The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
Some companies have taken advantage of the fact that we still want to eat ice cream, candy, dairy products, canned foods and so on without feeling the guilt that we are eating too much sugar. So they created artificial sweeteners.
If you believe that chemically processed artificial sweeteners mixed into your food and drinks are safe and don’t carry any health risks, you are seriously mistaken!!
These sweeteners and flavor enhancers break down into highly toxic chemical agents that can damage important regions of your body and can cause health issues. They are found in almost every restaurant and most sweet flavored products in the US!
Many processed products contain these artificial sweeteners including chewing gum, breath mints, beverages, alcoholic beverages, dairy products, salad dressing, desserts, candies, baked goods, toothpaste, mouthwash, yogurt, vitamins and children's vitamins, cough drops, breakfast cereals, snack foods, soups, pharmaceuticals and the list just keeps getting bigger. Unfortunately, these are not easily identified on labels as most processed products will be labeled “sugar-free,” but will still contain an artificial sweetener. Some companies even use corn as a filler to make these sweeteners, which can create an inflammatory response in the body.
Artificial sweeteners are marketed under several different names: Equal and NutraSweet (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin). MSG, a flavor enhancer and preservative used in many canned and packaged foods, is also dangerous. These additives have been linked to cancer, diabetes, arthritis, asthma, impotency, insomnia, joint pain, liver damage, migraines, hypothyroidism, breathing problems, digestive issues and the list goes on and on. Some studies even point to a connection between artificial sweeteners and Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and autism!
You might have heard about sugar alcohols, such as Xylitol, Erythritol, Sorbitol and Malitol. They are appearing in more and more “health food” products as a sugar alternative. They do not affect our blood sugar and are a much better option than artificial sweeteners.
Sugar alcohols are sweet carbohydrates and can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables, however most of them are processed from glucose in cornstarch. We find that sugar alcohols are tolerated well by some people, and not at all in others where they cause digestive stress such as gas and bloating.
Here are some of the most common sugar alcohols:
- Xylitol is the most common and well-researched sugar alcohol. You can find it in sugar-free chewing gum, mints and oral care products like toothpaste. Xylitol does not spike blood sugar or insulin. It is good for your dental health, as it starves the plaque-producing bacteria in your mouth and feeds friendly microbes in your digestive system.
- Erythritol is another type of sugar alcohol that is considered to have an excellent taste. Erythritol is the main ingredient in the popular sweetener blend known as Truvia. Most of it gets absorbed into your bloodstream, then excreted unchanged in your urine.
Sorbitol has a smooth mouthfeel and cool taste. It is a common ingredient in sugar-free foods and drinks, including jelly spreads and soft candy. It may cause digestive distress.
- Maltitol is processed from the sugar maltose and has a very similar taste and mouthfeel as regular sugar. While products that contain maltitol have claimed to be "sugar-free," your body absorbs some of this sugar alcohol, thus causing blood sugar spikes.
To satisfy your sweet cravings, we recommend using natural sugars when tolerated. These include local raw honey and maple syrup. Whole leaf Stevia, pure Stevia and monk fruit are other good options if you cannot tolerate the carbohydrates in the natural sugars. For optimal nutrition, all these sweeteners should be used in moderation.
Struggling with a sweet tooth? Consider doing a custom nutrition program at the Nutritional Wellness Center, where we address the root cause of cravings and work out a nutrition program that fits your needs!