Artificial Sweeteners...Should you use them?

Artificial sweeteners are not the “free” pass to weight loss you might think they are. Research has shown that artificial sweeteners have some potentially deadly side effects.

According to research at Yale University in 2010, using artificial sweeteners can lead to overeating and weight gain. Another study completed in 2013 at Perdue University, stated that, “artificially sweetened foods and beverages interfere with a body’s learned responses that regulate energy and glucose homeostasis.” In simple terms, artificial sweeteners disrupt normal metabolism function. Other recent studies have shown that people who drink “diet” drinks containing artificial sweeteners actually GAIN weight, not lose it! Artificial sweeteners are also associated with changes in gut bacteria and lead to increased fat storage. And who wants that?

Although the FDA has approved artificial sweeteners like...

  • Sunett
  • Sweet One
  • Swiss Sweet
  • Nutrasweet
  • Equal
  • Sweet 'N Low
  • Sugar Twin
  • Splenda

...there is still much debate as to how safe these sweeteners really are.

Most notably, the worst artificial sweetener is aspartame. Three different studies concluded that aspartame causes cancer. Aspartame is mainly sold under the names of Nutrasweet and Equal. However, always read your labels, as it could be found in other off brand labels.

A better way to break your sugar habit...

If you are trying to break free from white refined sugar, try using natural sweeteners instead of man-made artificial sweeteners.

Honey and Maple Syrup - Raw honey and maple syrup are two great choices to use to sweeten your foods. Both, raw honey and pure maple syrup contains antioxidants. Shop for local raw honey which contains bee pollen that provides natural allergy relief and boost overall immune health. When shopping for maple syrup, look for pure maple syrup. Check your label carefully, because commercial brands often add high-fructose corn syrup. The label should simply say, “pure maple syrup”.

Stevia - Organic Stevia comes in packet, liquid, or bulk package form. Stevia is an natural, herbal sweetener and contains zero calories. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so be careful. One cup of sugar is equal to one teaspoon of Stevia.

Fruit - Probably, the most natural way to sweeten foods is with fresh or frozen fruit. Fruit is a sweetener without any empty calories and contains vital nutrients. Bananas, applesauce, and dates are just a few great sweeteners for oatmeal, smoothies, and even cookies. (I recently substituted dates for sugar in a cookie recipe and it was delicious. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised.)

Just say no to all added sugar and artificial sweeteners! Use all natural sugar substitutes instead. Steer clear of anything made in a lab and not naturally grown.  


Janet Steward