Artificial Sweeteners

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?

  • they can affect your gut microbiome, artificial sweeteners promote unhealthy gut bacteria that cause obesity
  • they may induce migraines
  • they may cause weight gain. Several large studies have found positive correlation between artificial sweetener use and weight gain. Don`t be fooled but marketing campaigns making you believe they will aid your weight loss. Despite no/low calories your brain still gets the message – oh hello you just had sugar, which may encourage sweet cravings and sugar dependence from other foods
  • sorbitol and xylitol in larger doses can have a laxative effect, causing bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea. Another reason to stay away from them and choose coconut nectar, or maple syrup (if you really have to!)

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:

  • acesulfame K – Acesulfame-k is heat stable, so can be used in cooking and baking It is often blended with other sweeteners such as sucralose or aspartame since it has a bitter after taste when used alone. It sounds dreadful, why would anyone want to use it!?
  • aspartame – Aspartame was discovered in 1965, It is about 200 times sweeter than sucrose
  • saccharin – Saccharin is the oldest artificial sweetener that was discovered in 1879. It is 300 times sweeter than sucrose
  • sucralose (used in Splenda) – Sucralose was discovered in 1979. It is modified sugar with added chlorine – yuk! no thanks! Sucralose has 600 times the sweetness of sucrose
  • stevia – Stevia is a natural herb. This zero calorie sweetener mainly containing steviol glycoside which is 10–15 times sweeter than sucrose. Studies have indicated that stevia tends to lower the elevated blood pressure.
  • xylitol – is a sugar alcohol (to confuse you, sugar alcohols are neither sugar nor alcohol). Sugar alcohol come from plants, carbohydrate in these plant products is altered through a chemical process to derive sugar alcohol. Xylitol tastes and looks exactly like sugar.
  • sorbitol – is another sugar alcohol, sugar alcohols are less or nearly as sweet as table sugar

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)



CALL ME TODAY 07707 638781 Or fill in our quick contact form