Health Tip #35


Artificial Sweeteners Aren’t The Answer

Although we have discussed limiting processed carbohydrates and sugars in our diet, turning to artificial sweeteners to satisfy our sweet cravings is not the answer.  Chemically derived artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame (Equal), Saccharin (Sweet n Low), and Sucralose (Splenda), have been shown to have negative health effects.

Artificial Sweeteners Can Make Us Sick

Consumption of Aspartame is associated with neurological disorders, headaches, brain tumors, seizures and mood disorders.  When heated, Aspartame also converts to  free methanol which breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde.  Both are toxic.   Saccharin, noted for it’s bitter aftertaste, has been linked with certain cancers including bladder cancer.  Sucralose has been shown to cause skin rash, panic attacks, muscle and head aches, diarrhea and intestinal cramping.

Artificial Sweeteners Do Not Make Us Thin

To top it all of, far from helping to keep our blood sugar stable, consumption of these imitation sugars, disrupts our body’s appetite-regulation system.  Our body expects a rise in blood sugar from the ‘sweet’ taste but when no nourishment is delivered, it sends messages to keep eating more.  This may even lead to glucose intolerance, metabolic syndrome and obesity.  Artificial sweeteners have also been shown to alter our gut microbiome.

Some Better Alternatives

When we have sweet cravings, the very best thing to do is to ask ourselves why?  Sweet cravings are often an emotional response to stress.  Dealing with the underlying issues is the better course of action.  Sour foods, such as lacto-fermented vegetables can help eliminate cravings.  The next best thing is to try to satisfy our cravings for something sweet is with natural, whole fresh fruits,  like kiwi, grapefruit, pineapple, and berries.  The herb stevia, native to South America can also add sweetness.  Stevia tastes 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar so a little goes a long way.  You can even grow your own.  Finally, unrefined, whole sugars, used sparingly are a better alternative to refined sugars.