The taste of sweets is a basic biological adaptation that evolved to allow humans to find hard-to-find, energy-rich foods, specifically fruit. Once hard to get, fruit rots quickly after it ripens, and before refrigeration, it could only be eaten seasonally. In 1822, Americans ate 6.3 lbs. of sugar per year, and with the rise of modern technology and more food options, it has risen to 96 lbs. annually.
Then came low-calorie sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners, which add a sweet taste to food and drinks with few or no calories. Despite low-calorie sweeteners being scientifically safe for consumption, as well as beneficial to those trying to manage their weight, and those with diabetes, low-calorie sweeteners have been the victim of fear-mongering and pseudo-science.
The second in our Vsauce2 series, Kevin explains the science behind low-calorie sweeteners and when the skepticism on their safety began.