Nutrition Hotline: Artificial Sweeteners?

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Nutrition Hotline: Artificial Sweeteners?

Q: I crave sugar a lot. Should I be avoiding it and using artificial sweeteners instead?

A: For some people, consuming high sugar foods by themselves may lead to a spike in insulin, which then causes low blood sugar and more cravings for sugar. Try having sweets at the end of a meal when you are already full and satisfied. Or combine foods to balance the effects of the sugar, such as pairing milk, which contains protein, with your cookies.

As for artificial sweeteners, I would avoid them as there is a fair amount of research suggesting that they may cause insulin resistance and sugar cravings. As a tabletop sweetener, I would use small amounts of pure floral honey, agave nectar or fructose instead, as they are low glycemic and will not spike your blood sugar. If those products trigger bingeing, try stevia, a sweet herb now widely available under the brand names Truvia and PureVia.

By Diane Keddy, MS, RD 
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Spring 2009 Volume 7, Number 2
©2009 Gürze Books

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