Are Fat-Free and Sugar-Free Sweets Healthy?

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Nicole Kell

Especially when the holiday season is in full swing, many people tend to grab sugar-free and fat-free candies off of the shelves in hopes of being healthy and limiting weight gain. However, sugar-free and fat-free sweets may not be particularly good for you.

Sugar-free candies use artificial sweeteners that have fewer calories than regular sugar, but they still have substantial calories. For instance, a regular Oreo contains 54 calories, while a sugar-free Oreo contains 50 calories. Also, high levels of citric acid are present in most sugar-free candies, which is the main cause of cavities and tooth decay.  On a more serious note, refined carbs cause an increased chance of diabetes and heart disease. Refined carbs are simple carbohydrates that have been processed and thus lack all bran, fiber, and nutrients. This includes white breads and pastas, sweet desserts, and most processed cereals. Sugar-free candy can still raise blood sugar because of the sugar alcohol chemically altered and derived from sugars in plant products. Sugar alcohols contain fewer calories than white sugar, this these calories are not as easily absorbed and digested. So if you insist on eating sugar-free products, you should do so as thoughtfully as you would any other sugar-laden treat.

And sugar-free does not mean fat-free. Candies that contain artificial sweeteners usually have high levels of saturated fat, which causes an increase of cholesterol in the arteries. This increases the risks of heart disease and strokes. 

It is helpful to read nutrition labels when choosing food to eat. It is important to focus on being mindful and controlling portion size when eating meals and snacks. Another healthy choice is to focus on  snacks that contain fiber and protein and mix it with something sweet. For example, many enjoy chocolate covered strawberries or apples and peanut butter. There are options to explore that will satisfy your sweet cravings, while also being mindful of health and balance.


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