How Sweet It Is (or not)?
What’s the deal with artificial sweeteners? Read on to find out…
All sweeteners are not the same. They all work via different mechanisms, but are they healthy? They are marketing them as a zero calorie alternative to sugar. Some claim to help with diabetes and obesity and decrease overall heart disease risk. The FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners, which are saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. The FDA has also approved a low calorie sweetener, stevia.
There are many troubling issues with artificial sweeteners. Some experts have speculated that those that eat or drink foods containing artificial sweeteners replace the calories with other food stating something like “Since I drank diet____, I can eat___”. This leads to an over consumption of calories and increased weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners can also change our taste. They are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar alone and overstimulation of sugar receptors for an extended period of time may interfere with other tastes, causing them to be unpleasant. Consequently, artificial sweeteners keep you away from healthier selections. They also may confuse the body’s perception of sweetness and caloric intake, causing cravings. Studies show that that people who drink over 21 diet drinks a week were twice as likely to become obese than those who drank the same amount of regular drinks. They are contributing to the chronic diseases that they are supposed to prevent!
There is also some evidence to show that sweeteners are addictive. Animal studies show that when given a choice between cocaine and saccharin, rats almost always choose the sweetener.
One of the most troubling facts regarding artificial sweeteners is that they are generally regarded as safe; however, cancer testing included far less than the twenty-four ounces that individuals that consume diet beverages drink. So we do not know the longer term effects of individuals drinking these beverages.
Should we consume artificial sweeteners?