Many people ask me about continuing to use or starting to use artificial sweeteners as an alternative to sugar and other carbohydrates. This is a tricky question. My answer is individual and your plan should be the one that works best for you. Here are the facts you want to consider:
When we initiate consultation I will begin to show you where these sweeteners rank when it comes to degree of sweetness on a carbohydrate scale. They can be as much as 200-800 times sweeter than table sugar. For this reason, they can be more damaging to your palate and more addictive than sugar itself. Continuing to keep these in your diet never really allows you to get off that rollercoaster of cravings for sweets. These will ALWAYS make you hungry for more. The BEST diet would not include any of these alternatives.
That being said, there are some second best alternatives and ways to include these that will harm you LESS. For some people, especially in the beginning of a low carb diet, having a tiny bit of sweetness allows them to STICK WITH IT. As they quickly learn how low carb makes them feel-- more energized, less inflamed, less moody, more focused, happier, etc etc.... they begin to understand WHY dropping the sweets in your life matters. The education piece of our learning helps them understand how the changes happening on the inside are just as important, if not more important, for immunity, disease prevention, and longevity. As time goes by, our cravings for sweetness diminish and you may find it easier to drop these alternatives further into your journey.
Be careful though when including things like artificially sweetened shakes, bars, and baked goods into your new diet. Some people can have just a little and feel perfectly satisfied while continuing on. Others will not be able to stop at just one and find that these things completely unhinge their hunger for all foods!! This can steal your focus and make it very difficult to move on in weeks 2-3 of ACCELERATOR where we really ramp up the FAT LOSS STRATEGIES!
When it comes to using alternatives, there are some smarter ways of including them! First of all, adding sweets into your morning or afternoon in any way can RUIN a day of healthy eating and hunger control. That SWEET morning coffee, even just the sweetness of a tiny bit of dairy, could be what is holding you back from your best you! So maybe consider a tiny something sweet toward the END of a successful day.
Finally, if you choose to use an artificial sweetener the TYPE of sweetener you choose is important. Some sweeteners spike our insulin WAY MORE than others. My ACCELERATOR clients learn all about the importance of lowering INSULIN for fat loss. Small amounts of stevia, monk fruit, truvia, and the newer sugar alcohols erythritol and xylitol have been shown to have the least effect on insulin. However, a little goes a long way! Be wary of any recipe asking you to dump large amounts of these expensive alternatives into the mix.
I personally try to keep these alternatives out of my life as much as possible. A REAL slice of cake, cookie, or ice cream every once in a long while is a safer alternative.