Artificial Sweeteners do NOT help tackle Obesity

How have artificial sweeteners got into our lives? They continue to 'feed' the body's craving for sugar even whilst some published articles extol the virtues of artificial sweeteners when used in controlled diets. Even the NHS website says, "Like sugar, sweeteners provide a sweet taste but what sets them apart is that, after consumption, they don't increase blood sugar levels,"


Sweeteners are chemicals that can damage the body systems

The thing is, that’s not really the point.


The real point is that Artificial Sweeteners maintain the desire for sweet foods.


The wonderful Susan Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, stated at the Cheltenham Science Festival this week (June 16) that children are becoming accustomed to the 'intense, excessive sweetness'. And this can be from artificial sweeteners as much as from sugars.


We know it instinctively, don’t we – keep eating sweet tasting things and we keep wanting more sweet tasting things. So artificial sweeteners do nothing to help our contentment with less sugars in our diets.


Professor Jebb went on to say, "I think the outstanding concern is not for people who are actively controlling the weight but for us all just going through our day, trying to do the right thing. The challenge if you move from sugar to sweeteners is you may take the calories away but you still have that intense sweetness. I think we're only just beginning to do the behavioural studies that ask how people respond to that. What I would really like to see happen is that food manufacturers start titrating down not just the sugars in the diet but the sweetness in the diet. One of the reasons why we struggle to get children to enjoy fruit, for example, is because once they become acclimatised to the excessive intense sweetness from added sugars or sweeteners, actually the fruit doesn't have that delicious sweetness that you would previously have recognised."

Whole fruit is sweet, but their fibre slows down the digestion of sugar

The fruit growers know this too – Increasing plant sweetness is apparently a common goal amongst all types of growers and hey are producing strains of fruits that are considerably sweeter than decades ago (when those calorie charts were made) in order to keep up with our increasing desire for the taste of sugar. Of course, the sweetness in the fruit is not calorie-free but real sugars and this means more energy in the fruit.


Just as well the fruit’s sugar is wrapped up alongside lots of other goodies for the body – fibre and soluble fibre (to help us feel full), phytonutrients, flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, all of which are vital for good body function. And as such, research appears to say that the fructose in the fruits does not increase your sugar spike. Unless the fibre is taken away, as in processed foods, possibly pasteurised to improve shelf-life (devaluing vitamin C for sure[1]). That destroys a lot of the protective capacity of the original fruit resulting in an increased amount of sugar reaching the blood stream.


And that in turn affects myriad other aspects, including our hormones, triglycerides, fat stores.


So back to the Artificial Sweeteners. What they are doing is ‘tricking’ your taste buds to believing you’ve eaten a lovey sweet something. Which means you still lust after sugar.


Wouldn’t it be better to quit both the added sugar and the artificial sugar so that the true sweetness of the food can shine through?




[1] INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENTIFIC & TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH VOLUME 2, ISSUE 11, NOVEMBER 2013 Effect Of Heating On Vitamin C Content Of Some Selected Vegetables N.C. Igwemmar, S.A. Kolawole, I.A. Imran