Substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners has become very common nowadays mainly with people who are on a diet and who have ‘a sweet tooth’ and people who are diabetic. This is due to the fact that artificial sweeteners have few or absolutely no calories. They allow diabetics to enjoy soft drinks, sweets and desired ice-cream without consumption of sugar. However, dieters using artificial sweeteners experience no greater weight loss, this happens possibly because food that is artificially sweetened may still be rather high in fat. There are several types of artificial sweeteners on the market and all have their pros and cons, but basically they are not absolutely good for consumption from a medical standpoint, since they are artificially made. There are five major artificial sweeteners:
Acesulfame-K or Acesulfame Potassium
This common sweetener is used in a large number of foods and is about a couple of hundred times sweeter than ordinary sugar. It is used to sweeten several different products and can be used in cooking. Acesulfame-K has been an officially approved sweetener since 1988; however, most people are actually quite unaware that it is used as an artificial sweetener in their food and drinks. Acesulfame-K contains methylene chloride and long-term exposure to methylene chloride has been known to cause headaches, nausea, depression , liver effects, mental confusion, visual disturbances, kidney effects and even various kinds of cancer. There has been a great deal of intensive opposition to the common use of Acesulfame-K without conducting further studies.
Aspartame is also known as Nutrasweet. This sweetener is also a couple of hundred times sweeter than sugar. There are more than 90 different documented symptoms caused by aspartame. They include: dizziness, migraines, seizure, muscle spasm, weight gain, anxiety attacks, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, joint pain, etc. Other research has shown that aspartame may have a negative effect on children who suffer from epilepsy. Apart from this, it is also known to cause headaches. Essentially, the excess of aspartame in the brain destroys neurons by flooding them with too much calcium. This in turn triggers the formation of free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for killing our cells through the cell oxidation process (the same way a piece of cut apple oxidizes in contact with air).
Another sweetener is called Cyclamate which is usually found in the Sweet’n Low tabletop sweetener. This is actually a sweetener without calories, although research has shown that Cyclamate actually increases some cancer causing activities present in other substances although it is not known to cause cancer by itself.
Another sweetener is Saccharine, which is four hundred times sweeter than ordinary sugar and although it is cheap, it can leave a bitter aftertaste in your mouth. Saccharin is actually a very safe sweetener although it is occasionally linked to allergic reactions and also causes cancer in the urinary tract and the bladder of rodents.
Sucralose, also called splenda, is a whopping 600 times sweeter than sugar. This sweetener is sometimes described as being real sugar but the truth of the matter is that sucralose is not sugar, and sucralose is not safe at all. Splenda is just another product concocted by giant pharmaceutical companies. The Journal of Toxicology has in fact reported that splenda reduces digestive probiotics (which are good bacteria). In addition, sucralose has been reported to cause depression, headaches, bloating, nausea, joint pain, wheezing etc.
Despite the health cautions that are associated with artificial sweeteners, the companies that sell these products will continue to claim that they do not cause any harm. However, our bodies were not designed to deal with heterogeneous substances such as artificial sweeteners. It is better to substitute sugar for a natural product such as honey rather than use an artificial sweetener.
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