The Dangers Of Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are becoming more and more common in everyday foods. They’re often hidden in foods that we wouldn’t think to have sugar in them. They are advertised as being healthy because they are low or zero calorie options, however they have many side affects and very few studies have been done to prove their safety.

 

What Are They?

The most common artificial sweeteners include aspartame and sucralose. Aspartame was approved in 1981 and is 180 times sweetener than sugar. Sucralose was approved in 1998 for use and is 600 times sweeter than sugar. They are commonly used as tabletop sweeteners. Common brand names include Splenda and Nutrasweet. They are also approved to be used in products such as baked goods, beverages, chewing gum, desserts, fruit juice, low calorie snacks, and much more.

 

Are they harmful?

Artificial sweeteners have many health risks and side effects associated with them. They are known to reduce the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut and also increase the pH of the intestine. They are also highly addictive and stimulate your appetite and make you crave more refined carbohydrates. Common side effects include but are not limited to:

  • headaches, migraines, and dizziness
  • neurological issues such as anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, and more
  • nausea
  • allergies
  • blood sugar instability
  • depression
  • weight gain
  • seizures
  • cancer
  • and more

 

Low Calorie vs. Nutrient Density

Artificial sweeteners are appealing because they contain little to no calories. However, that absolutely does not mean that they are healthy. Calories are not the one and only marker for health. In fact, calories often have very little importance when it comes to health. Eating less calories can lead to weight loss, however, if you are eating truly healthy foods, calorie counting is not important. It is far more important to focus on the nutrients being consumed rather than the calories. It is far more beneficial to consume a sweetener with some nutrients and no harmful side effects vs. eating a no-calorie sweetener that is chemically made and filled with side effects.

Artificial sweeteners are also often recommended for diabetics, however there are many natural low glycemic alternatives such as stevia and xylitol.

The makers of these sweeteners claim that these sugars can help with weight loss since you can eat your sweets without eating the calories. However, many gain weight from eating artificial sweeteners since they create hormonal imbalances, blood sugar issues, and can make you crave more food, leading you to overindulge on refined foods.

 

Alternative Sweeteners

There are so many healthier sweeteners available to us that artificial sweeteners should not even be a question. Here are some examples of healthier sweeteners that taste great and have some nutritional value.

 

Stevia

  • comes from the stevia plant
  • low glycemic and safe for diabetics
  • low calorie
  • can be used in baking
  • can be purchased as a liquid or a powder

Coconut Sugar

  • made from coconut sap
  • similar to cane sugar or brown sugar in taste and texture
  • contains a variety of nutrients
  • can be used in baking

Honey

  • one of the most natural and least refined sweeteners
  • comes in many different types and flavours
  • antibacterial
  • cough suppressant
  • can alleviate allergies

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Xylitol

  • low glycemic and safe for diabetics
  • low calorie
  • powerful cavity fighter and prevents tooth decay
  • comes in a powder form
  • can be used in baking

Maple Syrup

  • delicious and not too refined
  • contains many minerals
  • can be used in cooking and baking
  • make sure to buy pure maple syrup

 

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With so many alternatives available all around us, it’s time to say no to artificial sweeteners and say yes to health.

 

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