The sucralose has always been what troubled me the most about Huel and other meal replacement powders, and in that respect I’m not sure what to make of this research.
“The findings also suggest that whatever benefit or harm there may be to artificial sweeteners is context dependent. A diet drink consumed by itself and on an empty stomach may be far less harmful than one consumed with carbohydrates.”
I think the reason health conscious people are drawn towards “natural” products is because it makes them think of nature, the earth, plants, etc. They feel like they are consuming something that humans have naturally evolved to eat. I think that must just be an in-built tendency. And for the most part, it works. It’s why, when given the option between eating banana or some plastic, only a lunatic would eat the plastic.
Of course, this only really applies when we’re talking about whole foods. Once we’re talking about individual extracted chemicals, it’s rather meaningless. When we’re talking about a chemical added to make something taste nice, all that matters is whether it does your body harm or not.
I agree with you on their reasoning, but there’s also the issue that in the case of, for example, the banana that you mention, selective breeding over many centuries by humans has hugely changed what bananas are like. They used to be less sweet, smaller and have seeds. Given how much we’ve changed various fruits and vegetables via selective breeding to make them sweeter, I find it difficult to really distinguish them from artificial ingredients anyway.
Pretty much. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, they’re still a good choice due to the potentially beneficial nature of the phytonutrients in them however. My main issue is with the assumption natural stuff is better even after we’ve modified it heavily, and even in spite of the fact so many toxic compounds exist in nature (even ones far more toxic than anything man-made).
And this is the essence of the complete foods movement. People may actually be healthier if they consume a processed product that contains all necessary nutrients than to eat natural wholefoods but accidentally not get enough of some nutrients. Healthy, natural wholefoods are only desirable if they are your best chance of getting all the nutrients you need. Once you create a product that you can guarantee has everything you need, that becomes the healthiest choice. Although this assumes that we know enough about everything our bodies need.