Which Hormone is Keeping you Fat?
The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
More and more people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or obesity. One of the usual recommendations they are given is to eat less sugar. When people are told they should eat less sugar they often turn to artificial sweeteners. But are artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame potassium truly safe.
Artificial sweeteners are so popular as food additives because it only takes a small amount to achieve the sweetness of sugar, so they add almost no calories to the foods they are added to. They are added to soft drinks, chewing gum, coffee sweeteners, sugar free desserts and many other processed food products. They are also commonly added to medications to sweeten them.
Artificial sweetener safety
All three are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and many other food standards agencies. But are they really as safe as claimed?
Aspartame was approved by the FDA is the 1970s and 1980s and there have been questions raised about the approval process for at least 3 decades. There have since been multiple studies that show links to several health issues.
Sucralose, know as Splenda, was approved by the FDA in 1998, but several recent studies have shown issues.
Acesulfame potassium, known as Ace-K was approved in 1988. It is sold under the brand names Sweet One and Sunett. In Europe it is known as E950Studies have also shown side effects with its use.
Artificial sweetener side effects
Let’s take a look at some of the side effects of these sweeteners
Increased cancer risk
Both aspartame and acesulfame potassium are linked to an increased cancer risk. Aspartame has been shown to cause cancer in rats. Breast cancer risks are higher among those who use artificial sweeteners.
Disrupt Gut Microbiota
Healthy gut bacteria is key to weight loss and overall health. Artificial sweeteners may lead a disruption in the gut flora.
Effects on blood sugar
Sucralose has been shown to raise blood sugar and insulin levels in people who didn’t previously use sucralose. Aspartame has been linked to a difficulty in controlling blood sugar in diabetics.
Effects of heat on sucralose
Sucralose is often used in baked goods because of its similar taste and texture to sugar. But recent studies have shown that it can break down at high temperatures and interacts with other substances in your food. This can potentially increase cancer risk.
Brain and mood disorders
Aspartame has been linked to mood disorders, brain imbalances, and migraines.
People who have phenylketonuria and those taking medication for schizophrenia should avoid aspartame.
Effects on weight
Despite the fact that they are often used for weight control, artificial sweeteners offer little benefit when it comes to losing and maintaining weight. Part of this might be due to the effects on gut bacteria.
They can also lead to binge eating because they trick the brain into wanting to eat more.
Another danger artificial sweeteners is that they don't promote healthy eating habits that lead to better health and weight loss. When using products sweetened with aspartame you are replacing a processed food product with one that is even more processed. This means all the adverse effects of the processed food are still there and there is likely little nutritional benefit.
To make matters worse, artificial sweeteners like aspartame offer very little help with weight loss. They also contribute to binge eating and brain imbalances.
What can you do?
Choose whole foods that are naturally sweetened like berries. Or choose natural sweeteners like monkfruit or stevia leaves.
How can I help?
I can help you with a nutrition plan that can help you lose weight with healthy delicious foods. Book a free nutrition assessment to find out how you can work with me.