My opinion, however, has changed drastically in the last 5 years or so on these sweeteners. Back in college, I used artificial sweeteners often. I wanted to cut calories and thought that this was a good way to do so. It started with about half a packet of sweetener and gradually increased to a couple of packets per serving. I was drinking about 3 beverages such as tea, coffee, Crystal Light and diet pop containing these sweeteners.
Did you know that artificial sweetener is up to 800x sweeter than sugar depending on the brand? Using artificial sweetener in my case made me become used to food and drinks being very, very sweet. Then, when I would have foods that are naturally sweet, I did not think that they were sweet enough. I found myself craving sugar more and more often. I was bloated all of the time. I found myself constantly hungry and craving foods even if I was full (this is not necessarily related to the artificial sweeteners but I think it may be).
When baking, I now use less sugar than the recipe calls for but do not usually use artificial sweetener. Every so often, I will add about 1/3 of a pack of artificial sweetener to my coffee if it seems bitter but this is probably only once per month. I rarely drink any pop now and do so maybe once every 2-3 months.
Overall, I am not completely against artificial sweeteners but for me, they are not the best choice. For diabetics who need to limit their sugar intake, using artificial sweeteners can be a decent option. I would not recommend that they use multiple packets of artificial sweetener though because as for me, it increased my sugar cravings and made me want all foods to be sweeter.
What is your opinion on artificial sweeteners? Do you use them? If not, what do you use to sweeten your food/beverages?