Artificial Sweeteners: NOT Such A Sweet Deal
Back in 1879, a researcher from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md, named Ira Remsen, made an interesting discovery. He had spilled a derivative of coal tar on his hand and noticed that it tasted sweet. And history began. The stage was set for the eventual development of saccharin — an artificial sweetener commonly known as Sweet-n-Low.
Today, 139 years later, saccharin has been joined by a growing list of similar artificial sweeteners varying in chemical structures and uses. These include acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One); aspertame (NutraSweet, Equal, Advantame); neotame (Newtame), and sucralose (Splenda).
Needless to say, Americans have fully embraced these sweeteners. According to a 2017 report in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 25% of American children and over 41% of American adults use low-calorie sweeteners. Oddly, as a society, we've never been heavier or less healthy.
Of course, the draw to these products is that they offer the sweetness of sugar without the calories. And we do mean sweetness! My goodness! They are anywhere from 30 to 80,000 times sweeter than sugar, and, consequently have much fewer calories than foods made with table sugar (sucrose). Each gram of table sugar has 4 calories, while many substitutes have zero calories per gram.
While the artificial sweeteners themselves do not affect blood sugar levels, many of the foods containing the chemicals can affect blood sugar. This is due to the carbohydrate or protein levels in these foods. Foods containing artificial sweeteners may be sugar free, but not carbohydrate free. Grazing on these high protein or high carb foods is just tricking yourself. You're not accomplishing what you're after, and you're putting these chemicals into your body rather than real foods.
Artificial, or "fake" sweeteners have been smothered in controversy over the past 70 years. There is a reason for that. If you are still using them, stop now! They are derived from chemistry sets. They can't be healthy, for that reason alone! The side effects alone should be enough to detour you: headaches, migraines, weight gain (not weight loss!), cardiovascular issues.... "These products are toxic to our brains as well”, says Laura Korman, DC, DABCN, “so even if you use them to avoid calories, for weight loss, would you really want to exchange that for dementia?" Stop already! Please!
On top of everything else, these artificial sweeteners lend themselves to sugar addition, as your taste buds get more and more desensitized to overly sweet foods, leaving you craving more and more and more! These foods may have zero sugar calories, but they have PLENTY of calories...often from the carb count alone! Now you've increased your odds at Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and more!
A big surprise is how many artificial sweeteners are introduced to our daily intake without us even realizing it! It sneaks in with common products we use, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, childrens (and adults) chewable vitamins, cough syrups, liquid medicines, no-calorie waters and drinks, yogurts, salad dressings, chewing gum, "lite" products, and the list is seemingly endless.