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Zero Calorie Sweeteners: No Bueno Say the Experts

Once again, non-nutritive or “artificial” sweeteners are making the news. New evidence shows that negative biochemical changes occur in the body in response to these low-calorie sugar substitutes. 1

We already know that sugar has detrimental effects on our blood sugar, insulin, and waistline. It is now well known that the consumption of sweets should be reduced and kept to a minimum. Later came these nifty no-calorie sweeteners that promised a similar taste without all the unhealthy side effects. While they were initially thought to be safe and FDA approved, research for some time has suggested that they are not as benign as advertised. Now we have even more evidence that they do more harm than good.

In this new study, the researchers took several groups of rats and fed them either diets high in glucose, fructose, or artificial sweeteners (aspartame or acesulfame potassium). Acesulfame is sold in stores at Sunnett or Sweet One, and aspartame is sold as Equal or NutraSweet. Both are currently FDA-approved artificial sweeteners.

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Within three weeks, the researchers found discernible differences between the groups per blood sample taken. They found that the artificial sweeteners seemed to change the way their bodies processed fat and energy overall. They also noticed that acesulfame potassium accumulated in the blood and had a negative impact on the cells lining blood vessels.

bottom line? Don’t think that switching to artificial sweeteners is the solution. For one, how many skinny people do you see walking around drinking diet soda all day? They don’t seem to be working. This study helps us understand why. Also, continued drinking of sweetened beverages impedes one’s ability to adjust to less sweetened beverages and foods. It keeps sweet cravings active and doesn’t solve the cravings problem. In fact, it can make things worse by triggering an insulin response, but if actual sugar doesn’t get into the body, you end up with lower blood sugar and a “crash,” so to speak. The addiction cycle continues.

The article ends with an attempt to answer the question, which is better? Sugar or artificial sweeteners? How about neither? My advice is to avoid sweet-tasting drinks altogether and switch to plain old water, just as nature intended.

But you hate water you say? If that’s you, consider some simple flavors like lemon, lime, or other fruits infused into your H20. Maybe dilute a favorite beverage half and half and keep increasing the amount of water until you desire the sweet taste less and less. Sip soda and lime if fizzy is your thing. There are ways to make better choices to keep those harmful chemicals off your body forever.

If weight loss, blood sugar control, and heart health are your goals, artificial sweeteners need to go. Period.

1.

Thanks to Danielle VenHuizen

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