Most Helpful Girl
There is NO QUESTION that actual sugar is far, far worse for the human body than artificial sweeteners.
This whole idea of "Artificial sweeteners cause the body to crave *real* sugars, and that craving then leads people to overeat..."?
There are some people who have reported this effect, but, of course, ACTUAL sugar has the SAME effect... only much, much, MUCH more so. (There's a reason why you end up eating the whole bag of cookies once you've eaten one, kids.)
Soooo yeah. If the artificial baddies are bad, then, real sugar is WAY badder, in terms of every possible kind of bad.
What's more remarkable, though, is the COMPLETE lack of ANY scientific evidence for *any* consistent effect of this sort (= artificial sweeteners "causing a craving for real sugar").
If this effect were to occur, it would be the result of an insulin spike.
Hmm, let's see here.
• No insulin spike in non-diabetics:
• No insulin spike in non-diabetics with or without carbs:
• No effect on insulin -- or prolactin or cortisol or BG or GH either:
ajcn. nutrition. org/content/49/3/427. full. pdf
I mean, of course there's no such thing as a free lunch, and there ARE adverse effects of consuming too much of these things -- you can get the runs, flatulence, etc. -- but you can just feel those things out.
But, basically, everything these do, real sugar does, and worse.
Best course of action is just to avoid ALL of these things, altogether. If not, then, it's a decision of priorities, and of knowing yourself and how you personally react to the things.
But... if you have a decision of real sugar vs. artificial sugar? Artificial sugar is more healthful, hands fucking down, every damn time.
End of story.2
Most Helpful Guy
Artificial sweeteners get a bad rap in the media because the scientific information is reported by media and bloggers who lack the understanding to comprehend the information and relay it correctly.
One of the most common things you'll hear about sweeteners is that "they're toxic". In the most technical sense, sweeteners contain chemicals that are toxic. But for each chemical, it is the dose that makes the poison. A chemical that requires a low dose for toxicity is more potent than one where you need to eat a lot of it.
Examples of food with "toxic" substances are hot dogs (nitrosamines), any cooked starch like cereal, potatoes, chips (acrylamide), and cooked meat (polycyclic aromatic amines). However, one would never think that a box of Frosted Flakes contains poison, but it technically does.
However, the potency of many "toxic" chemicals in food is very low.
We measure toxicity as the LD50 (lethal dose to kill 50% of test animals). For something like aspartame, the LD50 is greater than 10 grams per kilogram of rat. So assuming the toxicity is the same for rats and humans, an 80 human being would need to eat 800 grams of aspartame in a single sitting, and it would only be lethal to half the people eating it.
In this sense, table salt is a more toxic chemical than aspartame with an LD50 of 3 grams per kilogram. A person eating 180 grams of salt could receive a lethal dose.
There are other factors like the potency of carcinogenicity (if the chemical is carcinogenic), but the concept of potency applies the same.1