Many diabetics and people wanting to limit sugar in their diet will resort to eating artificial sweeteners thinking they are doing their waistline a favour and keeping them free from the damaging effects of refined sugar. Unfortunately, it may do the exact opposite.
Artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain.
Why? Published in the American Psychological Association's Behavioral Neuroscience journal researchers state it is possible that artificial sweeteners confuse the body's natural attempt to keep track of calories based on the sweetness of the food being consumed. Basically, this means that when the brain detects a sweet taste on the tongue (like from a splenda-infused-baked good), it expects nutrition. "Nutrition" coming from that of a carbohydrate source including vitamins and minerals. When it does not receive any nutrients from this chemical source, it turns on the appetite and you eat MORE. The body is smart.
More studies linking weight gain.
Researchers at Purdue University did two groups of studies on rats and found that those fed yogurt sweetened with saccharin, a zero-calorie sweetener, ate more and "gained significantly more weight" than those that ate the same food containing regular sugar. The researchers state that artificial sweeteners may change the body's response to food and may distort the ability to control calorie consumption.
May cause adverse health affects.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center's Department of Pharmacology studied the affects of Splenda, a processed artificial sweetener made from sucralose on rats over a 12-week period. Results showed the following:
Lowered microflora (good bacteria in the intestines)
Increased fecal pH (associated with digestive problems and cancer)
Elevated levels of P-gp proteins and CYP enzymes both known to limit the absorption of nutrients
FDA admits that it receives the most complaints on artificial sweeteners.
Did you know of all the foods and food additives on the market, the FDA reports more health complaints on artificial sweeteners, than any other food and yet it is still on the "Generally Regarded As Safe" list despite its strong association with brain tumours and seizures. Of all the 90 different health complaints, these are the most common; headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, memory loss and joint pain. Aspartame, one of the most popular sweeteners is a synthetic compound made up of Phenylalanine and Aspartic Acid held in a chemical bond by Methanol, which breaks down into Formic Acid, Formaldehyde and Diketopiperazine (DKP). It is the DKP that may cause brain tumours.
A few personal stories.
About 3 years ago I was coaching a client who was a bank manager and suffered from headaches EVERY single day. It was really affecting his life and his family (he was married with 2 young kids). After doing an intake on him, I discovered he was drinking Diet Coke every day with his lunch. I suggested he slowly cut back and as soon as he was down to no diet drinks at all, his headaches were gone. I came back to see him after about 3 weeks and he was BEAMING. It was a really nice feeling to help this guy, his smile was worth it!
Years ago when I used to add "Equal" to my morning tea and chew gum, those would be the days I would get headaches and have a dry mouth. Now it took me some time to actually make the link, because back then I just wasn't as "body-aware" as I am now. However, when I came to my senses and stopped with those little blue packets in my tea and stopped chewing gum with artificial sweeteners, my headaches went away immediately.
The good news is that there are no shortage of studies that can be researched online or at your local library linking severe to moderate health concerns with artificial sweeteners. If you consume artificial sweeteners and are still not convinced, I encourage you to do your research because in this post, I have barely scratched the service of the dangers to your health associated with this most profitable and popular additive.
If these reasons listed above don't sound too appetizing, then try one of these alternatives:
organic unpasteurized honey
pure maple syrup
brown rice syrup
sucanat (my favourite for baking)