Are Sugar Substitutes Bad For You?

Sugar Substitutes

So we have to give up sugar but what about sugar substitutes?  A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweet taste like that of sugar while containing significantly less calories.   Some sugar substitutes are produced by nature, and others produced synthetically.  Here is the low down on popular sugar substitutes:

Aspartame:  Aspartame is by far the most dangerous sweeteners on the market today.   According to Dr Mercola, “Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious, including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as part of aspartame dangers are:

Headaches & migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain (yes gain), rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), vertigo, memory loss and joint pain.”

“According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia and diabetes”

“Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, by James and Phyllis Balch lists aspartame under the category of “chemical poison.”

It is used in diet pop and other diet beverages, gum, candy, yogurt, desserts, condiments, meal replacements, jello, ice cream, frozen fruit treats, hard candy and even in prescription medicines and over the counter medicines, to name just a few!  Stay far away from this sweetener!

Saccharin (sugar twin, sweet ‘n low) are found in those colorful little packages found on the tables in the restaurants and coffee shops, as well as in grocery stores.  It is 200-700 times sweeter than sugar.  There have been some studies with rats that suffered from bladder cancer when consuming saccharin. Although this has not appeared in human studies, the concern is still there. If something causes cancer in rats, long-term effects on humans are a serious issue.  Saccharin can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Commonly reported reactions to saccharin use in some individuals include headaches, diarrhea, skin issues and headaches.

Sodium Cyclamate  got a very bad name in the 1960s when tests showed the development of tumors in rodents if fed large quantities over a prolonged period. It was banned in the US in 1969 and has remained so ever since. However it is approved in almost every other country and is a popular sweetener today.   It is often mixed with other sweeteners like saccharin to make saccharin taste better.   Have you ever read the back of one of those colorful sweetener packages? It says “this product contains 35% sodium cyclamate.  Cyclamates should be used only on the advice of a physician”.  Why do you suppose they have that on the back?

Sugar alcohols commonly found in foods are sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol and isomalt.  Sugar alcohols come from plant products such as fruits and berries. The carbohydrate in these plant products is altered through a chemical process.  Most sugar alcohols have little to no effect on blood sugar and insulin levels, with the exception of maltitol.  Are they safe?   For the most part our bodies cannot digest them in the small bowel.  Common side effects of over consumption of these include gas and bloating and abdominal pain.  One of the reasons for this is because they draw water into the bowel.

Sucralose (Splenda) is a very popular sweetener, whether you buy it in the grocery store or in pre-packaged products.  Splenda (sucralose) is actually NOT sugar, despite its marketing slogan “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” Rather it’s a chlorinated artificial sweetener in line with aspartame and saccharin, and with proven negative health effects to match.  It was approved by the FDA in 1998 for use in products such as baked goods, beverages, gum, frozen dairy desserts, gelatins, candy etc.  It is allowed as a general purpose sweetener for all processed foods.   Studies show that sucralose reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50% and it increases the pH level in your intestines.  They also found evidence that sucralose is absorbed by fat.

Acesulfame Potassium (AKA Acesulfame K) is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. It is an agent that is also used as a propellant, de-greaser and paint stripper. Reported side effects of long-term exposure to methylene chloride can include nausea, headaches, mood problems, hypoglycemia, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer.

Stevia is not actually a sweetener, it’s an herb but this herb tastes 200+ times sweeter than sugar so it is used as a sweetener.  Studies on stevia for the most part have been quite safe however some processed stevia products in the supermarket have other ingredients added to it which are highly processed so if you want to use this herb, purchase it from a natural health food store and look for 100% stevia.

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