A guide to sweeteners, or Why is it better to choose white sugar if you want something sweet

More than one scientific treatise has been written about the dangers of sugar – its excessive use causes inflammatory processes in the intestines, provokes dysbiosis, destroys collagen, accelerating the aging process of the skin. Healthy eating advocates are replacing killer crystals with healthier alternatives. But are they safe? Let’s figure it out. A guide to sugar substitutes from nutritionist Oksana Matiyuk.

Oksana Matiyuk


Just like sugar, sweeteners can negatively affect the body. And this is not only about aspartame, which has long been anathema to doctors. Fructose, stevia and even agave syrup can cause excess weight by increasing the process of lipogenesis – the formation of fatty acids. All sugar substitutes are divided into two types: natural – glucose, fructose, sorbitol, xylitol and others, and synthetic – saccharin, aspartame, cyclamate and others. There is another category – reduced calorie sweetened (sugar alcohols). But they all have one thing in common: sugar substitutes do not cause a spike in blood sugar. But are they really that safe? I will tell you about some sweeteners in more detail.


Aspartame was invented over 50 years ago. This substance is 200 times sweeter than sugar, has an energy value of 4 kcal and is produced under various trademarks – mainly in the form of small tablets. It would seem that you don’t want to eat. If not for a few fat “buts”. The first is decomposition by high temperature. If you add a sweetener to tea, it releases methanol, a poisonous alcohol. This sweetener is extremely harmful to the nervous system – it causes migraines, headaches, insomnia. Look for it in food products under the “code name” E951. Despite the harm of aspartame, it is not prohibited in the post-Soviet countries in Europe and the United States. But the amount of permissible consumption is not more than 40 mg per 1 kg of weight.

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These small sweet tablets are found in every store (1 tablet = 1 spoonful of sugar). They are made from cyclamen and saccharin – substances synthesized artificially with a difference of 10 years. This sweetener is prescribed by a diabetic – it is not absorbed by the body and is excreted through the kidneys, without causing a jump in blood glucose. It has no glycemic index. It is a mistake to think that Susli can help you lose weight. For a completely healthy person, this sweetener can have the exact opposite effect. You can not use it uncontrollably.

A guide to sweeteners, or Why is it better to choose white sugar if you want something sweet

Agave and Jerusalem artichoke syrups

I want to emphasize one important feature. When we talk about sweeteners, we cannot equate safe and healthy. All of these foods lack vitamins and minerals in sufficient quantities. Remember this! As for syrups, they have a fairly low glycemic index (agave syrup – 15-30, Jerusalem artichoke -15), but these sweetened ones are 90% fructose – see the previous paragraph.


Sorbitol is a sweet alcohol that is obtained from rowan fruits, fruits and berries. It is it that is used on an industrial scale for the production of ascorbic acid. Sorbitol crystals are white, readily soluble in water. The energy value is 1.5 times higher than the energy value of sugar. As in the case of fructose, it can be used in a limited way – 30-40 g per day. If you use more, you run the risk of developing an upset from the gastrointestinal tract. Sorbitol is labeled on packaging as a food additive E420. It is not recommended to be eaten every day.

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A guide to sweeteners, or Why is it better to choose white sugar if you want something sweet


The energy value of fructose is 32 kcal per 1 teaspoon. It is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and does not cause insulin spikes. But, unlike refined sugar, it is processed into baking not into glycogen – a source of energy, but into fat. Excessive consumption of fructose can also cause eating disorders, hormonal disruption and constant hunger. A dose of 30 g per day is considered safe.


This sweetener is found in almost every recipe. It is obtained from the leaves of a perennial plant of the Astrov family, which includes 260 species of grasses and shrubs. Stevia has a glycemic index of zero, but is 25 times sweeter than sugar. A safe dose of this sazharomeshitel is 2 mg per 1 kg of body weight.


Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from birch and corn. It is actively used in diabetic nutrition, and is also recommended for those who have problems with teeth and gums. It is labeled as E967 in food products. Xylitol has 40% fewer calories than white sugar and has a very low glycemic index. It is found in berries, fruits, and hardwood. The recommended daily dose is up to 15 g per day.

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