Are sweeteners unhealthy?

Are sweeteners actually bad for you?

With the abundance of information about nutrition and questions around ingredients steadily increasing, it's important to know what is in your food and how it may impact on your health - both positively and negatively. The interrogation of sweeteners has been particularly topical, especially due to the trend of people looking to reduce their sugar intake and opting for a low sugar diet. But what are sweeteners? 

Erythritol sweeteners on a spoon

What are sweeteners? 

Sweeteners are ingredients that are added to foods, drinks and other consumables to enhance the overall sweetness. Sweeteners can be split into two distinct groups, nutritive and non-nutritive. Nutritive sweeteners, often referred to as ‘sugars’ or ‘added sugars’, have nutritive value and include glucose, fructose, honey and syrups. Non-nutritive or artificial sweeteners don’t have nutritive value and are found in a lot of ‘sugar-free’ food, fizzy drinks and fruit juices. 

Are sweeteners bad for you?

Sweeteners have gotten a bad rap in the past, this is partly due to artificial or non-nutritive sweeteners being used in abundance in relatively unhealthy foods and snacks. However, research has shown that natural and nutritive sweeteners are perfectly safe to include in a balanced diet and have less of an effect on blood glucose.

A large group of these types of sweeteners include polyols. These contain carbohydrates and calories, however less calories than sugar and have a reduced effect on blood glucose. Polyols such as erythritol, sorbitol and xylitol are frequently used as low sugar substitutes in food; with even more natural sweeteners found to be perfectly healthy when consumed in a balanced diet.  

Low sugar Victoria sponge cake with a bit out of it

Polyols and diabetes 

Not all of the carbohydrates are absorbed in the body when polyols such as erythritol are consumed, making them a safer and popular type of sweetener for diabetes and ketogenic diets. Although natural sweeteners and polyols have a reduced effect on blood sugar levels, those with diabetes should still check with their healthcare advice team before deciding to consume these sweeteners.

Sweeteners and Lo-Dough

In all of our sweet products and recipes, we try as best we can to avoid adding extra sugar and instead opt for erythritol. This way we can create delicious low carb and low sugar recipes that have a much lower impact on blood sugar levels. If you're looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, try our best low sugar desserts under 3g of sugar. 

For more information on sweeteners, sugars ad diabetes, read Diabetes UK's extensive guide. If you are unsure please ask a healthcare advice team.