Sweeteners on the Dukan Diet
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There are so many different kinds of artificial sweeteners today. Are there really any differences between them and how do they affect your diet? First, you need to understand how sugar substitutes and your brain work together. The human body is designed to expect calories when you eat something sweet. When you trick it by ingesting artificial sweeteners, the long term effects might not be that favourable. Your metabolism can be thrown off because of the lack of caloric intake and you may actually end up craving more food.

Studies have shown that consuming too many foods with artificial sweeteners can not only lead to weight gain and obesity, but can wreak havoc on your internal sweetness monitor. You will crave more sweets and calories and still not feel sated. It is not a matter of feeling full, but fulfilling that harsh taskmaster - your sweet tooth.

Back when we were foraging for food (not at the supermarket) we learned that foods that were sweet were usually a good source of calories and energy. Now, some researchers are saying that consuming too many artificial sweeteners is damaging our natural ability to compensate for the calories in our food. It would appear that we have become a nation of calorie compensators!

Sugar Substitutes on the Dukan Diet

Despite all the negatives surrounding sweeteners, they can be put to good use. Dr. Dukan is a big advocate of using them, as they can help you stick to the diet where otherwise your sweet cravings would cause you to give up.

On the Dukan Diet you are not allowed sugar or any fructose-based sugar substitutes. However, there are many other types of sweeteners, artificial and natural, that may work better for you. Some are more organic than others, but all pack quite a sweet wallop when it comes to actual sweetness. The idea is that you will use less for the same effect.

They can differ in taste (they can leave that strange after-taste in your mouth) and how your body responds to them, so if you are having trouble with one brand it's worth exploring a few other ones.

Sweetness factor

Part of the appeal of sweeteners (and why they are so low in calories) is that you need a lot less of them to achieve the same sweetness level.

  • Aspartame - 200 times sweeter than sugar
  • Saccharin - 200-700 sweeter
  • Sucralose - 600 times sweeter
  • Stevia Leaf - 300 times sweeter

Know Your Brand Names!

Aspartame is a chemically engineered substance that cannot withstand heat. Therefore, you will usually find it in diet soda, pudding, yogurt, and Jell-O. Major brands include NutraSweet and Equal.

Saccharin is another product of chemistry that can be used in cooking. It is also found in soft drinks, baked goods and frozen desserts. Sugar Twin and Sweet 'N Low are saccharin products.

Sucralose is made from sugar, not chemicals, and can be used in baking or beverages. The most common sucralose product is Splenda.

Stevia comes from the stevia plant which is actually an herb. The leaf is dried and ground to be added to drinks or on sprinkled on cereal like sugar. Brand names include Truvia and Pure Via.


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