i think we probably all have fallen victim to artificial sweeteners, or at least to some sort of false marketing. years ago, i used to be the queen of splenda as i thought it would be a great way to reduce my calorie intake. welp, i was wrong. it took a little research to find the truth behind artificial sweeteners, but i hope the tid-bit that i share with you today well help answer a few of the questions most people have about using them.
10 reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners
1. laboratory made. sucralose (splenda) was actually discovered while trying to create a new insecticide. splenda is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide, 4-methylmorpholine, toluene, methyl isobutyl ketone, acetic acid, benzyltriethlyammonium chloride, and sodium methoxide. whew!
2. stevia’s effects. though still being researched, stevia has at least one compound which has been converted in the laboratory into a known carcinogen (cancer causing). in the laboratory, it has been shown to cause testicular abnormalities and reduced testosterone levels in males and causes females to give birth to both fewer and smaller offspring.
3. headaches. some people experience increased headaches while using artificial sweeteners. cut out the diet coke and see if your headaches disappear.
4. increased appetite. artificial sweeteners lead to an increased appetite and food intake in some people. since artificial sweeteners are often substantially sweeter than sugar, risk for increased appetite and food consumption runs even higher when vast amounts of the sweeteners are consumed.
5. artificial sweeteners confuse your brain. the enzymes in your mouth begin a cascade that primes your cell receptors for an insulin surge, and when it doesn’t arrive your brain feels cheated.
6. your health. people who use artificial sweeteners are heavier, more likely to have diabetes, and more likely to be insulin-resistant compared with nonusers.
7. aspartame. over the years of its use, aspartame has been blamed for cancer, lupus and multiple sclerosis and some studies indicate cancer in rodents from lifelong use of low doses of aspartame.
8. weight gain. artificial sweeteners have not been shown to promote weight loss, and some studies show that the sweet taste may actually cause more craving of sweets. if you are trying to loose weight, you should avoid artificial sweeteners.
9. decreased serotonin. several studies show that consumption of aspartame can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine (an amino acid that is safe in small doses). that means decreased levels of serotonin in the brain which can lead to depression, anxiety or panic attacks.
10. increased insulin. acesulfame potassium, aka ACK, sweet one, and sunett stimulates insulin secretion, which could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). it has created lung, breast, thymus gland, and other tumors in rats, as well as leukemia and respiratory disease even in small doses. it is found in baked goods, frozen desserts, candy, drinks, cough drops, and breath mints.
now i know, much of this was awfully scientific. and to further the confusion, most research ends with a disclaimer about how inconclusive it is. my point is, if there is this much debate, uncertainty and probable concern about something- why should i risk it? i would rather err on the side of caution and stick to natural sweeteners.
what is a natural sweetener? things like honey, juice concentrates, dates & raisins, molasses & of course real sugar are delicious and wholesome.
research and recommended reading: artificial sweeteners, artificial sweeteners by the nat’l cancer institute, artificial sweeteners by livestrong, sugar substitutes, artificial sweeteners and diabetes