Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad for You?

Today, the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners is a topic on many people’s minds. In our society, they are commonly recommended as a strategy for weight management, and Health Canada has deemed a variety of artificial sweeteners to be safe. However, at Revive, the answer is simple. We do not recommend artificial sweeteners, period. Recent studies suggest that artificial sweeteners may not be the healthy sugar substitute they are advertised to be. Although further research is needed, there are a variety of potential mechanisms to support the idea that artificial sweeteners may be harmful to individuals in the long run, and may be contributing to higher risk of chronic disease.

It is without a doubt that artificial sweeteners are popping up everywhere. They are not only in zero-calorie beverages, but they are also being added to pasta sauce, yogurt and other common household foods. If you are currently using artificial sweeteners, I encourage you to think about why you are using them and why you feel you need to include them in your routine. I am sure a common reason is because they are a source of sweetness that doesn’t provide calories. Think about how you truly feel when you have them. Are you satisfied? Is it something truly essential in your routine?

I encourage you to focus your efforts on getting flavour through whole, satisfying, nutrient dense foods, while including an occasional treat you really enjoy. Keep in mind this balance is going to look different for every individual out there, and that’s okay. In the middle of July, when fresh fruit like berries are plentiful, there is no better time to include them. They are truly nature’s candy! Yes, they do contain natural sugars, but they also pack a lot of fibre and a variety of nutrients your body requires. Try adding some fresh berries or another kind of fruit to add some sweetness to your meal or drink. And whether you are drinking regular or diet pop, water is best. I know what you are thinking, but water doesn’t have to be boring! Use fresh fruit, herbs and citrus to flavor your water. One of our favorite combinations at the Revive office is watermelon with fresh basil or mint.

Our goal at Revive is to help you find the balance between fueling your body properly and enjoying the food you are eating, while basing your decisions on evidence-based information. Ensure you are comfortable with what you are putting in your body!

Kalin Herbach, Registered Nutritionist/Dietitian

This article was in response to Artificial sweeteners are tied to long-term weight gain, diabetes risk, Canadian docs say.

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