Dangers of the Top 3 Artificial Sweeteners
I remember when I was a kid, I was only allowed to have the 'sugar free' gum. We had low fat milk, low fat yogurt, and I went thru a period of eating those 100 calorie snack packs!! If only I knew then, what I know now!!! Food like items labeled as 'low fat', 'sugar free', '100 calories', etc. boost flavor by using artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are way more harmful than sugar is!
All artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking that it's going to be getting sugar. When our body thinks its going to get sugar it prepares by emptying glucose out of our blood to make room for the new sugar. Because our body isn't getting sugar, we end up being hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). To compensate, either we grab a quick snack (which is usually an unhealthy choice) or our body has to work super hard to pull sugar from other sources to put sugar back into our blood to stabilize it. Our body also starts to release insulin in order to prepare for the incoming sugar. But that insulin doesn't have any work to do since we're not getting real sugar and eventually your pancreas can tire of making all this insulin that doesn't do anything which can end up making you diabetic or insulin resistant.
Another danger of artificial sweeteners is that they're synthetic and made from chemicals. Our bodies are not made to process anything artificial or synthetic.
Artificial Sweetener #1:
- Aspartame (Equal) is used in over 6,000 products - from 'sugar free' food like items to gum to toothpaste to cough syrup. Aspartame is linked to depression, cancer, migraines, ADD, Alzheimers, autoimmune diseases....the list goes on. This chart shows unfavorable symptoms linked to aspartame ingestion that were reported to the FDA.
Aspartame is made using genetically modified bacteria. It's made from methanol which our body converts into formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is highly toxic and causes cancer among other diseases (link to VOC post).
Artificial sweetener #2:
- Sucralose (splenda) can cause GI problems, weight gain, headaches, seizures, and more.
Dr. Mercola has a page on his website that displays letters that people wrote to him about how they were harmed by Splenda. Companies that use sucralose can claim that it's 'natural' since sucralose does start as a sugar molecule. This is also why Splenda is able to claim that it's close to sugar. However, the problem begins when the sucralose is ultra processed into the artificial chemically engineered sweetener as we know and ingest it. Splenda was discovered when scientists were trying to make a new pesticide and that it more closely resembles pesticide than sugar.
Artificial sweetener #3:
- Saccharin - (Sweet N Low) discovered when scientists were working with coal tar derivatives (mmmmm yum). Found in gum, salad dressing, candy, other sweets, infant formula, vitamins and pharmaceuticals. According to this article, the FDA wanted to ban saccharin in 1977; however, consumers and Congress didn't allow the ban. The FDA placed a warning on labels of 'food' items containing saccharin, but that warning was removed in 2000.
Saccharin is made from an acid that's also used to make a metal corrosive, chlorine and ammonia among other toxic ingredients. Saccharin is also linked to cancer, headaches, allergies, respiratory problems and more.
These are not all of the artificial sweeteners available on the market today, but these are the most popular. All artificial sweeteners (actually anything artificial) is very dangerous to our health!
Sweeteners to use cautiously:
- Stevia - Stevia can contain ingredients such as 'natural flavors'. 'Natural flavors' is just another way of saying 'chemicals used to create an artificial flavor that is similar to something from nature'. Stevia might be chemically processed. Stevia tastes bad; the after taste of stevia is worse than Sweet N Low! Stevia is pretty new and it's being tested on those of you consuming it like the above sweeteners were tested on previous generations . It's always best to stick with what's in nature!
- Honey - Honey is a natural sweetener. Remember, just because something is from nature doesn't mean it doesn't pose any health risks. Ingest honey in moderation! It's high glycemic and about 40% fructose (fructose is super hard for our liver to process in the massive quantities we're ingesting (1). It's reported that honey has nutritious and medicinal properties; however, that only makes up about 2% of honey!
- Dates and date sugar - Dates contain 30% fructose and high glycemic; however, its high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Dates or date sugar are better than artificial sweeteners, but still to be used in serious moderation!
Best alternatives to artificial sweeteners.
- Monk fruit sweetener - Monk fruit is a fruit that is grown in China. The juice from the fruit is turned into monk fruit sweetener. It's 150 times sweeter than sugar, without the bitter aftertaste of artificial sweeteners. It's low glycemic, zero calories, and cooks/bakes just like sugar. As of yet, there are no reports of negative effects from the use of monk fruit.
- Fruit - Fruit can satisfy a sweet tooth without causing the damage that sugar and artificial sweeteners cause. Fruit's contain fructose, but they also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber! Fruit needs to be ingested in moderation because most fruits are high glycemic. Low glycemic fruit are green apples and berries. Half a green apple with a couple tablespoons of almond butter is an awesome snack!!
Go throw out your artificial sugar containing foods!
Peace, Love and Wellbeing!!