What is sugar free?
A sugar free diet is one that has little or no intake of the simplest forms of soluble carbohydrates. Although carbohydrates are common in all sorts of food – especially starchy ones – they are distinguished from sugars by not being so distinctively sweet. A number of different sugars are used in food production these days including glucose, fructose and galactose, although there are many more. A completely sugar free diet will attempt to avoid all of these. However, in the main, people who want to stop eating sugar are usually referring to abstaining from sucrose, a particular type of sugar that is found most commonly in a granulated form as table sugar. By simply not adding such sugar to beverages like tea and coffee is a good first step towards going sugar free.
Which substitutes help with sugar free diets?
There are plenty of different substitutes that taste sweet which can be used in place of sucrose and other sugars. Many have been developed in laboratory conditions. Aspartame is one of the best known. An early one which has been used for many decades is called saccharine. Stevia is a non-sugar sweetening agent that has been used for centuries. Sucralose is another alternative. This is now widely used in the food production industry as well as by makers of drinks.
Are sugar free substitutes healthy?
There are many plant-derived sugar free alternatives which many people believe are the healthiest options. These include sorbitol, stevia and brazzein, to name but three. However, because many sugar free sweeteners have been made in laboratories artificially, such as advantame and saccharin, people worry about their healthiness. Only approved sweeteners should be used in food products, and they must be thoroughly tested. That said, some long-term studies are needed to assess them fully. Indeed, some lab-made sugar free sweeteners have ended up being banned by the authorities after they were initially allowed. Dulcin and P-4000 are both cases in point.
Are sugar free drinks bad for your teeth?
Drinks that are free from sugar will not decay your tooth enamel at anything like the rate of sugary ones, especially when they are fizzy. Some sugar free alternatives, such as xylitol, can even be of benefit to teeth by helping to destroy the sort of oral bacteria that commonly feed on sugars in the mouth. However, just because a drink does not contain sugar, it does not mean it is good for your teeth. Acidic drinks may still cause harm, for example, and staining may still occur. That said, they tend to be better, generally speaking.
Why are sugar free options good for avoiding weight gain?
Sugars are easily stored in the human body because they are simple carbohydrates that need little energy to break down further. Overconsumption of them, therefore, can lead to fat deposits building up. The problem with sugar, however, is that it tastes so nice and is a principal ingredient in many dishes. As such, sugar free alternatives mean being able to enjoy the sweetness with fewer, if any, of the potential downsides with regards to unwanted weight gain.