Real Talk: How Bad Are Artificial Sweeteners Really?

Hallie Gould
PHOTO:

Isabella Behravan

I'm quite habitual, as my nighttime beauty routine suggests. Thus, I do the same thing every morning as well. Before I cleanse, spritz, and moisturise, I make myself a large cup of coffee and scroll through Instagram. Part of the coffee-making process, though, is half a packet of Splenda. Every single day, I wait for the delicious coffee to brew, add almond milk (I did a little research on the troubles with dairy), and tear open one of those little yellow packets. 

Of course, it's no secret that artificial sweeteners are bad for you—anything with artificial in the name naturally suggests that fact—but it never struck me just how dangerous the ingredient could really be. 

New research suggests that Splenda may cause serious health problems, including cancer, Well + Good reports. "A study published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health found that mice who were fed sucralose (the main ingredient in Splenda) daily throughout their lives eventually developed leukemia and other blood cancers." Yikes. But because I don't like to make rash decisions (and because I love Splenda), I decided to get a second opinion.

After reading about the results of the study, I tapped holistic nutritionist Eve Lynn Kessner for her thoughts on the subject. And, yes, as I read her answers, my eyes widened in bewilderment, and I vowed to throw away every last packet of Splenda I owned.

Are artificial sweeteners really bad for you?

"Yes. For a variety of reasons, but I’m not a scientist or biologist, so I don’t want to get caught up here—what I know is natural is best. No matter what. Our bodies are made to jive with our earth and what it provides. Never compromise for artificial. It will not serve you."

What are more healthy options? 

"There are so many healthy natural sweeteners, and the natural sweeteners are the ones that give us energy and nutrients along with the joy of sweetness. Try raw honey or agave (a little goes a long way). I bake with coconut nectar and brown rice syrup. Molasses has a fantastic distinct flavour, as do dates (blend them into your smoothies)."

I asked her about which other artificial sweeteners would be better for my body, and she shook her head in disappointment. Well, I imagined that's what she did because we were chatting over email. Turns out, she doesn't practice using artificial sweeteners (at all, like, not ever) and would never want her clients to. 

Kessner explained, "Like anything else, go for quality over quantity. Artificial sweeteners are so incredibly sweet it can skew and even numb our tastes. Using less of something natural will bring out the true flavours of the foods you’re eating and give you the most nutritional benefit. Give yourself only the best, only the most natural!"

So there you have it. I'm done with Splenda and you should be too. 

Do you ever use artificial sweeteners? If not, what's your all-natural alternative of choice? Let us know in the comments below.

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