You know I’ve always heard about artificial sweeteners but I haven’t really given much thought to them until recently when someone mentioned them in one of my posts.
All I knew of them was only what I learned from family and friends suffering from diabetes about how they are recommended for their condition because they help control their blood sugar levels by reducing their calorie and carbohydrate intake.
But apparently that cannot be said about aspartame. Apparently instead of assisting with weight loss, it causes weight gain and adversely affects your blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.
And most people prefer them as opposed to sugar because apparently they don’t cause cavities, and they help prevent tooth decay. But still they aren’t a hundred percent safe for our teeth because some reviews revealed that they might possibly cause dental erosion due to their acidic flavorings and preservatives.
But what I’m going to focus on is how they are used as diet methods when people are trying to lose weight and maybe try to find out their effectiveness or ineffectiveness in that way.
They say curiosity killed the cat, right, which is why I felt the need to try and find out all I can about them and that is what I’m about to share.
What Are Artificial Sweeteners?
Artificial Sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes offering all the sweetness of sugar without or with less calories.
Although most of us know the dangers of sugar, and we try to avoid it by all means possible, that doesn’t stop us from cheating every once in a while. So wouldn’t it be nice to openly cheat, without having to feel guilty afterwards, and is this even possible? That is what we are about to find out.
Types Of Artificial Sweeteners That Are Approved By The FDA
- Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K).
Now Lets Try To Look At The Pro’s And Cons Of The Above
Although it was linked with the development of bladder cancer in rats, it seems pretty safe in humans since more than 30 human studies demonstrated that the results found in rats were irrelevant to humans (FDA), plus it does not contain any calories.
Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
There are more than 90 studies that attests to its safety (FDA), and it also contains no calories.
Contains no calories, very safe according to more than 110 studies which were reviewed by the FDA.
But according to Dr Joseph Mercola of mercola.com, of the 110 studies, only two were human and the longest one was conducted for only four days. And the animal studies revealed a lot of problems like decreased red blood cells, increased male infertility, enlarged and calcified kidneys, spontaneous abortions, etc, etc…
Side effects from humans mentioned by Dr Mercola are Gastrointestinal problems, seizures, dizziness, migraines, blurred vision, allergic reactions, blood sugar increases, weight gain, and there are even rumours linking it to leukemia.
According to the FDA, more than 100 studies supports its safety, except for people suffering from a disease called phenylketonuria, because it contains phenylalanine, which is not easily metabolized by people suffering from the disease. So they should either avoid it or control their intake of it. But it contains calories, so it’s not exactly an option if you’re trying to lose weight.
Infact there’s reason to believe that aspartame together with Neotame has got the potential to cause weight gain. Apparently there are two amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic acid) that make up 90% of aspartame and are also present in Neotame, which are known to rapidly stimulate the release of insulin and leptin, hormones that regulates your metabolism and are responsible for storing fat and for your feeling of fullness after eating.
Apparently even though you are not ingesting calories in the form of sugar, aspartame and neotame can still raise your insulin and leptin levels. And if your body is exposed to too much leptin, it becomes resistant to it as time progresses, the same way your body can become resistant to insulin, and after that happens, your body can no longer hear the hormonal messages instructing your body to stop eating, burn fat, and maintain good sensitivity to sweet tastes in your taste buds.
So you’ll eat without being full, you won’t stop craving sweet things and your body will store more fat than it burns. Which will in turn cause obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and so on. Moreover, too much phenylalanine lowers serotonin levels(neurotransmitter that also influences satiety), so you can only imagine how difficult it will be to keep the weight off since you’ll be craving food nonstop and since you’ll be eating without being satisfied.
This sweetener contains no calories, It is safe according to data reviews done to identify possible toxic effects on 113 animal and human studies by the FDA. Neotame was supposed to be a better and safer version of aspartame, but is it?
Here’s what I found out, Neotame is Aspartame plus 3,3-dimethylbutyl, which is meant to block production of phenylalanine and eliminate the need for warning labels for people who cannot properly metabolise phenylalanine. But apparently this 3,3- dimethylbutyraldehyde is a highly flammable irritant, and can possibly cause irritation to skin, eyes and respiratory system upon handling. So does that sound like something you would risk consuming?
I would love to have some feedback from you. If you’ve ever used any of the sweeteners above please feel free to share how it’s working out for you.
Generally sugar must be avoided at all costs in a quest for weight loss but for some people who cannot do without then artificial sweeteners can help curb the craving without adding those extra calories. But because they differ, and some appear to be safer than others, it is better to do your own homework before you start using them.
Furthermore, I would like to say that I personally prefer staying away from all sweeteners since like modern medicine, each of them has their own side effects. But for those of you who just can’t help themselves, there’s a healthier version called stevia.
Stevia is a highly sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant and it’s sold as a supplement. It contains no calories, it is 200 to 400 times sweeter than sugar, not to mention it is completely natural.
I have only heard nice things about stevia up to so far but just like any other form of sugar it is to be taken with caution as the best and safest option is avoiding sugar period. So I would also take it with caution and only use it every once in a while when I experience a craving for that something sweet.
The above info was sourced from www.fda.gov and www.mercola.com. Please feel free to visit the mentioned sites for verification, thanks.