Beware of Artificial Sweeteners!

Too sweet to be true?

Sweeteners came to the market as a solution for obesity since they give sweetness without extra calories. But there’s mounting evidence that says they’re not the quick and easy magic bullet to help us combat our sugar addictions.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and American Diabetes Association (ADA) cautiously nod to the use of artificial sweeteners to replace sugar. However, the jury is out about how safe they are. Using artificial sweeteners was approved based on small consumptions. But scientists still aren’t sure how larger amounts affect us over time. For example, some studies show drinking diet soda on a regular basis can increase the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Sweeteners are tricky! There are a few things to think about when we’re picking up the artificial sweeteners—or drinking them in diet beverages.

They can give a false sense that we’re ahead of the calorie game and give us “permission” to eat other not-so-healthy food. “I had a diet soda, so I can get away with eating those cookies….”

They mislead taste buds and set a really high bar for what “sweet” is so naturally sweet foods don’t taste so sweet anymore. “An apple is sweet? Not anymore. Double-chocolate-chip-extra-fudge cookie dough ice cream is sweet.”

They can be addicting, and overstimulate our sugar receptors. “I can’t seem to get enough super-sweet stuff…. Fruits and veggies? Not so much.”

They can hide everywhere. Sweeteners are found lots of products labeled as diet or reduced-sugar. But sometimes they’re found in regular products as well, so be sure to take a look at food labels.

Artificial sweeteners include:

Saccharin – Sweet and Low®, Sweet Twin®, Sweet’N Low®, and Necta Sweet®

Acesulfame – Sunett® and Sweet One®

Aspartame – Nutrasweet®, Equal®, and Sugar Twin®

Neotame – Newtame®

Sucralose – Splenda ®

Steviol glycosides (Stevia)

The Carebook team thinks you’re sweet enough as you are! While the jury’s still out about artificial sweeteners, try natural ones (in moderation) like honey, maple syrup, and dates.