I get a ton of questions about artificial sweeteners. I can sum up all my thoughts, feelings and opinions in a few simple bullet points, so I will. However, in this episode we talk about saccharine, aspartame, sucralose, sugar alcohols and stevia. We talk about what they are, what they’re found in, the “science” behind them and my personal philosophy. But, my summarized conclusion:
- Artificial sweeteners are not a “big rock” for fat loss. If you haven’t yet mastered the basics of eating to balance your hormones, I wouldn’t waste your energy fretting over them
- The more sweet things you introduce to your body – artificial or natural – the more your body will crave them
- For health, longevity and fat loss, it is always best to more towards the more natural, less processed end of the spectrum
- Pay attention to how you respond to these sweeteners. If you are concerned, omit them completely or do an elimination test. Monitor changes especially in satiety and cravings
The Problem: People want to give up or limit sugar without giving up or limiting sugary things. Here’s the truth: artificial sweeteners and non-nutritive sweeteners are still relatively new on the scene and we don’t really know their long-term impact on health. With that said, most of the science done on these sweeteners is inconclusive or suggests short term safety. Much of the alarming research has been discredited due to very, very poor design. We talk more about this in the episode.
The Solution: Do not be an alarmist. If you are concerned about artificial and/or non-nutritive sweeteners: avoid them. If you aren’t sure how to proceed, use them sparingly. Do an elimination test and see how you feel without them. Choose options on the less artificial end of the spectrum like stevia. Understand how they impact your cravings & satiety.
- Most stevia extracts are processed. If you’re looking for a “natural” non-nutritive (calorie free) sweetener, choose green, powdered stevia. White stevia has been bleached.
- If sugar addiction or sugar cravings are a problem for you or if you struggle with portion control with sweet things, you will likely benefit from removing these things from your diet
- Treats are treats, whether they have nutritive or non-nutritive sweeteners and for best results should be consumed in moderation – NOT DAILY.
- Remember that these sweeteners are relatively new to the food scene and we don’t yet know their long term impact