A convenient lie has more buyers than the bitter truth!
…& THAT, my friends, is the fundamental psychological trick behind the increasing popularity of artificial sweeteners. The 90’s brought about a huge resurgence in diet food, which could only be labelled as such due to the replacement of sugar with artificial sweeteners. With this switch, many processed junk foods could now be considered “fat free,” “sugar free,” or “low fat.” This, of course, gave people a false hope that artificial sweeteners were the wave of the dietetic future and that they could still overindulge on pre-packaged, processed foods even while on a diet.
Many of the biscuits, cookies & other foods that are labelled “Diabetic” or “Sugar free” are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Also, diabetics & people who are overweight/ obese are often told to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners in their daily dose of tea or coffee.
So what’s the hassle???
It saves calories & gives your food a good taste! Sounds like a great deal, right??? Well, not if you care to find out the facts. Here goes…
Last time I checked, the word “artificial” was another word for “fake.” Since when did fake food become healthy? Artificial sweeteners are not food! They aren’t even something our bodies can recognize and break down into something useful, like energy. They are toxins. In fact, they are considered to be one of the most toxic substances our livers have to process and they bog it down, making it work at less than desirable levels (& the efficiency of your liver has a LOT to do with fat-burning)
Some commonly available artificial sweeteners :
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, Sugar Free Gold. Also present in Diet Coke, Diet pepsi)
Sucralose (Splenda, Natura, Sugar free)
Saccharin (Sweet n Low. FYI, it’s a compound of coal & tar)
The Bitter truth :
- Artificial sweeteners have a drug like effect. They make you crave for more sweet foods.
- They mess with the body’s ability to signal appetite control and satiety! They also contribute to an increased appetite due to the fact that our bodies do not derive any nutrition from them. A vicious circle, that one!
- Aspartame is linked with : Memory loss ( I have witnessed a case of this one) , Migraines, mental confusion, nerve-cell damage, joint pains, bloating, Alzheimer’s, disorders related to Nervous system, hair loss & reproductive disorders. Total 92 of the FDA listed official side effects of Aspartame.
- Sucralose is made by adding chlorine to sugar. It passes through the gut, undigested as the body cannot recognise it. It has side effects like diarrhoea, swelling of the kidneys & liver, organ, reproductive & immune system damage, amongst others.
- Sachharin has side effects like : Breathing difficulties, Headaches, Diarrhoea, Skin problems
What to do???
- Completely avoid or drastically cut down the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Replace is with Stevia (available as Dr.Sugar), Honey, Evaporated sugar or Agave nectar.
- If you take protein shakes, restrict it only to post workout meal (3 days a week, max) or look for shakes that are free of such artificial sweeteners.
- Remember, 1 tsp of sugar gives you only 20 calories. Consuming 2 tsps of sugar per day, is not a hassle at all. It’s the over-consumption that can be a problem. & over-consumption of sugar is caused by foods like cakes, sweets, deserts, soft drinks, ketchup, processed foods etc. When you are told to avoid sugar, those are the foods that should be avoided.
Remember, always eat food in the most natural form possible; that’s what our bodies recognize and know how to use. Eat REAL food!