Thursday, July 29, 2010

Diet sodas debunked: a look at Nutrasweet and Splenda

Schweppes Cream SodasImage via Wikipedia
It's summer time and people are looking for a tasty way to quench their thirst. Most folks open the fridge and reach for: diet coke, diet pepsi, diet snapple, diet flavored tea, diet ginger ale, or an artificially sweetened flavored water, Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Diet sodas have been hyped up by the media and  the soda manufacturing companies as being good for weight loss as they result in lower caloric intake, good for diabetics and overall good for your health since they supposedly eliminate some of the problems that sugar causes. Hmm, let's take a look at the real picture though.  It is not as nice as has been painted.

What is the scoop on Aspartame

Aspartame, produced by G.D. Searle,  is a known neurotoxin (toxic to brain and nervous system)  it can cause headaches, memory loss, menstrual problems, joint pain, lower the seizure threshold and many other health problems.

According to the article, "The dangers of diet coke, pepsi and other diet foods" www.healthandsurvival.com Dr. John W. Olney of Washington Medical School in St. Louis believes that the 10% increase in brain tumors sine 1981 has been linked to the increased usage of aspartame.  He also cites another article published in the "Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology," that animal studies reveal increased levels of brain tumors in aspartame fed rats.

And, for some more disheartening news, despite all these reported side effects and adverse reactions, the FDA.gov still refuses to change its position that aspartame is safe.  (Please visit: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108650.htm)

How did it ever get on the market?

What's the latest on Splenda?

Splenda or sucralose, produced by McNeil Nutritionals, is touted as being natural, but it is really synthetic as it contains a chemical alteration or exchange between sugar molecules and chlorine.  It is 600 times as sweet as sucrose, or table sugar.

It is also more stable when subjected to large variations in heat, therefore it has been deemed suitable for baking, whereas aspartame is not. No long term studies were done on this chemical sweetener.  It has been found to cause enlarged livers and kidneys in mice along with shrunken thymus glands.

Adverse reactions are pending the ongoing experimentation with the American consumer.



What about our need for water?

One quite obvious problem is that by reaching for all the diet drinks to quench the thirst, we are neglecting our need  for our #1 liquid - water.

Our bodies are over 60% water. To help replace what is lost through sweating, excretion and other activities, we need to drink at least 64 ounces. However, it has been stated that in the case of people who are overweight, the need increases.  Don't forget, water is important to flush out and expel some of the toxins that the body produces through metabolism. It help regulate our digestive system and bowel movements as well as suppressing the appetite  for weight loss.

Healthier alternatives

Here is a list of some alternatives to refined white sugar.  Of course, everyone has his/her own preferences, but most of them taste really good. 

Stevia is a natural sweetener that found considerable resistance from the sugar industry. It is zero calories and has been used in South America  for years.

Agave nectar tastes great and is low on the glycemic scale.  Just don't overdo.

Honey has been around forever.  Don't overdo.  Don't give to babies.

Maple Sugar has a nutty flavor, much less refined than table sugar.

Brown rice sugar is also very minimally refined

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