Even if you’ve never heard of aspartame, stevia or sucralose, you’ve almost certainly seen and tasted them.
Those scientific-sounding names are more commonly known as artificial sweeteners — the brightly colored “sugar” packets you can find at most any restaurant, diner or coffee shop. With brand names such as Equal, NutraSweet, Truvia and Splenda, they are often seen by consumers as healthier alternatives to plain old sugar.
And, at least in some ways, they are.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right choice for everyone or for every circumstance.
“Moderation is the key to any healthy diet,” says Kelsey Tiller, a registered dietitian at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital. “It’s important to remember that while artificial sweeteners can help reduce caloric intake, a healthy diet is about much more than just the number of calories you consume – it’s about the quality of those calories, too.”