Safety of sugar and artifical sweeteners

Patient

Q: Hi Dr,

I am trying to limit my sugar intake as part of a healthy lower calorie diet. I have read that new research is showing that sugar is actually extremely bad with some doctors drawing an anology to it as a poison. I am currently using the artificial sweetener Truvia.

First my question is how dangerous in general is sugar or is a lot of the reports just misinformation? Also I have read several people say that Truvia may also be dangerous. Would you consider this a safe alternative? Do I need to give up all refined sugar or is some amount of it okay?

Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. We are unable to comment on all the research extant on the use of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners because it is quite vast and often conflicting. However, we can draw upon one of the basic tenets of human nutrition to provide you with some answers to your questions. That is moderation.
Moderation of your sugar intake is perhaps the most important approach you can take to safely consume it. Sugar is a natural sweetener that is refined from beats, or sugar cane. In its natural state, it does not contain any chemicals or additives if it is organically sourced, however each gram of sugar contains about. 4 calories. A teaspoon of sugar would therefore contain around 16 calories. As you can see, a small amount of sugar can be very high in calories, and it is important to know, refined sugar can be found in many processed foods, which we are unknown of. Truvia a calorie free sweetener derived from stevia leaf extract and is considered safe to use moderation. If you limit the amount of refined sugar you ingest, you can most certainly have it once in a while. The key is moderation.

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