First of all, these sweeteners are man-made, they do not come from nature. I can hear what you're saying, they start from a plant...and that's true. However, they are processed with all kinds of other ingredients, and because this "food product" is not found in nature, our body doesn't know what to do with it.
Studies were conducted by researchers asking participants to drink beverages that were made with regular table sugar and beverages with artificial sweeteners. They did not tell the participants which sweeteners they were drinking. The researchers then scanned their brains and drew bloods. The group drinking the artificial sweeteners had brain activity in what's called the hypothalamus region, which regulates a person's appetite, and had other "abnormal brain activity". The artificial sweeteners triggered a "hunger response" in the whole group of participants. Also, this group's lab work showed increases in hormone activity.
The group of people drinking the beverages with just plain table sugar showed no "abnormal" brain activity whatsoever and this group's hypothalamus had no activity. However, there was no "hormone activity" showing in their blood work, but their blood sugar did rise prompting their pancreas to secrete insulin, which is a normal response....this is what our body is programmed to do. When given foods that comes straight from nature, our body knows how to "handle" it....all the man-made ingredients we feed ourselves everyday is a toxic overload and our body has to literally struggle to deal with it. Our bodies are designed to protect us from "foreign invaders".....anything that is not real food, (if you can place it on your deck in the sun and you come back to it in a day or two and it looks the same), is a foreign invader and our body wants to "attack it" so it doesn't do us harm. If we continue to feed ourselves with artificial and processed foods three times a day everyday, our body is going to start to wear down and lose it's fighting capabilities......and then the REAL TROUBLE begins.
Artificial sweeteners are literally toxic to our body. The more we drink and or eat foods with it, the more addicting they become. There are all kinds of data, studies and research proving these artificial sweeteners are linked to all kinds of cancers, especially brain tumors! Why isn't this information placed on anything containing artificial sweeteners...huge letters stating WARNING: CONSUMING THIS PRODUCT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH???
Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning drinking beverages or eating foods loaded with plain table sugar....that's half our obesity problem in this country. I believe everyone should stay away from sugar regardless...soda is absolutely horrible for anyone's health, whether it has plain sugar in it or artificial sweeteners...it's just that the soda with the artificial sweeteners has more toxic chemicals added to it than the regular soda, with a higher risk of cancers.
My solution to this whole problem is---very simple, make your own flavored drink....I have a pitcher that was really meant for making loose tea....however, in the mesh basket instead of tea leaves, I put any kind of fruit I have on hand, cut up orange slices, strawberries, lemons, limes...anything...what really works well is frozen blueberries...the mesh basket is submerged in the water flavoring it with whatever fruit you are using flavoring the water. The frozen blueberries turns the water purple and really is flavorful. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners...nothing but plain old water and fruit...straight from nature. And, it's dirt cheap....I fill the basket with whatever fruit I'm using for the day, and just continue filling the water as I drink it. As a matter of fact, I have my whole office drinking from this pitcher!
Believe me, your body will thank you for giving it not only something it REQUIRES to do it's job, but, all the antioxidants that comes from the fruit fuels your cells with ammunition to fight off the enemy!