Our social lives tend to revolve around food, and many times those foods revolve around sugar. Many people turn to the artificial sugars to try to combat the negative side effects of too much sugar. Manufacturers hide sugar under many different names so the buyer won’t realize just how much sugar is in their products. Now the FDA is saying that with certain high intensity artificial sweeteners they don’t have to be listed in the ingredients. Their reasoning is that it takes a smaller amount to get the same sweetening, but there is a problem with this. With the sweetness concentrated, so are the side effects.
Many people turn to artificial sweeteners when they are diagnosed with diabetes. They figure that they can then have their cake and eat it too. The problem is that many of these artificial sweeteners have the same side effects as sugar. Aspartame in particular has been shown to raise blood sugar levels as much as sugar does. It and the other artificial sweeteners have been shown to alter the gut bacteria of those who use them. This leads to glucose intolerance, in other words diabetes.
Changing our gut bacteria typically means that we are killing the good bacteria and allowing the bad bacteria free reign. This leads to many chronic illnesses. Part of it is caused by poor nutrition; the good bacteria help us get the good things from our food. Among the links associated with artificial sweeteners is an increase in cancer.
Add this to the fact that many people who consume products made with artificial sugars look at it as permission to overindulge. The sweetener may not have any calories, but the other ingredients do. In the long run they consume far more calories than they realize, which adds to the obesity that they were thinking they were fighting with the artificial sweeteners. Studies are also showing that these sweeteners stimulate the appetite, encouraging the consumer to eat more.
Many people avoid artificial sugars. They think they are only getting them in their occasional sodas, so they must be safe. That is far from the truth. With no labeling requirements they may be getting these sweeteners every time they eat something they didn’t cook from scratch. This builds up the toxic ingredients in our systems very quickly.
What are the symptoms of artificial sweetener toxicity? They include headaches, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and change in heart rate, seizures, difficulty breathing, sleep problems and neurological reactions. One study focused on diet sodas. They found a total of 31 percent of the daily diet soda drinkers had suffered a heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular disease by the end of the study, compared with only 22 percent of the less-regular consumers. They also found that daily drinkers of diet soda did tend to weigh more, have less healthy cholesterol levels, and higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes than other study participants.
Are these risks worth the momentary sweet taste in your mouth? Americans as a whole are addicted to sweets, whether it is in the form of sugar or artificial sweeteners. That addiction can be broken through avoiding sweets altogether, but that approach is so hard it is almost impossible. There are a couple of natural sweeteners that have been shown not to have the side effects of either sugar or artificial sweeteners. They are stevia and Luo Han. Both come directly from plants. Watch the stevia brands, because many say they are ‘made from’ stevia instead of being a pure stevia extract. This means the stevia was taken to a factory where chemicals and other artificial products were introduced to change its chemical makeup. Those are just as bad as the artificial sweeteners.
If we have to slip and eat something sweet then go for the full fat full sugar variety. In the long run your body will thank you for it. You will eat less and be more satisfied by it.