This post will cover the reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners. If you are what you eat, why would you want to be artificial? ;o)
When dodging the harms inherent in consuming high fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar, opting for artificial sweetener is not a safe nor wise choice. The most commonly known and used artificial sweeteners in the US are:
1. aspartame - Equal and NutraSweet 2. saccharine - Sweet'N Low 3. sucralose - Splenda (not to be confused with "sucrose" which is common sugar) 4. acesulfame potassium - Sweet One
A brief tour around Google or Wikipedia will alert you to the many dangers of ingesting artificial sugar substitutes, like the ones above, linking them to the formation of cancer.
Not only are these chemicals toxic to the body, they also confuse the body and end up causing weight gain in the long term. Generally "foods" that contain artificial sweetener should be avoided for other ingredients also. Fake sugar rarely travels solo in a toxic vehicle. It is criminal to find artificial sweeteners in food meant for children as it can interfere with their developing brains.
While it is important to curb all sugar intake in order to reduce inflammation, diabetes and obesity, there are natural sugars which are relatively safe and smart choices when you must use sugar.
Stevia has been in the news recently because Truvia and PureVia (Coca Cola and Pepsi promoted sweeteners) have hit the shelves. They claim to be derived from all natural stevia and, therefore, are a more natural choice. Yes this is true in the sense that Splenda is derived from sugar. One element is isolated, adulterated and replicated, but no longer resembles the original substance. It doesn't make it safe. I've written more about this topic here.
While shopping for Food School, I discovered these sugar substitutes on my grocery shelves:
Ingredients: Erythritol, Isomaltulose, Reb A (stevia extract), Contains 1% or less of Cellulose Powder and each Natural Flavor.
(Reb A is the isolated, adulterated component of stevia that no longer resembles stevia. And what's the other gunk?)
Ingredients: Xylitol, Dextrose with Maltodextrin and Sucralose for added sweetness.
(You get unbranded Splenda with your Xylitol. How sweet! NOT.)
Ah ha! Zero Calories. Zero Carbs. Zero Glycemic Index. Finally, real stevia. You can try some for free by sending in two packets of your current sugar substitute to SweetLeaf. Instructions here. Better yet, try growing a stevia plant and pinching off a leaf to sweeten your tea.
Or try raw, organic agave syrup.
To receive the benefits of agave, you must use the darker, raw, unrefined version. The lighter, more refined version is too much like corn syrup and will behave like it in the body.
Live Light, xo-C.
If you are reading this by email or social media and would like to comment and/or share one of your sweetener adventures, please click here to go to this post on my blog. Thanks! I'd love to hear from you.