We get a lot of questions about natural vs. artificial sweeteners, and why we think it's important that Swerve is natural, so we thought we'd talk a bit about artificial sweeteners and why we choose natural. Artificial sweeteners, commonly called high-intensity sweeteners because they can be up to 600 times as sweet as sugar, are man-made and can be found in packets, diet sodas, yogurts, snack foods, protein bars, protein powders, meal replacement drinks, candy, and even products like toothpaste and gum. Because of the intense sweetness, they aren’t ideal for baking and cooking.
Some common examples include:
- Aspartame (Equal) - 200x sweeter than sugar
- Ace-K (Sunett, Sweet One) - 200x sweeter than sugar
- Sucralose (Splenda) - 600x sweeter than sugar
- Saccharin (Sweet-n-low) - 200-700x sweeter than sugar
Artificial sweeteners have been vigorously studied over the years for their relationship to the obesity problem in the United States.
- They are approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are generally recognized as safe.
- They can play a role in preventing tooth decay by replacing the sugar that prompts cavities.
- Because they are zero calories, artificial sweeteners don’t directly contribute to weight gain, and may even be helpful for weight loss and managing diabetes, since they have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin.
- Finally, they are inexpensive and easy to find for most people.
- Studies show that artificial sweeteners may potentially increase your risk of weight gain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 Diabetes.
- Another concern with these high-intensity artificial sweeteners is that they may de-sensitize tastebuds, i.e., people may be less able to detect the subtle sweetness in fruits and vegetables, leading to lower consumption of these very nutritious foods.
- Some studies also suggest that artificial sweeteners might increase sweet cravings, and may even become addictive.
- Finally, certain artificial sweeteners may impact the gut microbiome, which is intricately connected to many metabolic processes, including insulin sensitivity.
The Bottom Line
While artificial sweeteners may help people maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight, and they can be a part of a healthy diet in moderation, there is a great deal of concerning research about the widespread use of artificial sweeteners at home and in food products. Until there is more research on how artificial sweeteners affect the body, we prefer to stick with natural sweeteners like Swerve.
Want to learn more about sugar and other sweeteners? Check out these blogs: