one study by Boston University found that those that drank sugary drinks gained an average of 10 pounds over the course of the study.
So, avoid the sugar. So far so common sense.
However other studies have shown that non-sugar substitutes, whether “natural” like stevia, or artificial, like sucaralose and aspartame, can still negatively affect insulin levels (causing a sugar response spike due to their sweetness), disrupt blood sugar levels and impact gut bacteria.
A new study by the Keck School of Medicine, at the University of Southern California, into sucralose, found that it may actually increase food cravings and stimulate the appetite – more so in those that are already obese.
What’s the take-away for your body goals and health?
Well, if you’re currently adding sugar to your tea and coffee, start by switching to a sweetener as you are reducing the overall calories.
If you’re drinking normal versions of fizzy drinks, switch to diet for the same reason.
Over time though, look to reduce the amount of sweetener your adding to drinks to train your palate, and start to drink less canned and bottled flavoured drinks, and start drinking more water.
You want to get to a place where you’re taking hot drinks with no sweeteners, and drinking mainly water with the odd can here and there.
Remember this is just part of a whole process, involving movement, nutrition and lifestyle choices, but small changes add up over time.
Oh, and that’s me a with a non-diet beer as a reminder, we also need to enjoy ourselves 😉
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