Artificial sweeteners are used by millions of Britons to cut their calorie intake and lower sugar consumption.
The thinking is that these sweeteners, which have few or no calories, are better for the waistline and don’t increase blood sugar levels.
However, research suggests one of the most popular — stevia — may not be good for our gut bacteria, which play a key role in a host of functions including immunity and mood.
Artificial sweeteners, which can be added to drinks or sprinkled over food, include sucralose, aspartame, saccharin, and the sugar alcohols xylitol and erythritol.
A more recent option, stevia is a natural, plant-based sugar alternative, which can be bought in liquid, powder and granulated forms and can be used in tea and coffee, or in baking.