The current research shows that it isn’t dangerous (keyword – not dangerous – it doesn’t say it IS healthy) to be consuming artificial sweeteners. At least for the short time period studied. Longer timelines haven’t been tested yet. But does that mean it’s still a good idea just because it isn’t dangerous? Drinking a lot of water isn’t dangerous either. But drink TOO much water and you die. The damage is in the dosage.
So Are We On Board or Not?
Look, there’s two types of philosophies in this world – innocent until proven guilty or guilty until proven innocent. We pretty much agree that it’s better to play it safe and at the very least minimize your intake of artificial sweeteners until it’s proven to be healthy, rather than risk it all now and hope for the best.
HOWEVER, that does NOT mean to demonize the product.
I recognize that an overconsumption of these sweeteners is not ideal versus just eating whole unprocessed foods, but that doesn’t mean I still won’t enjoy it. I find that I’m the hybrid of all 3 Mind Pump guys. I personally enjoy testing out new supplement powders, diet cokes, and the occasional energy drink (I know, I know) once in awhile. When I do, I let myself enjoy it and not get bogged down by the science. Why? Because I’m focused on the bigger picture of my life.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m taking care of the bigger rocks that have a bigger impact on my health and wellness (i.e. sleep, workouts, relationships), and I make sure 90% of the time, my nutrition is on point (i.e. whole, unprocessed foods, proper ratios of carbs, proteins, fats, and fiber as well as micronutrients). It’s BECAUSE I take care of these big rocks that for the 10% of the time I want to slip off, it’s OK. I’m human. And if you can build those bigger habits then trust me, you will be totally fine.
Where it’s NOT okay, is when people justify it as an allowance to eat more calories. There have been studies done showing people who tend to over consume artificial sweeteners are overall more obese because they flat out eat more food. “Oh I can order the extra large fries because I got a large DIET coke” or “Damn! This whole bag is only 60 calories. I’m gonna eat 10 servings cause MACROS BRO. IIFYM.” There are even some studies showing how they negatively affect the gut microbiome and can cause insulin resistance. This would explain the lack of satiation, and constant overeating by many.
Bottom Line: Focus on the bigger picture. Keep your nutrition 90% on point, then allow yourself the 10% to splurge on things that you enjoy that may be less ideal. It’s long term behaviors like this, that allow you to follow your plan long term vs short term. If having a diet coke here and there, or whatever you enjoy is the difference of sticking with your program or not, then enjoy the damn coke.