After having read the studies about sweeteners and gut bacteria pointed out on a recent thread, I actually was motivated to give up sweeteners even though I have a tremendous sweet tooth and was the last person you'd ever expect to be able to do it. I certainly didn't think I could. But in the space of a couple of weeks I've learned to drink my tea without anything sweet and I've almost completely stopped drinking soda! On days I work I still do have one or two packets of sweetener in my tea (as "motivation" to get through the day) and from time to time if I'm really craving dessert I might have a sweet tea instead. But I'm almost completely off them.
Can't say whether it's made any difference to my gut bacteria of course nor in fact whether or not it's helped my weight loss. But I have noticed less of a taste for sweets - over the holidays I was having a dessert every single day, and now I don't even want anything sweet at all, unless I'm very tired, and then I know it's just my body looking for energy and what I really need is rest! In fact I have less appetite overall and am much better at actually listening to my body in recent weeks - can't say how much of that is the sweeteners, but I think just learning that I can't have sweet-tasting stuff whenever I want it and sort of mindlessly consume it has really helped me become more mindful in other areas as well. Between one thing and another I have lost over 10lbs since the start of the year. Another 20 still to go, but I'm hoping I can really keep it up this time! It definitely feels doable now whereas it hasn't other times I've tried - again, can't say that that's to do with sweetener though or maybe I just finally got fed up enough with myself to really commit.
Will be tough when summer comes though as for now I'm drinking lots of tea, but in hot weather I'm likely to want more soda again...will have to find a solution.