Sir: Put these survey findings into context. If 38% are suspicious of sweeteners, then 62% are not (‘Consumer suspicion over use of artificial sweeteners on the rise,’ 23 August, p6.)

That is important because sweeteners can play a significant role in cutting our excessive national sugar consumption. The majority of UK soft drinks contain sweeteners, which are also incorporated into many other drinks in blends with sugar. This allows substantial reductions in sugar.

At present, the anxiety of the minority is about “artificial” sweeteners. It is crucial that this concern not expand to include new “natural” sweeteners. They are being introduced into critical new territory - foods. We need sugar reduction, not just in drinks but in the other sweet products that provide most of the sugar in the diet - confectionery, biscuits, breakfast cereals, ice creams.

Incorporating sweeteners is not the only option for reducing sugar. But it facilitates bigger, faster cuts than other techniques. And does so without challenging consumers’ tastes.

Professor Jack Winkler, former professor of nutrition policy, London Metropolitan University