What is an artificial sweetener?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes.”
There are five artificial sweeteners which are approved by the FDA:
- Aspartame, sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal.
- Saccharin, sold under the brand name Sweet’N Low.
- Sucralose, sold under the brand name Splenda.
- Acesulfame K (or acesulfame potassium) widely used in foods, beverages and pharmaceutical products around the world.
- Neotame, produced by the NutraSweet Company; the most recent addition to FDA’s list of approved artificial sweeteners, neotame is used in diet soft drinks and low-calorie foods.
Why are they in our foods?
They are placed into our food because they are 160 to 13,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, and have little to no calories, therefore, in this diet crazed-calorie counting world-they are loved!
What are the Health Risks involved with them?
Some of the reported side effects are: Anxiety attacks, depression, changes in mood, changes in vision, sleep problems, changes in heart rates, abdominal cramps, hallucination, memory loss, nausea/vomiting, fatigue/weakness, rash/hives, joint pain, headaches, seizures and tremors.
The lists varies for each sweeteners…Fit Day will break down the top 4 worst ones for you, nicely.
Things to consider:
- Artificial sweeteners may cause weight gain
- Artificial sweeteners are addictive
- Artificial sweeteners may give you trouble in the bathroom
- Artificial sweeteners maybe linked to diabetes
Doctor Oz’s take on artificial sweeteners. I love his explanations because they are so concrete and he always gives his best advice!
What can we do?
We can read every label and seek out products without these artificial sweeteners. In 2008, aspartame was found in over 6,000 products in our grocery stores! Many contain artificial sweeteners without labeling it on the front, so we really have to read the label to find out. I have found that when a product says “reduced sugar” or “less sugar” they actually have one of these as a sugar substitute in order to reduce real sugar.
And of course using your voice to help change the industry by avoiding these sweeteners is a great step!
You can also get on board with petitions like these to help influence change as well!
Earlier in this series I posted Let me be your friend & let’s protect Children’s Health together!, Healthy Home-Cleaning Tips, Healthy Home-Safer Cleaning Products,Healthy Home-Air Quality in Your Home, Healthy Home-Detoxifying Your Food, and Healthy Home-Detoxifying Your Food Colors & Dyes.
Dr. Mercola. Artificial Sweeteners-More Dangerous than You Ever Imagined. (2009). Retrieved from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/10/13/artificial-sweeteners-more-dangerous-than-you-ever-imagined.aspx
FitDay. Top 4 Most Dangerous Artifical Sweenteners. (2013). Retrieved from: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/top-number-most-dangerous-artificial-sweeteners.html#b
Harvard HealthBeat, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. Are artificial sweeteners safe? (2005). Retrieved from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/HEALTHbeat_033005.htm#art1
Mayo Clinic. Artificial Sweeteners and other Sugar Substitutes. (2014). Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/artificial-sweeteners/art-20046936