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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Borer

Why Sugar-Free Isn't Always Healthy

I’m about to go off on a full fledge rant here today. Please keep in mind that these are my opinions!

Are you ready? The topic today is sugar-free products.

I do not understand why people still think that these products are healthy. In what world are foods that have had their naturally occurring fat and calories taken away, only to be replaced by chemical that mess with our brains, metabolism, and bodies, healthy??

Honestly, these foods are the furthest from healthy we can get. No, they don't help you lose weight or become healthier in the long run, despite what you've been told repeatedly over the years. Rather, they contain artificial sweeteners that aren’t recognized by our bodies. Have you ever wondered why artificial sweeteners contain zero calories? That’s the reason: our bodies do not recognize these chemicals as food.

Why are these sugar-free products so popular? It all began when fat was demonized in the 1980s. Fat makes us fat, right? WRONG. That’s what we’ve always been told, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. So, food manufacturers took out the fat and replaced it with sugar. Problem solved, right?

Nope. Not even close. Now that fat had been replaced by sugar, sugar was put under fire after we realized that excess sugar wasn't good for us either (shocker, I know). Our solution? Replace the sugar with artificial sugars! They have zero calories and are often 300 times sweeter than sugar! A win-win situation, right?

Wrong again.

Food manufacturers have worked for the past few decades to create more and more sugar-free products to appeal to customers. And what has happened alongside? Obesity rates have sky rocketed, and Americans are sicker and unhealthier than ever. Obviously, something isn’t working with our current system, and these sugar-free chemical-laden products aren’t the solution; they are part of the problem.

These sugar-free “foods” (should they even be called food?? I think NOT) have had their original fat, sugar, and calories chemically removed in order for salt, artificial sweeteners, and other stabilizing chemicals to be added back. Examples include sugar-free yogurt, syrup, pudding, jello, drinks, and so much more. Yes, these foods have zero calories, but really, calories are energy and fuel for our bodies. We need calories to survive, so by feeding ourselves a ton of low or no calorie foods, we are basically starving our bodies of energy, fuel, and nutrients. Wonder why you are so tired at 3pm every day? Your poor body is underfed, undernourished, and craving energy!

Those last two sentences were really, really important. Go back and read them again if you need to!

When we eat, our body naturally thinks that it is going to receive energy in the form of calories (protein, carbs, or fat) and nutrients (in the form of vitamins and minerals). However, when we give our bodies stimulation in the form of processed, sugar-free, low calorie products, our body responds with cravings and hunger. Why? Because it hasn’t been properly fed or fueled by the crappy processed products!

Think about it: have you ever been truly satisfied or full by sugar-free jello?? I didn’t think so. So, as a result of our consumption of sugar-free products, our body responds by craving more sugar because it needs quick energy to get by until its next sugar fix.

But, if we feed and nourish our body with real, whole food, our body becomes satiated naturally, and our cravings begin to subside. Our body learns to function off of real food (the way it always was in the past before the dawn of food products) and begins to heal. We start to have more energy, more life, and more health.

It may take time to adjust your body to real food. Take it one day at a time, one step at a time. Don’t feel like you have to go “cold turkey” and switch 110% over to a real food diet. Although this approach may work for some, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Instead, I encourage you to start small. Buy full fat, plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh berries. Ditch the fancy, sugary drinks for water flavored with lemon, lime, and strawberries (make it yourself by filling a pitcher of water and adding a few slices of each!). Throw out the sugar-free jello and pudding and make your own with semi-frozen bananas. The possibilities are endless!

Alright, my rant is almost over. My hope today is that you will start to question all of those sugar-free, low-fat, low-calories snacks that line the supermarket shelves. Instead, stick to the borders of the grocery store. Stock up on fresh and frozen produce, meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocados. Leave those chemical products where they belong: on the shelves!

Questions, comments, concerns? Please let me know in the comments or through my contact form! Or, come over to the (new!) Facebook page and leave a comment!

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