Have you ever thought about using a sweetener, and wondered if it was safe?
This is a common question and I actually filmed a segment with Lynda Steele of Steele On Your Side with CTV news to talk about sweeteners.
When you watch the segment, you’ll notice I talk a lot about Health Canada’s guidelines, and that there has been a significant number of studies demonstrating the safety of sweeteners. Aspartame for example has been used for over 25 years and is approved by all major food authorities around the world as safe.
Does this mean I’m recommending you use sweeteners?
No! Not at all.
Just because something is considered safe and approved for use in Canada, doesn’t mean it is healthy. Artificial sweeteners are just an alternative.
Just like I said in a previous blog post –Sugar, Are You Eating Too Much? – where I talked about sugar (which is also a sweetener, it just doesn’t fall into the “artificial sweetener” category), in the big picture your best bet at being your healthiest is to focus on building your eating habits around wholesome, real food and to limit all types of additives.
Here’s what I said during the interview that unfortunately hit the cutting room floor with the CTV segment
My opinion about sweeteners as a dietitian and a consumer is that ideally, you choose foods as natural and wholesome as possible. The closer it looks to the way it did when it came off a tree or from the ground, the better. With sweeteners, although Health Canada has said they are safe, for the general population I don’t believe they are necessary, and as Lynda said in the segment, sweeteners are not proven to help you lose weight.
Is there a situation when sweeteners may be a good idea? (again, this part didn’t make the segment)
The place where sweeteners may be beneficial, is with people with specific health concerns, such as diabetes as certain sweeteners can make it easier to keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range. But for the average healthy person, I would much rather your taste buds enjoy the natural flavor of food…without the additives.
Plus, you have to be particularly careful with specific sweeteners that end in the letters “ol” such as sorbital and xylitol. If you consume too much of this type of sweetener, it can trigger a….lets just say – horrible reaction in your gut, and I don’t just mean feeling bloated and gassy. It can send you running to the bathroom like your pants are on fire.
What do you think about artificial sweeteners? Do you use them and are you concerned about their safety?