FAKE SUGARS, REAL HEALTH ISSUES!
Calorie-free sugars might seem like the way to go in order to trim the waistline. Sugar substitute options are available everywhere you look. They're often added to foods marketed as diet products or even “health foods”. These fake sweeteners are found abundantly; in our diet soft drinks, desserts, processed foods, chewing gum, and even toothpaste. The most common artificial sweeteners are: sucralose (Splenda); aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, Sugar Twin); and saccharin (Sweet’N Low). These processed sugars are 200-13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar.
Fake sugars allow you to satisfy that sweet tooth without the consequence of calories. However, although the calories may be absent, there are some other dire consequences that you need to be aware of. These fake sugars are not as safe as we once thought. Studies are coming out with some shocking results.
EIGHT DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF ARTIFICIAL SUGARS:
INCREASED APPETITE / OVEREATING - People who consume "light" drinks and foods usually do so for weight loss, or to prevent weight gain. However, studies show that the opposite is true: not only do artificial sugars not aid in weight-loss, they actually stimulate the appetite to promote weight gain! Furthermore, inside the brain's reward centers, the sweet sensation is integrated with “perceived” energy content. When the sweetness versus the perceived energy is out of balance for an extended time, the brain recalibrates to think that it can handle more calories than the body can process. You naturally do not feel as full and the body perceives that it needs more fuel. It results in you overeating, consuming more calories, while further craving more sugars and packing on the pounds.
RISK OF TYPE 2 DIABETES – Over time, a decrease in insulin sensitivity can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels. Medical journal Diabetes Care, found that sucralose (Splenda), changes the way the body handles sugar. When study participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar and insulin levels rose approximately 20% higher. Artificial sweeteners greatly enhance our blood insulin and glucose responses. When people routinely secrete more insulin, they can become resistant to its effects, which is one of the main causes of Type 2 Diabetes. Insulin also works as our "storage hormone” that promotes weight-gain and prevents weight-loss. Our lack of insulin response can also promote the growth and spread of cancer cells - particularly cancers of the colon, endometrium, breast, and pancreas. Bottom line - Daily consumption of diet drinks was associated with a 36% greater risk for metabolic syndrome and a 67% increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
IMBALANCE IN YOUR INTESTINAL FLORA - Israeli scientists found a link between artificial sweeteners and changes in the body’s gut bacteria. The cycle found that glucose intolerance was elevated due to changes in gut microbiota; and changes in the gut flora, caused further glucose intolerance. Gut health has to be optimal in order to maintain a healthy immune system and normal metabolic functions in our body such maintaining a healthy blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels. Sucralose causes a significant reduction in healthy intestinal bacteria such as acidophilus and bifido-bacteria. Both of these play a vital role in our immune health, nutrient absorption, detoxification, prevention of allergies, avoiding inflammatory bowel disease, indigestion, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Together medical doctors and nutritionists are concerned about the modification of the gut microflora caused by frequent intake of non-caloric artificial sweeteners.
DECREASED QUALITY OF SLEEP - Artificial sweeteners were found to promote hyperactivity, insomnia, and decreased sleep quality. There is a destructive cascading effect when the body does not get enough sleep. Our metabolism, our immune system, and our parasympathetic nervous system are all negatively impacted when our body does not have the quality and quantity of sleep hours that it needs.
INCREASED CHANCE OF CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE - A broad range of research has found that artificial sweeteners elevate free radicals and inflammation in the kidneys, and there is a positive correlation between artificially sweetened beverages and chronic kidney disease. A new study showed that drinking two or more diet sodas a day may double your risk of declining kidney function. The American Society of Nephrology in San Diego found that women who drank two or more diet sodas a day had a 30% drop in their measure of kidney function. Kidney disease affects your body’s ability to control your blood pressure, clean your blood, promote red blood cell production, and vitamin D metabolism needed for bone health.
DECREASES MEMORY, BRAIN, AND MOOD FUNCTION - High doses of aspartame have been found to impair cognitive abilities, spatial orientation, and memory scores. Study participants with high aspartame intake also had mood disorders and behavioral changes. These participants were more depressed and demonstrated more irritability than those who did not ingest aspartame.
CRAVE LESS HEALTHY FOODS - People who routinely use artificial sweeteners may start to find foods that are not as sweet, such as fruit, less appealing. They may also find non-sweet foods, such as vegetables, downright unpalatable. The use of artificial sweeteners will work against your nutritional choices by making you shun healthy, satisfying, and nutrient dense foods, in favour of consuming more artificially flavored foods with little or no nutritional value. Over time, the consumption of artificial sweeteners alters our taste buds and cause us to constantly crave foods that are overly sweet. Consequently, the risk for nutrient deficiencies and weight gain increase with the intake of artificial sweeteners.
In order to satisfy one’s sweet craving, it is more beneficial to utilize natural sugars. These sugars include agave syrup or crystals, local honey, maple syrup, monk fruit, and Stevia. These sugars are pure, made by nature and not in a lab, and do not undergo the high chemical processing of artificial sweeteners. For optimal nutrition levels, sugars should be used in moderation, obtained by organic fruit consumption, or as much as possible eliminated from the diet.