Artificial Sweeteners or the Real Deal?

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you crave sugar and sweets? If so, you are not alone, I’m definitely a fan of all things sweet myself. So what do you do to deal with those sweet cravings? Do you”give in,” fight them, or have something with artificial sweeteners?

A while back, well, early December, I completed a webinar that I signed up for through SCAN, a Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition subgroup of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics.  Although I had read a lot about using artificial sweeteners, I wanted to learn more. It’s a topic people often ask about and because I myself like sweets, I wanted to make sure that some of my choices are within healthy limits.

I always use artificial sweeteners in my coffee, I even bring them with me when I go out.

I wrote an article about this subject and here are some bullet points:

  • Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) are substances that provide sweetness without added calories like Splenda, Sweet and Low, and Equal.
  • New sweeteners on the market undergo strict testing and according to the FDA, all approved sweeteners in use in the U. S. are considered safe.
  • Once an artificial sweetener has been deemed safe, a “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” (NOAEL) is set. It shows how much we can consume without any harmful affects over time for anybody of any age.
  • A 100 fold safety factor is added into the equation and only then can the Daily Acceptable Intake (DAI) of a product be set. That is the final recommendation of how much of a given NNS we should use.
  • What does that mean? If the NOAEL of a NNS for the average person is 68,000 mg a day, you add the 100 fold safety factor to get 680 mg/d. 
  • NNSs are much sweeter than sugar, so less is used to get the same sweetness effect, so 680 mg/d would actually be a lot.
  • There are some controversial issues related to the use of NNS but study results can be tweaked or exclude important factors.  
  • In short, it is safe to use artificial sweeteners, but, practice moderation.  
  • Artificial sweeteners provide the sweetness we crave without added calories, so they can play a role in a healthy lifestyle. 
  • If you want to limit both sugar and artificial sweeteners, that is OK.  You can try some natural options, too. 
  • Overall, we need to reduce the amount of sugar containing foods we eat and place an emphasis on eating foods to provide vitamins and minerals. 

For more, please read the full article at:

Author: Tiffany Batsakis

Registered Dietitian Fitness Fanatic World Traveler Food Lover Weimaraner Owner

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