Sweeteners have become increasingly popular as sugars are becoming commonly known as being unhealthy, yet people still desire that sweet taste. The attractive aspect of sweeteners include being low in energy or calories, with some having no energy, helping people lose weight whilst still eating and drinking versions of what they like, such as sugar free Coca Cola.
It is thought that some people may replace the lost calories through other foods as consumers are not satisfied or full, which could offset any weight loss that would occur from the reduced energy of the sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose which can be found in many food items and are in the brands sweetex, equal and splenda respectively should be avoided. This is because evidence suggests high amounts of these hyper -intense artificial sweeteners can retrain taste buds to desire sweeter foods because of overstimulation of sugar receptors. This could lead to a dislike and intolerance to less sweet and blander foods which are highly nutritious and it can cause further cravings for sweetness, leading to weight gain from increased consumption of sweets and treats.
Nutritive sweeteners, such as erythritol, xylitol and maltitol are sugar alcohols that are a better alternative than artificial sweeteners because they are not intense sweeteners but rather carry the same or slightly less sweetness as sugar, causing taste buds to remain as sensitive as if you were consuming sugar. The consumption of sugar alcohols may cause gastrointestinal symptoms including flatulence, cramping, bloating and diarrhea.
Natural sweeteners include stevia and monk fruit extract are the best option if choosing a sweetener because they are less processed and don’t come with the possible gastrointestinal symptoms as nutritive sweeteners.
Overall, moderation is key. A bit of sugar free coke every now and then is okay, but if you are having it every day or week, it will most likely affect your taste buds.