How Artificial Sweeteners Affect Your Body
It’s important to understand how artificial sweeteners affect your body. They have several undesirable effects, so let’s discuss what they are and what they do. Artificial sweeteners are additives to food and drinks that make them taste sweet without adding to the sugar or calorie content. From diet soda to protein bars, you can find these sweeteners in just about anything labeled “sugar free”, “diet” or even “low carb”.
For people who consume products with artificial sweeteners, what follows is important information to have and to take to heart. Let’s discuss five ways artificial sweeteners may affect you…some or all may surprise you.
Your Sense of Taste May Be Dulled
Have you noticed that your taste buds have changed, or the intensity of flavors has dulled over time? This could be the result of regular consumption of artificial sweeteners. Sometimes this happens because a great number of these sweeteners are really many times sweeter than naturally occurring sweeteners. Not exactly what you were expecting to read, is it?
You become accustomed to the sweeter taste of artificial processed sweeteners and over time, you being to lose the taste for naturally-occurring sugars. There is good news though! If you begin to reduce and or eliminate artificial sweeteners in your diet, your taste buds have the ability to return to normal.
They Can Boost Craving Intensity
One of the most dangerous effects caused by any sweeteners is that, like sugar, they have the ability to stimulate the pleasure centers in your brain. The end result is intense cravings for more sweet, and this drives people to overeat. That end result is contrary to what they had been trying to achieve by including the artificial sweeteners in their diets.
Gut Problems May Be in Your Future
Artificial sweeteners have been shown to have negative effects on your gut health. For example, even though we are told these sweeteners are considered safe, it is possible to develop glucose intolerance from the sweeteners. Glucose intolerance is a term used to describe a group of metabolic conditions that result in higher than normal blood glucose levels, and metabolic conditions are health issues such as high blood sugar, increasing blood pressure, belly fat and undesirable cholesterol levels. Artificial sweeteners can also add to digestive distress like stomach cramps, nausea, and other issues with your digestive system.
If you notice that you get a stomach ache when you drink a diet soda, it might be from the sweeteners used, as opposed to the other ingredients which, by the way, are also not good for you.
They Slow Down Your Metabolism
If you’re hitting the drive through and ordering a diet soda to offset the burger and fries, I don’t have good news for you. Artificial sweeteners actually slow down your metabolism which contributes to weight gain. I can’t stress enough how consistently you must protect yourself from our processed food supply by questioning the advertising hype and misleading information perpetuated by big food. If you have belly fat, that is signaling chronic disease in your future. It’s a good thing to eliminate artificial sweeteners from your diet along with processed foods.
They Can Affect Depression!
Having suffered from chronic depression for decades myself before changing how I eat “disappeared” it seven years ago, I am very careful not to expose myself to anything that will set it off again. I know from reading I have done and health care professionals with whom I have spoken, that just a few servings of artificial sweeteners can trigger a bout of depression. I won’t go near them!
Again, it’s important to understand how artificial sweeteners affect your body. Are these side effects worth the risks of using them? I like to encourage my clients to reduce their overall sugar intake, be it natural or artificial. A good sweetener to use when you do need one is xylitol. You need to be sure it does not come from China as they are importing a cheap imitation, and it needs to come from birch or hardwood trees, not from corn. It is the only sweetener that does not increase your glucose levels. One caution with xylitol is that it is extremely toxic to dogs, so if you share your home with a dog, be very careful he/she does not ingest xylitol.
I like xylitol because it tastes like sugar. I use it like sugar, both in tea and in baking.
How may I serve you in your quest for optimal mental and physical health?
Cheryl A Major
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information, live and online courses and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
Her new membership site, The Healthy Eating Club, is opening for members Thursday, August 15th! Join our community that supports its members in the quest for better health, both mental and physical through delicious, healthy eating!