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“Natural” Or Not, Use Of Low-Calorie Sweeteners Should Be Limited

May 2, 2019: 12:00 AM EST
As consumers seek to cut down on sugar intake while enjoying a little sweetness, sales of “natural” plant-based sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia are booming, while sales of artificial sweeteners are plummeting. Stevia sales grew 11.9 percent between 2017 and 2018, while artificial sweetener sales slid 6.6 percent. Several studies have highlighted the health benefits – or lack of harmful effects – of using natural sweeteners. But the big question is: Do they help people lose weight? So far, the evidence doesn't support that idea. Are stevia and monk fruit better because they're natural? Remember that "natural" doesn't automatically mean "better." For example, whole stevia leaves and less purified stevia extracts aren't approved for use in food because of concerns related to kidney health. Dietician Christy Brissette says consumers should try to limit the use of low-calorie sweeteners to help taste buds adapt to less sweetness over time. And nutritious foods such as fruit provide fiber and nutrients along with natural sugars.[Image Credit: © Tafilah Yusof from Pixabay]
Christy Brissette, "As zero-calorie natural sweeteners such as stevia surge in popularity, here’s what you need to know", The Washington Post , May 02, 2019, © The Washington Post
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