“Is sweetener better for you than sugar?”

Yep – I know. I have covered this time and time again. Sugar is a tough topic to talk about when it comes to health. Fruits and vegetables are full of it…but that’s ‘healthy’ sugar, right?

There is so much confusion over the subject that I’m going to break it down in to smaller sections (similar to how I created my vegan nutrition articles).

So let’s get a few questions in and cut through the hard topics first;

  • Are sugar substitutes bad for us?
  • Is sweetener bad for us?
  • How do sugar substitutes effect our bodies? (People have regularly searched for “Artificial sweetener side effects –so there’s clearly a concern over sweetener).

Are sugar substitutes bad for us?                                

Let’s get the big question out of the way. The biggest question is often so because of the complexity of it. Sugar is bad for us, yes. It offers no benefit to our bodies but it satisfies our senses which can make us feel amazing… yeah, I’ve spoken about that before too, it’s a drug. Sugar acts like a drug to our brain.

“How do I know what ‘sugar substitutes’ are”? Sugar substitutes are essentially anything other than ‘white sugar’. It can be classes as just ‘non-standard’ sugar, brown grain sugar, foods, in sweeteners and in anything that ‘acts’ like sugar on the brain regardless. Here are some words to look out for;

Aspartame, Molasses, Sucralose, Saccharin to name a few.

 Why are sugar substitutes bad for us? – They are little devils to your appetite, confusing your taste buds and your willpower. When you eventually stop eating sugar your body and brain starts to reset.

When you finally stop trying to take shortcuts with sugar, your whole body starts to recalibrate. How do sugar substitutes effect our bodies? (People have regularly searched for “Artificial sweetener side effects –so there’s clearly a concern over sweetener).

If you know me or my blog you’ll know I have a rising passion for hating slimming world (not because I don’t think it works…I just don’t think it’s healthy to count calories or restrict you’re eating). Things that get me heated are the popular search terms for ‘sweetener’ being “is sweetener free on slimming world”? Why do we incessantly worry about our food? When it comes to eat, eat healthily and you remove the worry. – Enough moaning. Back on topic.

Is sweetener bad for us?

Sweetner, whether in packets, tablets or anything else for that matter, are playing all kinds of mischief on your taste, your appetite, and even your restraint.

Reasons to stop having sugar and sugar substitutes

  • Your taste buds will stop getting tricked.
  • Your microbiome can regroup.   
  • Your blood sugar levels will stabilize.
  • You may finally shed those pounds.
  • You’ll reduce your intake of GMOs.
  • You’ll make better food choices.
  • You don’t feel fully satisfied on artificial sweeteners.


When you finally stop trying to take shortcuts with sugar, your whole body starts to recalibrate.

What About Stevia?

Stevia is a plant-based non-caloric sweetener that was not included in the study. There are some animal studies that have shown that stevia can be digested by gut bacteria, but there is no data regarding how this might affect metabolism.

In conclusion?

Trying to lose weight? Try eliminating all sugar substitutes, sugar, and frankly, all sugary foods — as well as foods that convert to sugar. Most people will find that processed carbohydrates convert to sugar fairly quickly, leading to a spike in insulin (and weight gain!). Companies that sell alternative sweeteners like; stevia, splendour, candarel and other alternatives, sell them as an aid for weight loss, however, there’s no tests to prove this is.

Sucrose is also naturally in plants, including fruit. Most fruits are not on the are too sweet and feed the systemic fungal infection, candida. Very sour fruits like lemons, limes, blackcurrant juice and sour grapefruit are usually fine for most people.

There IS a difference between naturally occurring sucrose in plants and the sucrose found in refined sugar or the sugar syrup used to sweeten foods. Foods that replace sugar with artificial sweeteners may appear to be healthier, but are certainly not as healthy as you think! Look at the entire package; is there added fat, salt, carbohydrates, chemicals?!

I will always advise sticking to a wholefoods diet. Unrefined and processed foods but there are days when instant meals are a must, don’t pick ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low sugar’ as they’re often filled with chemicals and nasty stuff.

What I eat in a day as a healthy (sometimes) Vegan Blogger

Need some alternatives to help curb your cravings?

I have tonnes of sweet alternatives on PurelyAmy or choose some selections from below.

Oatmeal: Try some banana porridge! See a selection of Oaty breakfast.

Start your day savoury: Starting your day off with a savoury breakfast may help reduce cravings for sugar.

Eat more chocolate: Yeah – Dark chocolate is renowned for it’s sugar curbing properties.

Broccoli: Similar to chocolate. They both help reduce cravings.

Coffee: Try a cold brew. It has a much cleaner flavour, so there’s less need to temper bitterness with sugar. Or choose a flavoured coffee grind, like vanilla or hazelnut with a splash of half-and-half or almond milk.

Yogurt: Stir a tablespoon of nut butter into plain yogurt and top with naturally sweetened fresh fruit.

Amy-May Hunt

2 comments on “Sugar are substitutes better for us?”

  1. Very insightful post, Amy. I think it’s funny when people think they’re being healthier if they’re replacing sugar with sugar substitutes. What do you think about people switching to diet coke from regular coke?

    • I always tell people to do their own homework (for this exact reason), people ASSUME that sugar alternatives are better because they’re promoted as ‘natural’ but sugar is natural too. They BOTH do the same thing, which is also what I tell people who ‘swap’ to diet choices. They’re the same thing going into your body.

      Don’t swap, cut out. If you like sweet drinks try fruit juices or squash.

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