Artificial Sweeteners: The real bitter truth!

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The skinny on artificial sweeteners is that they can make you fat! Yes, you heard me. We have always used these sweeteners to avoid the calories and weight that real sugar can put on us. Well, it turns out that not only are some listed as toxic chemicals, but they can actually make us fat.

sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners: The real bitter truth!

The main sweeteners that most of us recognize are the following:

      • NutraSweet or Aspartame
      • Saccharin
      • Alcohol sugars like erythritol, Xylitol, and sorbitol.
      • Splenda or sucralose

 

Aspartame also well known as Nutrasweet was approved for public consumption after very little testing in 1985. The body breaks this molecule down to aspartate, phenylalanine and methanol. The methanol converts to formaldehyde and formic acid. Formaldehyde is known to cross the blood-brain-barrier and formic acid is what is injected into your skin when an ant bites you.

 

Methanol has been shown to rise in the blood after aspartame in-take, which exits the body at a rate of 7.8 mg/day according to the EPA. The average diet drink has about 15-36 mg/can so if you are drinking diet soda at even one can per day you are creating a toxic build up of methanol. Symptoms of too much methanol in the body can present with weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea vomiting and blurred vision. The timeline of how aspartame was allowed to market with little to no research on safety is shocking and outlines the power of money in corporate America. It is also known to worsen depression when ingested everyday.

 

Saccharin was discovered in 1978 in a lab at Johns Hopkins University by accident. Researcher Fahlberg accidentally mixed sulfobenzoic acid, phosphorus and ammonia creating benzoic sulfinide and after neglecting to wash his hands found that the substance tasted sweet when he contaminated a pieces of bread he was eating. Saccharin does not sound so appealing when called by its real name. Saccharin has been linked to a higher incidence of bladder cancer in laboratory rats mainly from a microcrystal that forms when ingested which irritates the bladder lining increasing cell turnover and in turn the risk for cancer.

 

Sucralose sweeteners or better known as Splenda is found in many foods and drinks today. It is made by chlorinating a sugar molecule. Splenda has been shown to decrease beneficial microflora in the gut, nothing like bleaching your bowels. A funny thing happens when we kill our good bacteria in our gut, we get fat. The factory farming industry has known this for decades which is one reason why they began feeding antibiotics to farm animals. Altering the gut bacteria has been one of the big research topics in health lately since the August 2014 article came out to the public about how altered gut bacteria causes weight gain. Non-calorie sweeteners have also been linked to diabetes.

 

The newest alternative sweetener is sugar alcohol, however they are neither a sugar nor an alcohol. They are however found naturally in small quantities in fruit. They are the most natural of all the sugar alternatives with the exception of Stevia. Some people dont care for the taste, as it is a little different then table sugar. Alcohol sugars tend to have a cooling after taste much like peppermint or menthyl effect.
Granted sugar alcohols appear to be much better than past sweeteners. When we compare the sweetness of what we find in nature versus what is man-made in our supermarkets it is fair to say that our food supply in general is overwhelmed with increased sweetness.

jackfruit

substitute sugar

 

Rather than find ways to add or substitute sugar and sweet taste lets change the way we eat and our need for this sweet taste. Nature makes a wonderful variety of taste sensations without added sugar we just have to seek them out. Our variety of food is limited so shopping at Asian markets or health food stores can add a great deal of variety in foods. For example, jack fruit is native to southeast Asia and is a staple for many families. When eaten before ripping this fruit makes a protein packed vegan meal that can be substituted for meat and has similar texture to chicken or beef. However, let this fruit mature and it has a taste that combines pineapple with banana. It is a delight to eat as desert!

 

Our bodies will adjust and once the overly sweet taste of our food is removed it will no longer be missed. If we taste something that is too sweet, it will then not taste desirable. We are so use to sugar and salt abundance in our food we end up not desiring the natural food as it comes to us in nature.

 

An interesting book by Michael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, explains how the processed food market continually manipulates these three ingredients to keep us hooked.

 

Shall we change the paradigm when it comes to nutritious food to keep us healthy? Lets return to a time where we recognize all ingredients in our food. Healthy eating and weight loss should not be difficult and should not seem impossible. Find out new and innovative ways to slim down, visit a naturopathic doctor for help with losing weight and getting healthy

 

Article contributed by Dr. Michelle McConnell

 

 

References:

Walton RG et al., Biol Psychiatry 1993 Jul 1-15;34(1-2):13-7.

Stegink LD et al., J Nutr 1983 Aug;113(8):1600-6.

Pinto JM, et al., Neuropharmacology 1988 Jan;27(1):51-5.

Pan-Hou H et al., Brain Res 1990 Jun 18;520(1-2):351-3.

Antibiotics Linked to Weight Game; http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antibiotics-linked-weight-gain-mice/

Aspartame timeline to Approval for use in foods; http://www.rense.com/general33/legal.htm

How Gut Bacteria Help Make Us Fat and Thin; http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-gut-bacteria-help-make-us-fat-and-thin/

Artificial Sweeteners Dont Mix Well with Our Microbiomes; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/artificial-sweeteners-dont-mix-well-microbiomes/