The Health Pros and Cons of Artificial Sweeteners for Seniors
Senior Care in Monmouth Junction NJ
Sugar substitutes – are they a way for seniors to enjoy sweets guilt free? Or, are they simply another substance that is not good for health? For seniors who strive to eat a healthy diet in order to prevent health problems, keep excess weight off, and to manage chronic medical conditions, these questions are bound to come up. In addition, artificial sweeteners are found in many foods from diet sodas to yogurt, making them difficult to avoid. So, should seniors enjoy the calorie-free sweetness of artificially sweetened food? Or, should they proceed with caution? Read on for more information about the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners in a senior’s diet.
Health Pros of Artificial Sweeteners:
When it comes to our sweet indulgences such as sodas, cookies, and candies, it is not hard to find a “sugar-free” alternative. These alternatives are usually made with one or more of the commonly used artificial sweeteners – aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. Since these substances are not the same as table sugar (sucrose), they can be used to sweeten foods that bear the label “sugar-free.” These non-nutritive sweeteners are calorie-free and have a very sweet taste that is sweeter than sugar, so for dieters who have a sweet-tooth, foods with artificial sweeteners can help them stick to their calorie and/or weight loss goals. Artificial sweeteners also have benefits for those who have diabetes. Artificial sweeteners are not carbohydrates so they do not raise blood sugar, allowing diabetics to enjoy favorite foods without worry. It is important to note that diabetics should check with their doctor to see which sugar substitutes they should use and how frequently.
Health Cons of Artificial Sweeteners:
There have been numerous studies done over the years on the safety of artificial sweeteners. Some studies have even linked them to cancer and other serious health problems. More recent studies, however, have shown that artificial sweeteners are safe to consume if done so in moderation. As with table sugar, artificial sweeteners can have a negative effect on the body when they are consumed too much. When artificially sweetened foods replace the good foods seniors’ bodies need, it can turn a healthy diet into a diet that is lacking in nutrients. So while enjoying a diet soda here and there won’t necessarily cause weight gain, it may cause you to drink less water which can leave you dehydrated. Or, if you make a habit of snacking on sugar-free cookies or sugar-free pudding cups, you may be missing out on nutrient-rich snacks like fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care services in Monmouth Junction, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.