As the name suggest they are artificial and do not belong in our food chain. Why would you want to ingest chemicals? Sugar free foods are very popular and sadly they are often perceived as healthier.
Why are artificial sweeteners bad for you?
I get it, you want to enjoy sweets and fizzy drinks but without the calories. But is it all about calories? What about your health? Dates are sweet, fruits are sweet, there are millions of recipes of sweet treats you can make using only natural ingredients, no added artificial sweeteners or added white sugar. However, bear in mind that those healthy treats are calorie dense and high in natural sugars so you should have them occasionally and in small amounts (not the whole tray of sweet potato brownies!:).
There are also some natural sweeteners you could use instead of artificial sweeteners. Keep reading for more advice:). Please remember that at the end of the day sugar is sugar, yes natural sugar is still sugar and it does have an impact on your blood sugar. Use sparingly.
Frustratingly, there is so much debate about artificial sweeteners and sugar replacements that even I get confused! In my humble opinion it is best to follow one simple rule – `Do not use any artificial sweeteners`.
If you haven’t fallen asleep on me yet here are a few boring, but relevant, facts about sweeteners.
Sweeteners are generally divided into two categories. 1) non-caloric high intensity sweeteners (artificial sweeteners) and 2) nutritive sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners include aspartame, acesulfame-k, neotame, saccharin, sucralose and advantame. They should not affect your blood sugar.
The nutritive sweeteners include sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, mannitol, erythritol, trehalose and maltitol. They do affect your blood sugar but less than table sugar. The sweetness of sugar alcohols varies from 25% to 100% of the sweetness of sucrose (table sugar). However, they may cause gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea when used in high quantities but they do not have the other health-related concerns associated with the high intensity artificial sweeteners.
Sweeteners approved for use in the UK include:
I personally do not use any of above, but it you are trying to cut out sugar and would like healthier alternative I recommend coconut nectar and real maple syrup (both cause lower rise in blood sugar than table sugar). Bottom 3 sweeteners (stevia, xylitol and sorbitol) seem like a better option, if they are naturally produced. However, they can also be artificially produced which makes them less health friendly.
For more scientific and details read below papers (I took some facts about sweetener from there)