Myth Vs. The Sweet
(Science-Based) Reality

There’s a lot of misinformation out there around sweeteners (or sugar substitutes). It seems that everyone is reading – and posting – about whether or not they’re good for you. The short answer – sweeteners are a great choice when you want to add sweetness (with less calories and sugar) to the foods and beverages you love. And, their safety is backed by decades of serious research.

From erythritol and weight management to diabetes and heart health, we’re breaking down the myths surrounding sweeteners with some science-based sweet reality.

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The Top Myths & Sweet Truths That Everyone is Talking About

There’s a lot of noise about sweeteners in the news and on social.
It’s time to get real and answer some of the most asked questions about sweeteners and our health once and for all.

The Sweet Reality of Plant-Based Stevia Sweeteners

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Erythritol’s Role in Sugar Substitutes

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Erythritol Safety

The Myth

There’s been a lot of talk about erythritol and heart health – with articles that I’ve read saying that erythritol is bad for my heart.

What is erythritol?
Is erythritol safe?

The Sweet Reality

Erythritol is a type of carbohydrate called a sugar alcohol that’s almost as sweet as sugar but has no (that’s right, zero) calories. It’s used to provide sweetness to so many of the foods we love, including stevia and monk fruit sweeteners – where it helps to balance the sweetness of these plant-based ingredients.

This simple video breaks it
down in more detail

Erythritol is a sweetener that naturally occurs in many fruits and vegetables, including grapes, melons, and pears. For more than 30 years, erythritol has also been commercially produced through a fermentation process, like those used to make beer, bread and cheese.

In 1999 (almost 25 years ago), erythritol was given the highest safety rating possible by the World Health Organization and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the UN Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives.

When it comes to erythritol and cardiovascular risks, there’s more than thirty years of scientific research that establishes erythritol is safe for us to enjoy in the foods we love to eat. Nutrition experts have shown that erythritol does not affect blood sugar (our main source of energy) or insulin levels. And food safety experts agree.

You may have seen a study published back in February 2023 in which the authors sought to examine potential links between erythritol and cardiovascular disease risk in individuals who were already at risk for developing cardiovascular issues. But the study had several limitations, including:

Sweeteners and Weight Management

The Myth

I keep reading that I shouldn’t use sweeteners to help with weight management – and they may even make me crave sweet foods even more.

Is this true?

The Sweet Reality

Health experts – and decades of scientific research – have shown that sweeteners don’t make you feel hungrier, eat more food or crave sweets more often. When part of a balanced diet – and regular exercise (hello spin class!) – sweeteners can help manage the calories you eat every day.

Sweeteners and Diabetes

The Myth

I have diabetes and heard that using sweeteners will spike my blood glucose levels.

What’s the deal?

The Sweet Reality

 Another myth! People living with diabetes – and those who are limiting the amount of sugar in their diets – may choose to use a calorie-free sweetener as an alternative to sugar. Research has shown that calorie-free sweeteners, like those made with stevia and monkfruit, have little to no effect on blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels.

And, if you’re worried that erythritol may impact your blood sugar, research has shown that erythritol does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels.

How Much is Safe

The Myth

How much sweetener
can I have each day?

I keep seeing different reports about how many packets I can have.

The Sweet Reality

Recently, the food safety experts at the FDA shared their guidance on how much sweetener is safe to consume each and every day. And thankfully a lot goes a long way.

For stevia specifically, the FDA says that we can safely consume up to 27 packets of stevia sweetness a day. That’s more than we’d ever need since each packet is equivalent in sweetness to 2 teaspoons of sugar.

packets of stevia sweetness
teaspoons of sugar!

The Sweetness Barometer

Here’s a look at just how many sweetener packets are safe to consume per person every day

* Number of sweetener packets is based on a person with a body weight of 132 lbs

The Sweet Reality

Correct! For stevia-based sweeteners specifically, the FDA says that we can safely consume up to 27 packets of stevia sweetness a day. That’s more than we’d ever need since each packet is equivalent in sweetness to 2 teaspoons of sugar

Keep going…

The Credibility Factor

Nutrition experts are constantly learning more about the foods we eat by conducting scientific research. And with new research studies being published all of the time, it’s hard to tell if a research study is credible or not.

That’s why we’re breaking down the top 5 factors to look out for when assessing if a study is credible or not:

The Experts

High quality and reliable studies are conducted by qualified professionals who may have expert credentials such as PhD or MD. Also, affiliations to universities, hospitals and health organizations are important.

The Publication

Credible research studies appear in high impact scientific journals that have undergone substantive and robust peer reviews to ensure they are scientifically sound.

The What

Look for studies that are human clinical trials with study designs that use proper controls and relevant populations and account for lifestyle factors like dietary intake and physical activity.

The Numbers

Look for studies that include a large number of individuals because they will be a better representation of the population and provide more accurate results.

Study Type

Conclusions can differ based on the study type. For example, randomized control trials can suggest cause and effect while observational studies can only suggest correlations. This is important because correlation only indicates one or more things were observed at the same time, but does not establish a direct connection between the two things, such as whether one factor caused another factor to occur.

What Experts Are Saying

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The Latest Sweet Reality

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