Unfortunately, the belief that artificial sweeteners can allow you to have the best of both worlds is simply not based on reality. So if you're still consuming artificially sweetened foods, snacks and beverages because you think it'll help you manage your weight, please understand that you've been sorely misled.
In reality, "diet" foods and drinks disrupt your body’s ability to recognize calories, thus boosting your inclination to overindulge. This effect appears to be true for all artificial sweeteners.
Unfortunately, most public health agencies and nutritionists in the United States still recommend these toxic artificial sweeteners as acceptable and even preferred alternatives to sugar, which is at best confusing and at worst seriously damaging the health of those who listen to this well-intentioned but foolish advice.
Artificial Sweeteners INCREASE Your Risk of Obesity
Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that artificial sweeteners can stimulate your appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and stimulate fat storage and weight gain. In fact, diet sodas may actually DOUBLE your risk of obesity! How's that for being misled?
Studies have repeatedly shown that consuming artificial sweeteners may be ruining your ability to control your food intake and body weight.
It's thought that consuming artificial sweeteners breaks the inherent connection between a sweet taste and a high-calorie food, thereby changing your body's ability to regulate your intake of calories. The end result is that by consuming artificially sweetened foods and beverages, you end up gaining more body fat than if you were to eat the same foods sweetened with regular sugar!
But weight gain isn't the only health-harming side effect of these man-made chemical sweeteners.
Splenda Destroys Your Gut Flora
Different artificial sweeteners have been found to wreak havoc in a number of different ways. Aspartame, for example, has a long list of studies indicating its harmful effect, ranging from brain damage to pre-term delivery.
Splenda (sucralose) has been found to be particularly damaging to your intestines.
A study published in 2008 found that Splenda:
- Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent
- Increases the pH level in your intestines, and
- Affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you're on certain medications like chemotherapy, or treatments for AIDS and certain heart conditions
In response to this study, James Turner, chairman of the national consumer education group Citizens for Health issued the following statement:
"The report makes it clear that the artificial sweetener Splenda and its key component sucralose pose a threat to the people who consume the product. Hundreds of consumers have complained to us about side effects from using Splenda and this study ... confirms that the chemicals in the little yellow package should carry a big red warning label."
It's truly alarming that Splenda can destroy up to 50 percent of your healthy intestinal bacteria. These bacteria are absolutely vital for supporting your general health! Many people are already deficient in healthy bacteria due to consuming too many highly processed foods. This is why a high quality probiotic is one of the supplements I highly recommend for most, if not all, people.
Believe me, if you continually destroy up to half of your gut flora by regularly consuming Splenda, then poor health is virtually guaranteed!
Common Side Effects of Splenda
The web site www.truthaboutsplenda.com lists a variety of consumer complaints from Splenda consumption, such as:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Blurred vision
- Allergic reactions
- Blood sugar increases
- Weight gain
If you have ever suffered any side effects from taking Splenda or any artificially sweetened product, I strongly recommend reporting it to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in your area.
Splenda - "Made from Sugar" But More Similar to DDT...
The catchy slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar" has fooled many, but chemically, Splenda is actually more similar to DDT than sugar.
Sucralose starts off with a sugar molecule, yes, but that's where the similarity ends. (A sucrose molecule is a disaccharide that contains two single sugars bound together, i.e. glucose and fructose.) Then, in a five-step patented process, three chlorine molecules are added to that sucrose (sugar) molecule.
This process converts the sugar molecule to a fructo-galactose molecule.
This type of sugar molecule does not occur in nature, and therefore your body does not possess the ability to properly metabolize it. As a result of this "unique" biochemical make-up, McNeil Nutritionals makes its claim that Splenda is not digested or metabolized by the body, hence it has zero calories.
But, if you look at the research, you will find that an average of 15 percent of sucralose IS in fact absorbed into your digestive system, and ultimately is stored in your body. To reach the average number of 15 percent means that some people absorb more and some people absorb less, depending on your biochemical makeup.
If you are healthy and your digestive system works well, you may be at HIGHER risk for breaking down this product in your stomach and intestines, so for you the adverse reactions may be more acutely felt.
How to Kick the Artificial Sweetener Habit
Sweet cravings are very common for the simple reason that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Unfortunately, switching to artificial sweeteners will neither reduce these cravings nor increase your satiety. On the contrary, as discussed above, you're likely making matters worse.
Your body also craves sweets when you're denying it the fuel it needs. Sugar (and grain carbs) is very quick fuel and can give your body a boost when it's running low. Again, using artificial sweeteners does not trick your body into thinking it has had its fill; rather it wants more sweets because it didn't get the energy boost with that sweet taste!
A powerful solution to help curb your cravings is to make a conscious effort to change your eating habits. Eating small frequent meals during the day helps to control your blood sugar levels and helps to avoid sugar cravings. Learning to eat the type of food you need to eat to stay full and satisfied is also the key to controling sugar cravings.
It may sound hard to believe right now, but once you start eating right for your body, your sweet cravings will disappear. Contact me today to get the help you need to turn your health around.
In addition to eating the right for foods for your body, I highly recommend addressing the emotional componenet of your food cravings. Understanding why we eat what we eat - especially when it goes beyond the fact that the food tastes good - is a step in the right direction when it comes to conquering your battle with sweets and sugar cravings.
Feel free to contact me:
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD