Last week I shared with you some of the top 10 sweeteners myths and I set the record straight with the facts. Here are the rest of the top 10 list.
- High fructose corn syrup is much worse for the body than table sugar (sucrose). This myth that some sugars are better for you than others has been disproved by many studies that have looked at the effect of sugars on levels of blood glucose, insulin, ghrelin (a hormone that increases appetite), leptin (a hormone that decreases appetite), and triglycerides. The result: there were no significant differences in the metabolic effects of HFCS and sugar.
- Foods sweetened with sugar are healthier than foods with HFCS. As I mentioned in last week’s post, HFCS and sucrose are nearly identical in composition — ~50% fructose and ~50% glucose. They both provide 4 calories/gram. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream they deliver the same sugars within the same time frame and to the same metabolic pathways.
- Obesity is caused primarily by HFCS. This myth makes me crazy! In my opinion, no one thing is the primary cause of obesity. In fact, since 1970, energy (calorie) intake has increased by 515 calories/day, whereas sweetener intake has only increased by 58 calories/day. Clearly sweeteners do not deserve all of the blame. Most of the increased calories come from added fats, flour, and cereal products. Keep in mind that weight gain is due to the imbalance of calories in vs. calories out. We need healthier diets, but people also need to get up and exercise!
- Sugar is natural, other sweeteners are too processed. Table sugar comes from sugar canes, beet sugar comes from beets, HFCS (now being called corn sugar) comes from corn, etc. All of these are natural, unprocessed ingredients.
- The body does not handle all sugars the same way. Experts agree that all sugars are nutritionally the same and that the body handles them in the same way. Multiple studies in 2007 tested the effect of beverages sweetened with sucrose and HFCS on fullness and found that the effect was similar for both beverages.
The bottom line from these myths is that sweeteners are all relatively equal and one should not be deemed worse or better than another. Sweetened foods should be enjoyed in moderation and the primary focus of one’s healthy diet should be fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
Has your opinion of sweeteners changed from reading these myths and truths?