Sugar-free carbonated beverages, such as diet soda and sugar-free flavored sparkling water, can cause problems that range from headaches to an increased risk of developing diabetes. Although these sugary drinks contain fewer calories than traditional sugar-sweetened beverages, their consumption may contribute to weight gain. While white sugar is definitely not good for your health or for losing weight, artificial sweeteners seem to cause the same amount of damage. Try natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup to sweeten tea, coffee, or baked goods.
Organic or coconut sugar in small amounts works from time to time if sugar is needed, and some people think that monk fruit extract has a less annoying aftertaste than stevia. A new study reveals that calorie-free or low-calorie beverages offer metabolic and weight benefits almost identical to those of water. Of course, they're not very good for you. There is strong evidence to support the advice to limit the amount of free sugars in the diet, that is, the sugars that are added to foods and beverages or that are found naturally in honey, syrups and juices.
A more immediate unpleasant effect of consuming sugar alcohols, a type of low-calorie sugar substitute, are gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Breaking the cycle of sweet cravings isn't easy, but continuing to replace sugar with artificial sugar isn't the solution. No-calorie or low-calorie sugar alternatives tend to be hundreds to thousands of times sweeter than regular sugar, but they don't raise blood sugar levels. Healthy people may experience mild gas or bloating after eating foods sweetened with sugar alcohols, but if you have a gastrointestinal condition, such as irritable bowel syndrome, or eat a large amount of something sweetened with sugar alcohols, you may have more extreme symptoms.