Artificial vs. Natural Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners, common in many diet programs, do a lot more harm than good. Popular sweeteners such as Splenda, Equal, and others, may be calorie-free, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy for the human body in any way.

Aspartame, a common sweetener, is made up of three chemicals. Once ingested, these three chemicals heat up and turn into toxic substances. These now toxic substances have been linked to production of neurotoxins, and even some cancers. Clearly this is an undesirable effect.

Other popular sweeteners are saccharin and phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is found in many artificially flavored and sweetened foods and drinks, and when high levels are ingested, it interferes with the body’s natural production of serotonin, which is a hormone responsible for mood, hunger, and other functions.

As a result, ingestion of these sweeteners can cause drastic carbohydrate cravings, and low serotonin can increase the body’s desire for carb intake. This is a great way to derail a diet and cause compulsive eating, instead of controlled food intake.

According to one study done at the University of Texas, the risk of obesity increased 41 percent for every can of diet soda consumed. This is bad news for dieters, as diet soda is a staple in the diet of many people, people who are misled to believe it is somehow healthier for you.

Ideally, you want to remove all artificial sweeteners from your diet if possible, or at least as many as possible. There are other options that not toxic for the body that serve the same purpose of lowering sugar intake,

Xylitol is an FDA-approved natural sweetener, also called birch sugar, and it is classified as a sugar alcohol. With a score of 7 out of 100 on the glycemic index, which is a scale that measures how quickly blood sugar levels elevate in response to food, this is a great option for dieters. When blood sugar is elevated, this is shortly followed by blood sugar crashes, which can cause hunger, mood swings, decreased energy, and other undesirable side effects.

Besides Xylitol, there are other natural sweeteners such stevia, a South American herb, Lo Han, and honey, especially the one taken from bumble bee. These bees are in danger due to climatic and human reasons, despite the dire need of their benefits. See here if you want to know about how to Help Save The Bumble Bee. Stevia, it is very common and readily available in most grocery stores, and as a natural, plant-based sweetener, it is an excellent alternative to the chemically formulated aspartame and saccharin.

If you can make the switch from artificial to natural sweeteners, which should be very easy to do considering natural alternatives are so common and easily available, it will be hard to go back. Your taste buds won’t like the bitter aftertaste left by the chemicals in artificial sweeteners, and your body will thank you as your overall health improves. Eliminate those artificial sweeteners and start feeling better.

For my weight loss clients I find it best to avoid both natural and artificial sweeterns altogether as I find that the constant taste of sweet substances tend to keep cravings around and make it harder to follow the diet in the long run.

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