Are Sugar-Free Drinks Bad for You?

The American Heart Association recommends limiting your sugar intake to 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men. However, the average adult in the U.S. consumes more than 300 calories of sugar per day. 

You may associate sugar with candy and desserts, but beverages like soft drinks, fruit juices, and sports drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the average adult’s diet. To reduce sugar intake, many people try sugar-free versions of their favorite drinks – but are sugar-free drinks bad for you? 

How Sugar-Free Drinks Stay Sweet

Sugar-free drinks don’t contain sugar, so how are they still sweet? Most of them contain artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. These FDA-approved artificial sweeteners keep drinks sweet without adding calories. 

You may notice that a sugar-free drink with an artificial sweetener tastes even more sugary than a drink with real sugar. This is because artificial sweeteners are far sweeter than sugar. Some artificial sweeteners, including neotame, are thousands of times sweeter than the real thing.

Not all sugar-free drinks contain artificial sweeteners, though. Some sugar-free wellness drinks get their sweet taste from natural sweeteners, such as monk fruit. Just like artificial sweeteners, this natural option is free of calories and carbohydrates. However, it comes from a holistic source: monk fruit juice. 

Both artificial and natural sweeteners serve the same purpose, but these sweeteners – and the impact they can have on your health – are not the same.

The Negative Health Effects of Artificial Sweeteners

Research suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners found in sodas, functional beverages, and fruit juices can raise your tolerance for sweetness. Because artificial sweeteners are so much sweeter than real sugar, they could potentially overstimulate your sugar receptors. 

Over time, foods that are less sweet, such as fruit, may no longer satisfy your craving for sweets. Foods without sweetness, such as meats or vegetables, may not be as appealing either. This change in your sugar tolerance could lead to unhealthy eating habits.

Nutrition experts recommend eating a diet full of natural, fresh foods and drinks. If you want to limit your intake of processed, synthetic substances, start by avoiding sugar-free drinks that use artificial sweeteners. Breaking this habit, however, might be harder than it seems since some studies suggest that artificial sweeteners are addictive

The Safe Sugar-Free Solution: Natural Sweeteners

If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s best to choose a sugar-free wellness drink with a natural sweetener, such as monk fruit or stevia.

Most fruits get their sweet taste from natural sugar, but monk fruit is naturally sweetened by antioxidants called mogrosides. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage your cells and DNA. Consuming antioxidant-rich foods and wellness drinks can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and dozens of other health conditions.

The bottom line? Look for a sugar-free functional beverage with a natural sweetener, such as MANTRA Labs GO. This wellness drink gets its sweet taste from organic monk fruit. GO contains all of the nutrients you need to focus and power through your day without any harmful artificial sweeteners, calories, or sugar.