artificial sweeteners… what i think

03Aug14

As a health and nutrition educator, I get asked my opinion on artificial sweeteners frequently. I’m not a huge fan of synthetic chemicals going into the body, honestly… but there isn’t a peer-reviewed study showing that small amounts of artificial sweeteners directly lead to disease.

Which, of course, has the diet industry (and a lot of my friends who are dieting) jumping for joy. People can use artificial sweeteners with reckless abandon. The only studies which have shown them as truly dangerous are the ones that have fed an amount to rats equivalent to their body weight… and who, among us, is going to eat 150 pounds of Nutrasweet in one sitting? (I certainly hope not…)

That said… I have a very good anecdotal reason to discourage you all from consuming artificial sweeteners as much as possible. I used to be “one of those” who put Equal in everything (Splenda… not so much. It’s always had a bitter aftertaste to me.) I also used to have huge sugar cravings. And as a result of succumbing to the sugar cravings, I also had huge body parts… I don’t know what got me to stop eating artificial sweeteners so much, but one day, I just decided that if I was going to sweeten any of my food, it would be with a small amount of real sugar. And guess what? In just a few weeks, the sugar cravings significantly went away.

I know everyone’s brain chemistry is different. But I’m not the only one to say this, that cutting back on artificial sweeteners killed sugar cravings, and junk food cravings in general. So in this sense, maybe indirectly artificial sweeteners are linked with disease?

I know I’m not avoiding them entirely–it’s one of those “hidden foods”. But I definitely don’t want sweets or junk food so much anymore. Just something to think about. 🙂

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