Artificial Sweeteners...too sweet to be good?
So many people think that they are being healthy every day, and for the most part they are: they exercise, they drink water, they eat organic meats and fruits/veg, but then they add chemicals to their various foods and drinks during the day. These chemicals are in the form of Splenda, Aspartame, Nutrasweet, Saccharin, etc. Now, I am not going to go as far as saying that they cause cancer, which I know is a rumor out there that was started by health food fanatics long ago, because there is no current scientific proof of that. Saccharin was shown to cause cancer in lab rats, given in high doses, but has yet to be shown in humans.
What we do know is that you are adding a chemical, that is man made to your daily intake, so that you can eat or drink something, that you probably shouldn't, to cut calories. I guess that is good, but because it isn't actually sugar you are just trying to trick your body into thinking that you are eating that sweet thing that you are craving, but your body is hip to that jive! So the first time you eat the artificial sweetener, your body reacts as if you ate sugar, so your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas releases a burst of insulin, and your liver starts trying to convert the sugar into energy or into fat if not used immediately. Sometimes the body even begins to slow down when you eat sweet things because it knows that the sweet stuff isn't absorbed or digestible. Plus, studies have shown that people who ingest lots of artificial sweeteners actually tend to eat more calories throughout the day because you're not actually satiating your bodies craving du jour!
What are the side effects that the Department of Health and Human services listed in 1995 as side effects of aspartame (in particular)? Headaches, neurological disorders, abdominal pain, seizures, an nausea. But, one of the creepiest facts is that when these chemicals are broken down in your body, they breakdown further into other chemicals, one of which is formaldehyde! Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, and what we used to embalm people with, but it is so carcinogenic (for those doing the embalming, obviously) that they have moved to other products for the same results. The side effects of formaldehyde ingestion in small amounts is, strangely enough, the same as aspartame (gee, I wonder why ?!?)
Am I telling you to pound down sugar instead? No!! I am just saying that if you want something sweet, eat a treat made with organic raw cane sugar, sweetened with agave nectar, or eat the candy bar (or whatever treat you are craving is)! Everything in moderation is the name of the game, and I am all about that- seriously there are days when all my body craves are sugary treats, and I have to stop myself from eating a whole bag of goobers in one sitting. But, I don't allow myself to do that every day :) If you are someone who needs that daily afternoon boost and drinks a diet coke, opt for agave sweetened iced or hot green tea/black tea (bring your own agave/cane sugar and sweeten on your own). I know that now when I bake, I have been making recipes without refined white sugar, and without sugar alternatives, that taste delish and, honestly, most people don't even know that they are healthier alternatives!!
So try to limit the artificial sweeteners, if you HAVE to drink your daily diet coke, then do so, but please don't drink splenda/etc in your morning coffee- try a healthy alternative. who knows, you might like it better, and your body will thank you!!
Yours in Good Health