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We want your thoughts on artificial sweeteners


No I never deliberately consume artificial sweeteners. They give me the most horrendous stomach pains. I suffer from IBS so I assume that is the reason I have such a severe reaction to them. I have tried stevia and other natural sweeteners but don’t like the taste.


Sugar is much more dangerous than artificial sweeteners. Sugar contains no nutrients and is “empty calories”, like alcohol, which must be avoided if you are trying to lose weight. I use artificial sweeteners and products that are artificially sweetened, rather than sugar. Although it is hard to avoid sugar in processed foods - even a tin of beans contains sugar.

Stevia seems to be the way to go. It appears to be less dangerous than other sweeteners, BUT it is used in very small quantities to sweeten, so is usually bulked up with dodgy fillers to make it easier to use. I wonder how safe the fillers are. One brand that praises the safety of stevia uses only 2% stevia to 98% filler (maltodextrin) in its product.

Stevia can be grown as a pot plant, and the leaves either chopped up and added to food or dried and pulverised before use. Unfortunately stevia hates cold so I can’t grow it where I live.


Looking at,51, you will find that the research does not agree that artificial sweeteners are less “dangerous” than sugar.

In case you haven’t, you may wish to read @grahroll’s post above (We want your thoughts on artificial sweeteners) about Stevia.


[quote=“algemyone, post:44, topic:14722, full:true”]
Sugar contains no nutrients and is “empty calories”, like alcohol, which must be avoided if you are trying to lose weight.[/quote]

Whilst I don’t use refined sugar in cooking, I do consume glucose and rice malt as part of my home made energy supply when out on a long bike ride (> ~50km). There really is no other way to get enough calories in quickly, as fat and protein take longer to be digested, although I do eat dates , sultanas and nuts as well on really long rides. Mostly empty kJ (or kcal if you prefer the old units) is what I need, as I’m not trying to lose weight, but rather, have enough energy to get back home :wink:

We successfully grew quite a large stevia bush here, where it is frosty in winter, by putting it just downslope of some other shrubbery, so it was partially protected from the cold air.


Recently there was a very interesting and informative documentary on ABC which looked at bowel and digestive health issues and the possible health problems which may be affected by the balance of good/bad bacteria in our digestive system and bowels.

I am sorry but I can NOT recall the name of the program which featured this information.

However they did an experiment with a small number of volunteers whom were each given a different artificial sweetener to consume for a short period of time.

The results showed that artificial sweeteners had negative effects on the balance of good/bad bacteria species present in the digestive system and bowels.

In fact some people even had negative changes to blood markers which indicated they were at risk of possibly developing adult onset diabetes.

The ONLY artificial sweetener which did NOT affect the balance of good/bad bacteria in the digestive system and bowels was STEVIA, Which had no apparent effect on the balance good/bad bacteria levels.

As a result of this experiment STEVIA is the only sweetener I feel safe using.

If you have been advised by your doctor that you are at risk of adult onset diabetes and are using artificial sweeteners which are not STEVIA based it may well be worth switching to entirely STEVIA based sweeteners and then being retested by your doctor to determine if you are still showing signs of possibly being at risk of adult onset diabetes.


Here Is a link to another well researched article on artificial sweeteners and the link between digestive system and bowel good/bacteria and possible negative blood changes.


Many years ago I was a diet coke a day person. Then when my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family I instinctively felt like Diet Coke was a poison that I should not be ingesting

As the years roll on the odd article has confirmed my initial misgivings about NutraSweet. I feel the same about GM foods … regardless of the research, all governments over the world seem to have been co-opted and our food standards and therapeutic goods authorities are as much in the hands of corporate influence as our governments.

I look at manufactured food with a level of scepticism these days and I do my own research and go for the least harm, least processed option and read articles, watch documentaries from reputable sources and see how I feel during and after eating.

To sweeten foods or drinks I firstly choose dextrose as my first option (glucose) or honey and then sugar, but have actually trained myself off sugar. Now anything slightly sweet is not nearly as pleasant as it was. Not so easy with the kids but I try to get them to choose unprocessed low sugar options before anything else. All my kids feel sick after a sugar hit so they are becoming less inclined to eat it as well.


It was a Catalyst special program on Tuesday night about three/four weeks ago. It can still be watched on iview or through the ABC Catalyst website


Thanks for remembering, that indeed was the program which provided that quite informative and somewhat alarming information on the possible adverse affects of artificial sweeteners.


in my opinion, artificial sweeteners might taste good, however all the negative effects we’re getting from them are simply not worth it. with this being said, i personally i’m trying to avoid it as much as i can by either not taking anything or stevia. but i don’t have anything against those who do take them, their lives - their choices!


I specifically avoid anything that is sweetened with non-sugars, as I’ve found that I seem to be very sensitive to the aftertaste of most. So, my answers are no, no, and no.


. Only in exceptional circumstances, as we avoid things like softdrinks.
. No
. No, tried a sample of artificial sweeteners when a relative left some after a visit. We didn’t like the taste and so threw it out. We have tried growing stavia and used the leaves in food, but again we didn’t like it so stopped. The bottom line is we just avoid sweetening our food & drink.


This was an interesting read @jputting - thanks!


As noted in my very long post far above I find Stevia as a herb to have a bitter after taste, and from a lot of accounts this is the same for nearly everyone who uses it, thought to be caused by the glucoside Stevioside in it.

There are some products on the market with much of the Stevioside removed and only the glucoside Reb A left in it. These also likely have Erythritol in it as a filler which isn’y quite as sweet as sucrose ( about 70% as sweet). That might, if you wanted to try, be a better experience. I also understand completely if you choose not to as your health and dietary needs probably do not require the use of non sugar sweeteners in place of sugar (of any type eg honey).

I do not use Nutrasweet TM or similar sweeteners as they have an aspirin like aftertaste to me and instead I use Stevia mixes. There is also a bit of evidence as to the adverse health effects of those types of sweeteners. This underlying taste is due to a genetic trait that a decent portion of the community share, and I suspect this is what @ScottOKeefe has in his genetic makeup.


Thanks @grahroll. I did read your very informative post on stevia, and referred another member to it (on the 17th of Nov.)

We don’t have any issues that require us to eschew sugars (in any form), so when we do need to sweeten, such as in jams, we do so with plain old sugar or honey. Even then we tend to use far less than the recipes recommend.


Has anybody tried the CSR Logicane Low GI Sugar?

Here is the link to the CSR website:

They claim their process works by spraying an all natural molasses extract onto raw sugar. This molasses naturally increases sugar’s resistance to digestion and gives it a Low Glycemic Index (GI) rating of 55 and this is supposed to curb hunger cravings.

This has been reviewed by the nutritionist Catherine Saxelby and seems to be a well researched and developed product with a sound scientific basis.

It is expensive compared to regular sugar with CSR Logicane Sugar retailing at approximately $3.63c for 750gms.

If the taste is comparable or the same as raw sugar this could possibly be a more healthy alternative to artificial sweeteners for those who don’t like the taste or are concerned about possible adverse health effects of artificial sweeteners.


I do not use artificial sweeteners. I try to avoid them as they badly upset my stomach. Most antacids contain sweeteners as do throat lozenges. And try finding a cordial that does not contain sweeteners. Good luck. Cordial is not an essential but in the summer doing a lot of sport I need something to add a bit of flavour to the water. I do not see the need for sweeteners in medication for the small amount you take. Is any sweetening needed at all?


I wondered the same thing @lynw1947, when I found that Baby Panadol contains artificial sweetener - not something I really wanted to give my child! But paracetamol is very bitter so I guess that’s why they sweetened it (children are more likely to accept sweet-tasting medicine). Perhaps adult medication is sweetened for similar reasons - to mask the unpleasant taste of the active ingredient?


I agree sweeteners are probably to mask unpleasant taste. But the extreme diarea they can cause and the amount that would be needed good old fasioned sugar would be a safer option. For adults no sweetening at all would be fine.


I agree that many medications can indeed have an unpleasant taste or lingering aftertaste and so sweeteners are needed to mask this to make them palatable, Many medications are provided in variety of formulations so experiment and see which form suits you best.

I am not adversely affected by sweeteners. But I always prefer medications in capsule form as they are easier for me to swallow and some sweetened medications still retain an unpleasant taste or aftertaste despite being sweetened.