The Sneaky Truth Behind Sugar-Free Foods

A lot of us are interested in living healthier, more active lives, and our diet is often one of the first things we try to change when pursuing a healthier lifestyle. After all, most of us are inundated with advertisements for food that isn't exactly that great for us, and it can be tough to shake habits that have built up for years. This is especially true if we've been eating unhealthy food that we love, or that we find a lot of comfort in.

Sugar-free foods are particularly dangerous, because they sound like something that's good for you. After all, we're supposed to keep our sugar intake in check, right? While we can't avoid sugar entirely, the American Heart Association calls out food and drinks with added sugar, such as soda and candy, as being particularly unhealthy.

So it makes sense that many people turn to food that's described as sugar-free instead, but unfortunately, it seems that a lot of sugar-free food isn't any safer or healthier for us.

What makes sugar-free food so tricky

There are quite a few reasons why sugar-free food isn't necessarily very good for us. For starters, according to the medical pros at the Mayo Clinic, sugar-free doesn't mean calorie-free, which means it can still contribute to unwanted weight gain. A lot of processed food also typically contains sugar substitutes, which aren't as healthy as natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables.

Mumbai-based nutritionist Tehzeeb Lalani also advises that fat content is usually increased if sugar content is removed from food. She explains, "All nutritionists know that any product which needs to make a health claim is far from healthy. If fat is removed, sugar is doubled. If sugar is removed, fat content is increased or artificial preservatives are added."

In general, it's best to remember that moderation is everything. The Mayo Clinic also lists possible side effects from consuming too much sugar, including tooth decay and increased triglycerides. If you are hoping to minimize sugar in your own diet, Healthline recommends lowering your intake of soda, candy, baked goods, fruit juice, and fruits canned in juice.