Recently, I was asked to present at a local women’s group. I spoke about the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners, (specifically, why are artificial sweeteners bad for you) and the nutritional health issues they may cause for you and your children. Like so many other people, these women are interested in the Million Mom’s Movement and learning how they can protect their families from the processed “franken-foods” that are now such a big part of the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Quick Links to Your Real Health Solutions:
Core 3 – Your Daily Nutrient Source
Did you know that the daily allotment of sugar is not on most packages?
They were also confused by the growing variety of artificial sweeteners that seemed to be listed on every label…and often touted as the safest and best sweetener ever. Many wanted to understand more regarding the “side-effects” of artificial sweeteners and to know if they were better options than sugar.
Your daily maximum sugar allotment should not exceed 6 teaspoons which is the equivalent of 24 grams of sugar a day.
To start with, I was happy to hear that the majority of these women read labels. Whether you have food allergies to contend with or you just want to know what you are feeding yourself and your children, reading the labels is an important first step towards making healthy decisions about food.
Read the Label To Under Stand Why Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You
As a teacher and health coach, I am often asked questions that pertain to ingredients lists. For example: What are artificial sweeteners? Or why are artificial sweeteners bad for you? I use to say, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. However, I quickly found out that some things that the average person can’t easily pronounce are good for you…so I am changing that response!
At the suggestion of several participants, I am breaking these ingredients lists down by category so others can easily assess what these ingredients are and if they are safe for their family’s consumption. For example, here is a list of foods and “food like substances” that are considered sweeteners or artificial sweeteners.
This is a herbaceous vine belonging to the gourd family. It grows in Northern Thailand and southern China. As it is a native perennial, it is organically grown and cultivated. However, because the supply is controlled by the regional growing environment, it is also more expensive.
300 times sweeter than sugar and much lower in calories. This sweetener is found in some of the better organic, non-GMO processed foods, such as Purium’s Power Shake. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat diabetes and obesity.
Wikipedia note; Luo han guo has zero reports that it has been detrimental to someone’s health. No incidents!
The active compounds of stevia make it up to 150 times the sweetness of sugar. Because of its stability to heat and ph levels and doesn’t ferment, Stevia can be used in baking or cooking! The negligible effect on blood glucose makes stevia attractive to people on low carb diets. Some say stevia has too strong of a licorice flavor and alters the taste of other foods dramatically at higher temperatures. Because of this extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste if reduced at higher concentrations.
Sugar, Cane Syrup and Brown Sugar:
In reality, added sugar is the single worst “natural” ingredient in the modern diet. The harmful effects have recently been acknowledged by the American Diabetes Association and the American Medical Association.
Due to high level of simple sugar fructose, sugar also wreaks havoc on your metabolism. If consumed daily, it can raise cholesterol and triglycerides. Making your body insulin resistant, it also causes build up of fat in your liver and abdomen. Still sugar, brown sugar simply has molasses added back in to add flavor and give it color.
High fructose corn syrup
The evil twin sister of sugar, with similar disastrous results. Though it sounds healthy because it has the word corn involved, HFCS creates disastrous results to your health.
Usually created from genetically modified corn, not only does your body consider it a poison from the sugar stand point, it actually is created to be a pesticide!
Sugars also make your body more acidic, which is now being recognized as the precursor to auto-immune diseases and cancer. When it comes to eating sugar on a regular basis, just say NO!
Agave nectar (often called Agave syrup) is a very popular sweetener. Unfortunately, even though Agave is “natural” it is also high in fructose. This sweetener is touted as a healthy alternative to sugar because it has a low glycemic index. In the short term, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar, but when consumed daily or in high amounts (sweetened cereals, bars, sodas, etc.) agave can lead to insulin resistance. The long-term effect of Agave Nectar or syrup is likely to be elevated blood sugar and insulin levels. Agave is about 70-90% fructose, whereas sugar is 50%. Gram for gram, agave is actually worse than sugar.
Coconut Sugar and Palm Sugar:
Derived from the sap of the coconut plant, using a manufacturing method similar to making maple syrup. The process includes tapping the coconut plan and then evaporating the sugar water. Resulting in coconut sugar. Extraction processes for palm sugar are similar. Both of these have a lower glycemic index than sugar. But both still range around 35-45 % fructose. Because it has trace minerals and some fiber it is often touted as “healthier than sugar,” but that certainly does not make it healthy!
Honey is about 80% sugar by volume with some nutrients. Including antioxidants and trace amounts of minerals and vitamins. Most studies indicate that honey has less harmful effects on metabolism than sugar. But, again, that doesn’t necessarily make it “healthy” for daily consumption. If you’re healthy, moderate use of local, high quality honey is probably fine.
Definitely a better choice than plain sugar or high fructose corn syrup. However, if you are not healthy or need to lose weight, honey is not necessarily your friend. Eating local honey can reduce allergies to local pollen.
When we eat sugar of any kind, it will eventually end up in the intestine, be reduced to glucose and fructose. Eventually reaching the liver through the bloodstream. To your intestines, sugar is sugar and your liver does not know whether the sugar you eat is organic or not. It just tries to store or eliminate it.
Quick Links to Your Real Health Solutions:
Why Are Artificial Sweetners Bad For You – Artificial sweeteners:
In some countries (Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Norway) maltitol must be labeled with the warning.
“Consumption may have a laxative effect.”
In the United States, it has been labeled as GRAS or Generally Recognized As Safe. This label may or may not have a label warning that consumption of over 100 grams a day or approximately 1/3 cup is regarded as unsafe. Research has shown that mailtitol can be found in Medifast and Atkins products.
In 2010, the United States FDA labeled Sorbitol as a risk for intestinal necrosis. Especially when combined in the GI tract with potassium nitrate. Postassium Nitrate an ingredient frequently found in preserved meats and other long-shelf life foods. Consider this: potassium nitrate a key ingredient of fuel for amateur rockets and homemade bombs. No wonder that sorbitol aggravates irritable bowel syndrome. Also cuases severe stomach cramps. But, still legal for consumption, can we say, “show me the money”?
Low concentrations of xylitol are naturally found in the fibrous tissues of many fruits and vegetables. It can also be extracted from various other plants. Some include; mushrooms, oats, sugar cane, birch pulp and corn husks.
A study in rats found that xylitol had fewer side effects and tooth decay problems than other artificial sweeteners. But again, that doesn’t mean it is good for you. Just less bad.
Dr Lustig On Why Are Artificial Sweetners Bad For You – Really all added sweetners are bad
To sum up why are artificial sweeteners bad for you, avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. Want a bit of sweetness in your food? Try adding fruit or lo han guo. Need a more condensed flavor? Use small amounts of organic local honey. Dr. Robert Lustig, renowned endocrinologist from the University of San Francisco’s Medical Center says that one should try to get their sugar with fiber. In other words, eat fruit.
Why Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You
Read labels and understand that for most processed food manufacturers your health is not their concern. Their concern is getting you addicted to their brand of foods. Sugar and many of these artificial sweeteners are very addictive. Some companies, like David Sandoval’s Purium Company have the integrity to produce whole organic food products. These products do not contain harmful sugars or artificial sweeteners. As an admitted foodie, I can say that they taste great too!
Quick Links to Your Real Health Solutions:
Be Part Of The Solution When It Comes To: why are artificial sweeteners bad for you
I hope this helps you understand more about the question why are artificial sweeteners bad for you. Because they understand these nutrition basics fitness trainers, alternative health practitioners and the Million Moms Movement embrace organic, non-GMO food with NO artificial sweeteners. Not natural to our bodies, invaders in fact, adding chemicals and artificial sweetners causes a defense mechanism to kick in. Your body tries to encapsulate or flush these poisons. Overtime, by eating these “franken –foods” and artificial sweeteners you add additional stress on your body. Stress causes disease.