It's no secret that many of our favourite foods contain very high amounts of sugar, and due to its very addictive nature, it can be hard to give up our tasty sweet treats. With growing health concerns, Public Health England wants our sugar intake to be cut by a fifth by 2020 by encouraging us to opt for healthier alternatives to sugar.
There are various amounts of alternatives to sugar that we can enjoy guilt free, such as the natural sugars found in foods like fruit and dairy products. But there are also artificial sweeteners that we can add to foods to sweeten them without using large amounts of sugar. But are these sweeteners really that much healthier for us?
Sweeteners provide an intense sweet flavour to foods in very small doses meaning there are far fewer calories found in them compared to sugar. Therefore, opting for sweeteners rather than sugar would be a healthier option.
Despite many people believing that because sweeteners are an artificial flavour they are unhealthy, some sweeteners such as Stevia-based sweeteners are made from plants. But will this help weight loss? Obviously, cutting sugar from your diet will have a positive affect on your health but how much weight you lose really depends on your lifestyle and exercise choices.
The European Food Safety Authority sets an acceptable daily intake, which is the maximum amount considered safe to consume each day over the course of your lifetime and these limits are very high compared to sugar.
An "average" adult (weighing 70kg) could drink up to 14 cans of a sugar-free fizzy drink or use 40 teaspoons of the sweetener Aspartame in their tea or coffee each day without exceeding the limit. For a child (weighing 23kg), the equivalent maximum is four cans of drink and 13 teaspoons of sweetener.