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The Sweet Deception: Sugar, Its Alternatives, and the Name-Changing Game


Yummy, yes please !
Have you a sweet tooth

Hello everyone, this is Michael. In my long career in Pilates and fitness, I've often emphasised the importance of diet along with exercise. One topic that never ceases to fascinate me is sugar and its many alternatives. But there’s a twist—the names of these sugar substitutes keep changing. Why does this happen? Let’s delve in.


The Sugar Quagmire

Sugar, primarily in the form of sucrose, has been a staple in our diets for centuries. However, its consumption has skyrocketed in recent decades, with repercussions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Recognising these health risks, people are increasingly turning to sugar alternatives.


The Alternatives

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Aspartame: Common in diet fizzy drinks.

  • Saccharin: A frequent choice for tabletop sweeteners.

Natural Sweeteners

  • Stevia: Extracted from the Stevia rebaudiana plant. On a personal note, I have a very uncomfortable reaction to Stevia—it's as if I’ve consumed a large amount of beans or Brussels sprouts. So, it's not a go-to option for me.

  • Agave Nectar: Derived from the agave plant but often highly processed.

Sugar Alcohols

  • Xylitol: A popular choice for sugar-free gums.

  • Erythritol: Present in some sugar-free snacks.

The Name-Changing Game

Just when you think you’ve got your sugar substitute sorted, the name changes. Corn syrup may suddenly appear as "maize syrup," and agave nectar might turn into "organic agave syrup."

Why Does This Happen?

  1. Public Perception: Companies rebrand to distance themselves from negative press, as people become aware of the drawbacks of certain sugar alternatives.

  2. Regulatory Changes: New legislation may require companies to tweak the names of their ingredients.

  3. Marketing Strategy: A fresh name can breathe new life into a product, making it appear healthier or capturing consumer interest anew.

What Can We Do?

  1. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the latest research on sugar and its alternatives.

  2. Read Labels Carefully: Always scrutinise ingredient lists; don’t be fooled by clever marketing.

  3. Consult Professionals: Seek advice from dietitians or healthcare providers for a tailored approach to your dietary needs.

Conclusion

Navigating the maze of sugar and its alternatives requires vigilance and a discerning eye. But with proper knowledge, we can make healthier choices without falling prey to the name-changing tactics of sugar companies.


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