Artificial sweeteners and I go way back.
To the days when I subconsciously picked up messages and values from my parents. I learned long ago to value “the pink stuff.” It started with diet soda. (Or, as my parents called it when I was growing up outside of Boston: “tonic.”) That’s the only kind we had in the house. It was never about calories and dieting. (Remember me sharing my Devil Dog story? I was a skinny kid with no food issues.) But those were the days when the message was about not rotting our teeth by drinking the sugary stuff. Teeth rot = bad. Artificial sweetener = good.
Then, in the early 70s, a crisis rocked our house. Suddenly it appeared that saccharin, the artificial sweetener d’jour, might cause cancer. Panic ensued. Most people tossed their Sweet & Low rather than take the risk. But not us. My mother took the opposite approach and began stockpiling. What would we do if they took it off the market!? Cancer shmancer.
Fast forward to the blue packets and the yellow packets. So many choices of artificial sweetener to choose from. And then someone came up with a version that could be used in cooking. Sugar-free foods were popping up everywhere on the grocer’s shelves. And I was buying them. And ignoring the little whispers that maybe the fake stuff wasn’t so good for us. I was no longer the skinny kid who could eat anything. Calories = bad. Artificial sweeteners = good.
I know that there are a lot of people who don’t use sweeteners for a variety of reasons. And I respect each and every one. But I happily kept my head in the sand anytime I heard any buzz that sweeteners might be bad for me or might, heaven forbid, actually cause weight gain, exactly what I am trying to avoid by using them. But the experts are mixed in their opinions and there clearly isn’t enough evidence to convince the government to take sweeteners off the market.
So, for me personally, artificial sweeteners were a part of life and common place in my day to day. Maybe they are bad for me; maybe not. Maybe they are better than the sugar I might ingest in their place. Or agave nectar. Or honey. Or… But this post isn’t intended to debate the merits and risks of artificial sweeteners. I’m not a nutritionist or a scientist or any other type of expert “ist.”
But I am a thinker. And sometimes an over-thinker. And lately I had been thinking that maybe the many, many servings of sweeteners I was ingesting daily might not be doing me any favors. And maybe I was becoming a little too accustomed to the taste of something sweet throughout the day. And maybe I should see what would happen if I tried to go without. Just for a day.
To be continued…
Do you have an opinion about sweeteners in your life, artificial or otherwise?
Special thanks to blogging friend, Ellen, and 3fatchicks forum friend, Heidi, for inspiring my little experiment.