CHOICE membership

We want your thoughts on artificial sweeteners


I try and avoid artificial sweeteners as I don’t like all the chemicals. The exception is once a week when I meet friends for a social evening at our local club. I will have a diet softdrink as there are very limited choices on offer for non-drinkers trying to avoid sugar. Plain water gets a little boring when socialising.

I am currently following the CSIRO Total Well-being Diet and find it interesting that they do not limit diet drinks in the plan - they can be freely consumed. I previously would have had a regular softdrink.

At home I make a fermented ginger beer which is sweetened with a small amount of honey to aid the fermentation process. It is a refreshing drink which is not sweet and I really notice the sweetness of the diet drink when I am out. I also avoid fruit juice or full soft drink as they are ‘hollow’ calories and I would rather eat a piece of fresh fruit.


I never want to eat something with artificial sweeteners and always avoid them. I prefer low sugar drinks. When I tried kombucha fermented soft drink from the supermarket 2 brands had stevia added which was disappointing but the cheaper option at $3.50 for a 400ml bottle. I don’t trust their effect on sugar absorption and weight gain . I prefer things to taste less sweet anyway.


Here’s @AliceRichard’s article on artificial sweeteners. Many thanks to all the contributions made in the Community forum, it improves the information we provide and is greatly appreciated.


Thanks @BrendanMays, and thanks everyone who commented!


I have been taking apple cider vinegar that includes the ‘mother’ - so effective to reduce my sugar craving, which also reduces appetite, and helps me lose weight. Still requires willpower, but does make it possible to do more than just imagine the benefit of less sugar and less consumption.



The final line in that article taints the integrity of the content. It’s a shame to see such nonsense creeping into science reporting, especially from someone with a PhD. This line, given as the final word by the author, reveals their unaccounted for bias. The ‘appeal to nature’ is a fallacy where the person thinks that because it is natural it is good, and because it is unnatural it is bad. This is simply wrong and should not be the final word in such a (publicly) controversial topic.


I agree, the “all natural” fallacy is seen far too often today. I get the feeling that Parletta had to finish up quickly and grabbed that quote as the first thing that looked like it could be relevant.

Processing food (in the form of cooking and preserving) has benefited humanity for tens of thousands of years and there is no reason to stop. This does not mean that all processing is beneficial or desirable. However it is absurd to reject beer, bread, pickles and ham just because they are made in a plant today instead of by hand.

Here is another snappy one-liner from Pollan, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognise as food.” If I followed that advice I would eat only lamb chops and roast beef with carrots, peas and potatoes, all overcooked. I would never have tasted olives, garlic or zucchinis.

I quite liked much of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” but when it comes to generating these apothegms he misses the mark a long way by over-simplifying. I suppose you sell copies any way you can and generating controversy is easy.

But back to the evils of artificial sweeteners, the relevant point is … nothing at all. There is no relevant point, the quotable quote adds nothing.


Yes, another good comment promoting scientific illiteracy! Not recognising ingredient names only proves your lack of education on food ingredients, it in no way implies safety of the food.


Perhaps not a lack of education on food ingredients but rather not knowing how those ingredients may be labelled by numbers, scientific names, trade names and similar coded ways.


Many academics try and use catchy phrases which are often taken up by the media…it is unfortunate as it may be seen as downplaying a serious subject.

Also, he must be a vegetarian as the phrase does not inclusive for us omnivores.


Yep deadly nightshade is a plant but I wouldn’t eat it, nor would I happily consume a meal of eucalyptus leaves both probably would leave me quite dead and if not, in very serious ill health. Throw away phrases should be thrown away.


Exactly what I mean :slight_smile:


I believe the question should be: “Do we need sweet foods?”
The problem with sugar is with the fructose component, which the lover cannot cope with. The implications of that are far reaching, especially for the 80% of processed foods on supermarket shelves and for the fruit industries. No woknder they are worried.
18 months ago I weighed 110 kilos. Today I weigh 73 kilos. No fructose, minimum carbohydrates. No counting calories. no weighing food.


Apolgies for my typing error: “lover” should be “liver”.


I’ve been really careful of my sugar intake for the past 18 months or so but I still like a little sweetener in my coffee and tea. I use Stevia as I’ve read a lot of bad press about some of the other sweeteners on the market. As far as I know Stevia is derived from the Stevia plant and has been used in South America for centuries as a sweetener and I feel comfortable with that. In fact I was walking through a plant nursery a while back and came across a Stevia plant in the herb section. I couldn’t resist picking a leaf and tasting it and it was incredibly sweet, so I feel that it’s a fairly natural sweetener. However I have no way of knowing what the Stevia is mixed with to make the commercially sold sweetener. Since going on the ‘no/low sugar’ eating regime, I’ve lost a bit of weight and have been able to keep it off.


You might like to read this and the other posts in the thread this links to:


A couple of articles regarding research into artifically sweetened and sugar-free drinks.

I did not drink them before and I certainly would not drink them now.


Fred, my man, Sugar-free drinks are not unhealthy. In fact, they are much healthier than their sugar-filled counterpart for one trying to reduce their sugar and/or caloric intake. Have a read of this article to clear up this myth. It is written by a scientist and science communicator in this field.


New large scale research on sugar sweetened beverages and artificial ones too. The news is not good for sweetened beverage imbibers.

Interesting Engineering.

Edit: the original report is here Circulation - Original research article