For years now artificial sweeteners have been aggressively marketed to us as a "safe" alternative to sugar. Today, the marketing continues, but more and more people are finally realizing this may not be the truth. Although consuming copious amounts of sugar in your daily diet is clearly unhealthy, substituting it with artificial sweeteners may actually be worse.
Multiple studies have now confirmed that not only are artificial sweeteners unhealthy for you, they actually cause you to GAIN weight. They have always been billed as a healthy alternative because most often they cause the product to have zero calories. For you calorie counters out there, you may be wondering how zero calorie foods cause you to gain wait. Let me explain...
How Artificial Sweeteners Cause Weight Gain...
When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which activates your brain's reward center. The appetite-regulating hormone leptin is also released which will eventually let your brain know you are "full" once a certain amount of calories are consumed. Here is the problem, artificial sweeteners contain zero calories. Your brain's pleasure pathway still gets activated with the sweet taste, however doesn't shut off because the calories never arrive. Artificial sweeteners essentially "trick" your body into thinking it is going to receive sugar (calories). When the sugar doesn't come, your body will continuously send signals it needs more in the form of "carb cravings". This ultimately causes over-eating, and eventual weight gain. They have also been shown as a result of this hormone disruption to trick your body into storing fat.
Aspartame alone has been responsible for more reports to the FDA for adverse reactions than all other foods combined. The most common reactions include: headaches, mood changes, vision problems, change in heart rate, sleep problems, depression, nausea, diarrhea, hives, and memory loss just to name a few. Suffice to say, artificial sweeteners can effect your health in many ways. In my opinion, we are just understanding the tip of the iceberg in regards to how far reaching the ramifications can be of routinely putting these dangerous chemicals into our body.
What Should You Do?
First and foremost you should make it a priority to NEVER consume these products. You need to be careful however, they tend to be hidden in many things. Be skeptical of anything that is labeled "sugar free", most of the time this is a tell tale sign it contains artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners can go by many names, but the most common ones to look out for on labels are Aspartame ( NutraSweet), Saccharin, Sorbitol, Erythritol, and Sucralose.
Ideally consuming whole food whenever possible and minimizing your processed food consumption is the ideal target to aim for. If you must add a sweetener to food or drink, whole leaf Stevia is a healthy option. Lastly, as I mentioned in a previous blog, you will be amazed as time goes on how little you will crave sweet food, if you very rarely consume it. Your taste buds will change as time goes on, and so will your health.
And that brings us to a truth we believe in with everything we are at Bell Chiropractic.
You need to LIVE well, to BE well.
You can create that opportunity for yourself today, by leaving artificial sweeteners out of your diet.