Image via WikipediaFor Americans, artificial sweeteners have become synonymous with weight loss and health consciousness. When you think of diet programs and "eating healthy," most people include artificial sweeteners as the alternative to sugar. However, much debate continues regarding their regular usage.
Despite the ongoing controversy, they are found in products from soda to vitamins. Many questions remain unanswered as to how these products reach the supermarket shelves given that adverse reactions are being regularly reported to the FDA.
This article will take a look at two of the most popular products, aspartame, and sucralose; the third, saccharin, will briefly be considered as its usage has declined since the 1960's when studies reached the public about the association of cancer in test animals.
Why are artificial sweeteners bad?
According to Miranda Khan's interview with health expert, Dr. David Friedman from "The Balancing Act" on "Lifetime TV," artificial sweeteners are just that-artificial. Anything that is made in a laboratory consists of chemicals which will always be harder to digest. These chemicals have been known to cause imbalances in the body such as:
Dr. Friedman reports that these artificial sweeteners stimulate the appetite which contributes to obesity.
Further, in an 8 year study performed by the University of Texas, participants who regularly drank diet soft drinks were noted to have a 41% increase in obesity. These chemicals cause craving of carbohydrates which contribute to weight gain.
In the same interview, Dr. Friedman points out that sucralose is made with chemically modified real sugar. What chemical is it modified with, you might ask? The answer is acetone. This is the same chemical that is used in nail polish remover. Now, can you imagine putting that into your body? Further chemicals include: benzene, which is a carcinogen found in oil and gasoline; another is methanol or wood alcohol which is used in windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze. Finally, the last chemical is formaldehyde, which I am sure that almost everyone knows is used to preserve dead things.
Aspartame is probably the most popular sweetener on the market right now, but questions have been raised by many health professionals and consumer protections groups as to how this got FDA approval for human consumption.
Dr. Friedman notes that the FDA receives numerous complaints as to the side effects caused by aspartame which include:
In addition to this list, there are at least 92 other side effects that have been associated with long term aspartame use.
Aspartame is also found in many packaged products that we, the trusting consumers probably have never checked the labels for. Such as:
Pharmaceuticals-vitamins, cough syrups
The last of the deadly three.
Saccharin received a lot of notoriety in the late 1960's for its association with cancer in test animals. So public use is on the decline.
As far as the chemical composition of saccharin, it is made from coal/tar derivatives which has no food value at all. It is also made with ammonia.
For your family's safety, research your choice of sweetener. Many people opt for more natural substances such as stevia and agave. But, each individual has their own unique health challenges, so recommendations are difficult to make.
As a final thought, consumers should read and research all new products, whether natural or artificial, to ensure personal and family safety.