Are Sugar Substitutes Good or Bad?

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There are countless reasons to eliminate added sugar from your diet.

  • It saps your health,
  • contributes to a growing waistline, leaves you feeling tired, moody, and blah,
  • and it fills your body with empty calories that can make you feel like you’re riding a blood sugar roller coaster.

If you’ve ever tried to cut back on sugar before, you know it can be a real challenge! This is one reason a lot of people lean to artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes, but are they any better for you?


There have been so many health controversies and heated debates on whether or not artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are the best substitutes for a sugar-free lifestyle.

One thing to remember is that these sugar substitutes are synthetic chemicals, the reason they are called artificial sweeteners nor are they a whole food even though some might have come originally from a natural source. They are still considered processed food.

Artificial sweeteners have that sweet taste, actually, some have a sweeter taste than regular sugar. They all offer zero-calorie and are labeled as sugar-free or low in sugar so they are a no-brainer for those looking to lose weight. (1) BUT, their effects on appetite and weight loss or gain vary among studies.

Did you know that non-nutritive sweeteners are far more potent than table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup? Just a very small amount produces a sweet taste comparable to that of sugar, without comparable calories. That leads to an overstimulation of sugar receptors from frequent use of these hyper-intense sweeteners may limit tolerance for more complex tastes.

So what does that mean? It means that if you use these sweeteners on a daily basis it eventually changes your taste buds and things that were once were very sweet seem not as sweet anymore and vise versa.

It might also result in you craving more sweets and reaching for something sweet and processed over highly nutritious food, and even gaining weight. Participants in the San Antonio Heart Study who drank more than 21 diet drinks per week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who didn’t drink diet soda. (1) Some studies believe that artificial sweeteners might even increase appetite and promote weight gain (2). Regular consumption might also lead to lowering your metabolism which in the end will increase your hunger that will eventually lead to weight gain. (3)

Some artificial sweeteners have been linked with potential health issues and digestive upsets or poor gut health.

Now, I am not saying all of the sugar substitutes are bad….they do offer benefits if you are trying to lose weight cutting calories, helps people who have diabetes to reduce their sugar consumption without raising their blood sugar, and they don’t cause tooth decay. (4) (5)

So what should you do? If you must use sugar substitutes be mindful, treat it like processed food, and use it in a limited moderation within conjunction of a healthy whole foods diet. Try adding some natural sugar source like fruit when wanting something sweet. Natural fruits are whole food, high in nutrients, and high in fiber but if you are watching your sugar intake just make sure to keep in moderation to 2-3 servings a day.

Need help in reaching your Wellness Goals? If you are looking for guidance, coaching, accountability, and motivation in your health, nutrition, and fitness….I can HELP! Schedule a 15min Success Call to ask any questions or see if you are a good fit for my 360 Holistic Wellness Program TODAY!

Published by Erin Wheless Wellness

I am a passionate Health and Wellness Professional who thrives on helping and motivating others into a healthier way of life, improving their quality of life being in a more Zen state of mind, along with helping them obtain a stronger body, mind, and soul through a holistic approach with health, nutrition, habits, mindset, and fitness wrapped all in one excellent package. All of these elements work in perfect harmony. I believe in coaching the body and the mind from the inside out. I want to help them be the best version of themselves and want to help make a difference one small step at a time. Erin Wheless Wellness programs and coaching services are accessible, weight-neutral, body-positive, age empowered, and all-inclusive. Healthy and Happy bodies come in different shapes and sizes.

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