The Great Artificial Sweetener Debate

15 Jul

We’ve all heard that artificial sweeteners aren’t great for you but we often choose to ignore the risks and continue to guzzle down Coke Zeros and shovel ‘diet’ foods into our mouths thinking that the absence of real sugar can only mean that the foods and drinks we are consuming are helping our waist lines.

I finally decided enough was enough and set out to educate myself on the dangers of artificial sweeteners and was shocked at what I found.

Many ‘diet’ foods and drinks (such as diet soft drinks, chewing gum, breakfast cereal and yoghurt) contain aspartame and whilst it is FDA approved many dieticians and nutritionists warn against its use.  Studies have shown that it can cause such health problems as headaches, brain tumours, migraines and gastrointestinal problems (bloating, diuretic effects and diarrhoea).  Saccharine has also been linked to cancer.

Artificial sweeteners could also be contributing to weight gain.  Recent research has shown that many people gain weight whilst using these products because they cause a negative metabolic response.  They can also increase sweet cravings and change our tastebud’s threshold for sweetness.   You may find yourself constantly craving sweet foods and this is not ideal when in weight loss mode!

So how do we kick the habit?  Try switching to natural sources of sweetness such as fresh fruit and honey when you find yourself craving something sweet.  Make up a big jug of fruit flavoured iced tea and store in the fridge to wean off diet soft drinks.  In no time you’ll have your taste buds back and reduce your chance of contracting dangerous health problems and unnecessary weight gain.

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7 Responses to “The Great Artificial Sweetener Debate”

  1. Ms. Moran July 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    I switched to drinking water or flavored seltzer for those same reasons. I haven’t found it made any impact on my weight, but I do think it is better for me in the long run.

  2. Chanel July 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm #

    I used to drink and eat ‘diet’ everything! I don’t use Equal anymore or have sugar-free chocolate, yoghurt etc – still need to wean myself off the diet cordial though (should be kinda easy, since I don’t have it that often)!

    • Amanda July 16, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      Your brain (and taste buds) will thank you! So will your belly! 😉

  3. Michael Merry July 19, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    Yes, I agree. Scientific evidence confirms that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners, like high fuctose corn syrup [HFCS] and various sugar alcohols [like sorbitol], carries high risk of weight gain.
    Good post!

    • Amanda July 19, 2010 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks for the comment Michael! What’s your take on the sorbitol found in mouthwash? Safe or unsafe?

  4. Michael Merry July 21, 2010 at 3:30 am #

    Hello Amanda:
    Sorbitol in mouthwash? I’m no expert, but I understand that most consider it safe. Sugar alcohols are fairly stable, chemically, and therefore resist metabolism by oral bacteria. Sorbitol is approved by the American Dental Association and FDA, both of which recognize that it inhibits tooth decay.
    There is good evidence that Sorbitol promotes tooth whitening
    Cheers..

    • Amanda July 21, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      Interesting! Thanks for the opinion. 🙂

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