Once considered to be a helpful weight loss tool and an alternative to sugar for diabetics, the zero-calorie artificial sweetener has gone from the role of savior to devil. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved five artificial sweeteners: saccharin, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame, and sucralose. These artificial sweeteners are intended to save you the calories from sugar, but there’s growing evidence that there are numerous adverse effects.
As summarized on the Harvard School of Public Health website, the concern is that sweetness without calories is unnatural and may stimulate hormonal changes that encourage overeating. Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity and weight-loss specialist at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, says one concern is that people who use artificial sweeteners may replace the lost calories through other sources, possibly offsetting weight loss or health benefits.
There are also studies emerging that show how artificial sweeteners can trigger “sweet receptors” in the stomach that tell the body to produce insulin, even though there is no actual consumption of sugar. Replicating the body’s response to real sugar, these high insulin levels may promote fat storage and trigger unhealthy food cravings.
In a landmark study published in Nature in 2014, scientists showed that artificial sweeteners wreak havoc in the gut microbiome and lead to obesity, glucose intolerance, and diabetes. Another recent study has shown that replacing sugary drinks with artificially sweetened drinks does not reduce the risk for diabetes and other metabolic diseases, as originally intended.
There has been, and still is, ongoing controversy over the use of artificial sweeteners; however, there are certain indisputable facts. For example, 10 percent of aspartame is broken down into methanol, a known poison. Another fact is that sucralose is manufactured with chlorine. More negative side effects attributed to artificial sweeteners are reported to the FDA than any other types of additives.
Be vigilant and read ingredient listings to avoid artificial sweeteners. Eat food that is naturally sweet, like fruit and vegetables. Choose organic-based nutritional supplements. Nikken is here to help you create a win-win Active Wellness lifestyle!