Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes, but may be derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than regular refined sugar. The sweeteners are widely used in processed foods, including baked goods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, puddings, canned foods, jams and jellies, dairy products, and scores of other foods and beverages.
The best way to sweeten food and drinks? Fresh or frozen fruit. Fruit is a sweetener without any empty calories. Other natural sweeteners, such as raw honey, maple syrup, agave nectar and raw sugar are great options as well. Try sticking to natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners, so you can avoid a variety of health issues.
Here are some of the most popular (and dangerous) artificial sweeteners on the market today. They can severely harm your health. First, it’s important to be able to recognize artificial sweeteners on the labels of pre-packaged and processed foods. Check all ingredient labels carefully for the following.
- Acesulfame potassium
- Sweet ‘N Low
People are often surprised at how often-dangerous artificial sweeteners are included in prepared foods, medications and beverages. Here are a few surprising examples of where to check for the dangerous sweeteners mentioned above:
- Toothpaste and mouthwash
- Children’s chewable vitamins
- Cough syrup and liquid medicines
- Chewing gum
- No-calorie waters and drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
- Salad dressings
- Frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts
- Baked goods
- Breakfast cereals
- Processed snack foods
- “Lite” or diet fruit juices and beverages
- Prepared meats
- Nicotine gum
Here are few reasons why you should avoid artificial sweeteners:
1. They Trick Your Gut
The sweet taste sends a signal to your gut that something high calorie is on its way, so your gut anticipates foods that do, in fact, have a high calorie count. But when those don't arrive, your gut doesn't utilize the foods efficiently, and that causes a cascading effect that interferes with your body's hunger signals.
2. They Mess With Your Hormones
When you taste sweet foods, even if they have zero calories, your body still releases insulin as if you'd eaten sugar. Insulin leads to blood sugar spikes, which increase cravings.
3. They Make You Overeat
High fat, high sugar foods taste both sweet and dense, signaling to your brain that they're high calories. But artificially sweetened foods often have a thinner consistency and texture than sugar-sweetened foods and thus, aren't as satisfying.
According to the research, regular use of these artificial sweeteners can result in blood or brain cancer. This is considered one of the biggest risks of these sweeteners, so their consumption should be as limited as possible.
5. Persistent Headaches
The consumption of fake sugar in foods and drinks can also lead to persistent headaches, which in some serious conditions can get worse and turn into migraines.
6. Birth Defects Or Infertility
Studies show that the use of these harmful sweeteners has also led to infertility or birth defects in men. They contain such ingredients, which slow down the male reproductive system.
7. Alzheimer’s Disease
Experts have proven that excessive use of artificial sweeteners can also result in Alzheimer’s disease. In other words, people who use ample amounts of artificial sweeteners can suffer from memory loss.
The goal of artificial sweeteners is to match the taste of sugar without imparting calories was said to have the best intentions in mind. Unfortunately, the unforeseen health risks attached to artificial sweeteners outweigh any reasons you may have for consuming them, so start to kick this bad habit by trading in your artificial sweeteners for all natural sweeteners.
A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!