Have you given up sugar or trying to cut back? Many think that artificial sweeteners are the way to go to avoid the calories. But do the dangers outweigh the benefits?
The first time artificial sugar was introduced was way back in 1878. This lab-created sugar alternative was discovered by a chemist working with coal tar. Certainly not something we want to find at the bottom of our coffee cup. Since the first artificial sweetener was introduced we’ve seen many conflicting scientific studies being conducted across the globe.
If scientists can’t make up their minds about the safety of artificial sweeteners, should you?
Sweeteners are actually hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. In the short term, this may seem like a good idea, as you would use less of it. In the long term, this may alter your taste due to the high-intensity of the flavour. This means that a piece of fruit that once tasted like a sweet morning treat may become less appealing over time.
Along with altering your taste, sweeteners confuse your digestive system. When something high in sugar hits your taste buds, it sends signals to your gut as it prepares to digest something high in sugar and calories. When these indulgent treats don’t arrive, our digestive system doesn’t process food efficiently. This not only causes a biochemical reaction in your digestive system but can make you overeat in the long term.
There is still a lot that we don’t know about consuming chemical alternatives. Scientists are unable to determine exactly how our brain and body reacts to these chemicals, as our bodies are very complex.
The best way to avoid issues that may be associated with artificial sweeteners is to minimize or stop the consumption. Avoid foods that are labelled ‘diet’ and ‘sugar free’ in the supermarket. Often, foods such as ice cream, yoghurt, chewing gum and juices are available in a lower calorie alternative. Instead, choose the organic and natural sugars when possible. For your sugar fix, add organic honey to your drinks, use dates in your baking or grab a piece of fruit.