One of the questions that I am always asked relates to the use of artificial sweeteners. The primary concern is whether they are safe. My short answer is that, based on my reading of the literature, they are far safer than sugar. We now know the metabolic consequences of consuming sugar in spite of the largely successful efforts of the sugar industry to confuse the public on this issue. If you surf the net you can find more information about this. Here is a recent article by my good friend, Gary Taubes, on the topic of sugar industry deception:
The popularity of Dr Robert Lustig and his YouTube video, “The Bitter Truth About Sugar”, is another example of a public awakening to the fact that they have been deceived:
At the same time, if you search the web about virtually any of the artificial sweeteners, you will find all kinds of scary stories of your imminent demise should you consume any of those products. Aspartame is the target of the most intensive attacks. There are two things to be considered here. One, when you actually look at the scientific literature it is very hard to convince yourself that any of the sweeteners have any significant adverse effects. Aspartame has been rigorously studied and has been in use for over two decades now and, still, there is no conclusive evidence of any serious harm.
The second consideration gets back to sugar and the industrial lobby. Who has the most to lose should artificial sweeteners displace sugar? The sugar industry has a long history of obfuscating the science and distorting health information about their product just as the tobacco industry did when their product was under attack. Would the sugar industry hire people to promote the idea that artificial sweeteners are harmful and that a “real, natural, popular food” such as sugar is preferable? I don’t know the answer to that question but when I see the plethora of paranoid nonsense about artificial sweeteners that is propagated on the web I wonder what is behind it. Follow the money, perhaps? At any rate, my general advice to people is to avoid sugar and if they must have something sweet, to choose an artificially sweetened product based on their personal preference.
Dr Peter Attia has posted what I consider to be a thoughtful, informative and much more definitive piece on this topic at:
Now, your reward for reading this is that you can now try my favourite recipe for chocolate mousse. This is one of the treats that my kids love. It is quick and easy to make and can be stored in the fridge for a few days. It goes really well with a couple of thinly sliced strawberries or it can be eaten on its own.
1 litre whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 packets Equal
3 Tbsp pure chocolate powder
Chill a large bowl and the beaters from your electric mixer in the freezer. Pour cream into the chilled bowl and mix until it just begins to stiffen. Add chocolate, vanilla and Equal. Whip until stiff. Serve alone or with a few berries. Store in a covered container in the fridge. Can also be frozen in re-usable popsicle containers.