Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant and watched someone add multiple pink, blue or yellow packets to their food or drink? Whenever I see one of these "packet aficionados," I just want to lean over and ask, "What's wrong with good old-fashioned sugar?"
Some days I feel like I am "sweet talking" all day long. Many clients I see in my practice have come to believe that artificial sweeteners are a healthier way to satisfy their cravings for sweet. Unfortunately, they're not.
As a culture, how did we get so sweet obsessed, anyway? Like MTV, The Simpsons and Cyndi Lauper, they came to fame in the 1980s.
How Sweet is Sweet Enough?
In the 80's, the fat-free revolution hit the shelves. We were told fat was the villain -- as long as you avoided fat, all would be well. But, what happens when you take away fat (and its resulting flavor)? Manufacturers were left with a handful of options to flavor their products -- namely sugar or non-nutritive artificial sweeteners, thereby creating a generation who preferred sweet and sweeter.
This conditioning has led us to where we are today -- wanting to satisfy our sweet tooth without ramifications. The result? More and more new sweeteners are born each decade.
Non-nutritive sweeteners range from half as sweet as sugar to many times sweeter than sugar, with the average being 200-300 times sweeter than sugar. Which leads me to ponder: just how sweet does sweet need to be?
Fuel, Don't Fool Your Body
Today, many well-known diet programs and health care professionals advocate the use of sweeteners to decrease the amount of sugar and calories a person takes in. What's interesting, however, is that the longer these sweeteners have been on the market, the more obese our nation has become.