I read an article published on the LIVESCIENCE webpage highlighting nutritional implications of Stevia consumption. (Click here to read the article —-> What Is Stevia?.)
I believe that artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin, sucralose) are regarded as safe for consumption; however, the claims that associate artificial sweetener consumption with adverse health effects remain in the proverbial gray section (for me at least). The article linked above regards Stevia as a superior alternative to artificial sweeteners and sugar given that it is made from a plant. However, sugar comes from a plant also. We just enter the red zone when we go overboard with it. Personally, I think any substance that is consumed in unreasonably large amounts is harmful whether it was harvested from a plant or manufactured in a lab.
About 2 months ago, I stopped using artificial sweeteners in my coffee and started using sugar again. Now, before you fall out of your chairs, please note that although I am using sugar again, the way that I use it is quite different. What was my motivation to change you may ask? Was I afraid of gaining weight? Was I afraid to overeat? Was I afraid of being diagnosed with cancer? In all, no.
Mainly, I felt that using the artificial sweeteners would condition me to become more accustomed to sweeter foods and beverages over time since many of them are up to 200x sweeter than sugar. This is very true; it was like night and day the first morning I put sugar in my coffee instead of reaching for that little pink packet.
Since I have climbed back on the sugar-bowl bandwagon, I have limited myself to no more than 2-2.5 teaspoons per day in my coffee which is much better than the 2 tablespoons I was used to. Especially considering the risk of diabetes and heart disease that seems to affect so many Americans.
All of that being said, what I choose to sweeten my coffee with is a tiny piece of what influences my health status. I guess that’s why I don’t split hairs about artificial sweeteners. On a positive note, there’s nothing wrong with Stevia, but since I don’t care for it’s taste, I’ve learned to practice more restraint with using sugar.
What are your thoughts about artificial sweeteners? Feel free to comment below!