Natural vs Artificial

Natural Vs Artificial Sweeteners – What’s the deal? Are they good or bad? The answer to this question all depends on your current weight and/or health goals. It’s true – artificial sweeteners like Splenda, Truvia, Sweet ‘n’ Low, Equal, etc are virtually calorie free. If your goals include weight loss, and you’re struggling with a sugar addiction, these “diet” options may be a useful way to wean yourself off real sugar. However, if your goals include clean eating, a healthy diet, and general well-being, artificial sweeteners probably aren’t your best choice.

The truth is that artificial sweeteners are chemicals that activate the sweet taste buds on your tongue, but aren’t recognized by your digestive system. Because of this, they are not absorbed and carry no caloric value. They also have not been conclusively studied for safety and long-term health effects. Several of them are on the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) list for now. So what does this all mean? You’re probably better off sweetening your coffee and oatmeal with real sweeteners like honey, agave, or maple syrup so long as you’re mindful of the calories per serving and the amount you’re using. All while making a conscious effort to kick the sugar habit, of course.

DID YOU KNOW?

Acesulfame potassium, sucralose, saccharin, stevia extract, and aspartame are all artificial sweeteners. Did you know that sugar alcohols have 2.5 calories per gram? In large amounts they can contribute to your calorie intake. Some of them can also cause gas, bloating, and cramping.

Questions about natural or artificial sweeteners? Email Sara Kevern, FFC Dietitian, for more information: skevern@ffc.com