Artificial sweeteners… the low down

Posted by Deborah Pyner on

Love ‘em or hate ‘em artificial sweeteners do cut down your calories gram for gram, but are they actually doing you any good?

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals that are used to sweeten food and drinks. They are much sweeter than sugar, but have also been linked to health problems like cancer, weight gain, and diabetes. Recent research has also shown they can dramatically alter or destroy the good bacteria in your gut, and a thriving microbiome is vital for a strong immune system, plus a new Spanish study has linked this gut destroying effect of artificial sweeteners to potential cognitive decline.

If that’s not enough reason to avoid artificial sweeteners, put on your eco-worrier cap as studies from around the world show that although the bulk of the sweetener breaks down in the body (including into formaldehyde and methanol!) anything that’s left over then goes into the sewage system where it cannot be cleared out of the waste water. The ongoing impact of these chemicals on the wider ecosystem is very much unknown!

One of the most popular artificial sweeteners is aspartame which is found in many diet sodas and sugar free products. It’s been linked to cancer, weight gain, headaches, and other health problems. Products with aspartame are rarely just aspartame, often being mixed with acesulfame K and / or cyclamate.

Another popular artificial sweetener is sucralose which has been linked to weight gain and gastrointestinal problems.

Banish the artificial in favour of natural alternatives and try to gradually cut down on your sweetness intake, a little bit of what you fancy does you good, too much of anything… not so much.

You’ll get much better hydration from simple water… pop in slices of lemon, cucumber and mint for a seriously refreshing sip, or use frozen fruit as ice cubes. It takes moments to get creative with simple sparkly mocktails like this Raspberry Mint Cooler. Use fruit and a little natural sweetness in your baking and cooking, or for drizzling over pancakes and porridge… a few canny swaps and you’re away!

Obviously one of our passionate reasons for being is to help bring a little natural sweetness into your day and with our huge range of natural Syrups you’re spoilt for choice!

So next time you reach for a ‘skinny’ or ‘zero calorie’ product double check the label and if it contains artificial sweeteners think twice! Your body and the planet will thank you for walking away.

If you’d like to do your own research you will find extensive references online. Here are a just a few to start you off:
Long-term study alludes to artificial sweeteners and cognitive decline link (beveragedaily.com)
Artificial sweeteners and cancer risk: Results from the NutriNet-Santé population-based cohort study - PMC (nih.gov)
Artifical sweeteners which evade sewage treatment may contaminate drinking water 06/09 (foodsmatter.com)

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