How healthy are artificial sweeteners, actually?

It tastes like sugar, but without the calories…sounds too good to be true, right? Well, that’s exactly the case! Marketing has misled us for decades and it’s time for you to hear the bitter-sweet truth about non-nutritive sweeteners.

What are artificial sweeteners, exactly?

Artificial sweeteners are substances that are used in place of any type of natural sweetener such as sugar. They are commonly used by people who have diabetes (to help control blood sugar levels) or by people are trying to lose weight.

Sweeteners may contain virtually no calories, but according to the American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association, “there is also not enough evidence at this time to determine if NNS use lead to weight loss or lower heart disease risk.”

So, are artificial sweeteners a healthy alternative?

Other studies have also revealed that artificial sweeteners may actually raise your blood sugar levels, making them a very unhealthy choice for diabetics.
It’s also important to note that even if a product label claims to be “sugar-free” and flavoured with artificial sweeteners, it doesn’t mean that there are no calories such as fats or carbohydrates in the product. So, it’s essential that you read the nutrition label!

2 of the main problems

In one word: marketing. people see these sweet trigger-phrases:

  • weight loss and control
  • low in calories
  • diet

If we’re desperate, we’d often do anything we can to achieve that goal, without thinking of the long-term consequences. So, why are these sweeteners so bad for you? Here’s how it affects your body:

  • When you take sweeteners, your brain still releases dopamine (the feel-good hormone) – the one that’s released when you eat natural sugar.
  • But, the dopamine needs to be deactivated by a chemical at some point to let you know that you are full. The problem: this chemical (Leptin) is.
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NOT released when you eat sweeteners! So, no matter how many “sugar-free” foods you eat, you’re still going to crave carb-rich food. It becomes a trap!

How you can get out of the rut

The bottom line: it’s best to stay away from all types of sweeteners altogether. For that occasional burst of sweetness, eat fresh fruit, and train your brain to enjoy natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables.

Here is your action plan to avoid artificial sweeteners:

  • Stay away from all types of fizzy drinks – drink water!
  • Before buying any “diet” or “low-calorie” foods, check the ingredients to make sure that it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners.
  • Lose weight the right way: exercise and keeping a balanced diet.

Remember, there is no quick-fix way to lose weight, despite what you may hear. The more you put in, the more you get out. So, ditch all types of sweeteners, exercise daily and follow healthy diet – that’s how to banish body fat! Good luck. You can do it!

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/artificial-sweeteners-sugar-free-but-at-what-cost-201207165030

http://www.sugar.org/other-sweeteners/artificial-sweeteners/

http://www.medicaldaily.com/4-dangerous-effects-artificial-sweeteners-your-health-247543

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040630081825.htm

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/food-nutrition/facts/artificial-sweetners-unhealthy-eco.htm