22 Apr What’s Not So Sweet About Artificial Sweeteners
NO SUGAR! NO CALORIES! Have you ever seen those claims on food boxes? I know I have. This marketing is genius because everyone knows sugar isn’t healthy and to be able to still eat (or drink) one of your favorite items without any sugar is an automatic “let me buy it!”. The question you should asking yourself if it comes in a package, what makes it taste good? We need to become label readers – read those small print ingredient lists on packages. They will tell you if this food will fight disease or feed disease. Let’s get started.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that are made in labs. They are chemically made molecules. These artificial sweeteners are jam packed into many processed packaged foods to give foods and drinks no sugars and no calories (because the whole myth of calorie in-calorie out method of losing weight & being healthy is still going around. I’ll have to write about that because that’s another monster to tackle.) These artificial sweeteners are SO sweet that you don’t have to use as much compared to sugar. Some popular kinds of artificial sugars are sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and saccharin.
Why Are They Bad For Health?
First off, artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking something sweet & dense is about to be ingested. It may also cause you to overeat because the link between what you are eating versus what your taste buds are saying isn’t matching up. All of our senses work together. A study done in Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine explains about the link of this artificial sweeteners causing cravings, which can negate intaking artificial sweeteners to lose weight. A study done in the American Journal of Clinicial Nutrition showed how people who drank drinks with artificial sweeteners were more prone to metabolic issues versus those who didn’t consume them. Artificial sweeteners just make excuses for people to continue to eat processed food. We eat to nourish our body, not to just eat and ingest whatever tastes good. (Remember, that occasional splurge at a special occasion is OK. Don’t beat yourself up.) They can also make real natural sweets (like fruit) not taste as good. I always tell my clients that one of the things you want is for your palate to change to enjoying the natural sweetness and flavors of food.
Aspartame is one of the most controversial artificial sweeteners on the market. Besides causing symptoms of headache, nausea, dizziness, digestive distress, and other symptoms, aspartame can be toxic to your neurons/neurotransmitters. Aspartame also has phenylalanine, which is naturally in your body, but an excessive level of it can decrease certain neurotransmitters, which ultimately lead to other chronic diseases.
A study that was done found that artificial sweeteners did affect the human gut microbiome. The good bacteria declined. Remember – a healthy gut is a healthy human. 80% of our immune system is in our gut. Another study that was done in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health showed that Splenda altered the gut microbiome as well.
While studies aren’t strong in studying artificial sweeteners in humans, there are studies that talk about artificial sweeteners and what it can do to rats, like cause tumors, etc. But, why even chance it with ourselves? It’s not natural. Who wants to consume artificial anything anyways? Take out the guess work of wondering about artificial sweeteners & stick with natural sweeteners that were given to use on this Earth.
What Sweeteners Are Natural?
Sugar is still sugar. No matter if it’s from raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, or any other sugars out there. Sugar is still sugar. While some sugars, like coconut sugar, have more natural minerals or vitamins it would take a lot to ingest to get an amount of nutrients that matter. I do like using coconut sugar compared to the refined GMO sugars though. In my opinion, it’s the lesser evil because of the source it comes from. Some other natural sweeteners that are yummy are raw honey, pure organic maple syrup, fruits, and dates. Raw honey is full of benefits like antioxidants, nutrients, helps with allergies, etc. Fruit & dates are the same thing. Full of nutrients, antioxdiants, minerals. If you want to eat something sweet, make sure it has those added nutritious benefits. So, you at least get the best of both worlds!