Artificial sweeteners – weight loss benefits or scam

Artificial sweeteners – weight loss benefits or scam

Article by Marua Dimitrova

By Maria Dimitrova

Read this if: You consume artificial sweeteners or you are considering them as a weight loss option

Gain: Knowledge that might save your health

Once you''ve tasted the countless sweet desserts like ice cream, brownies, jams, cheese cake, etc, it''s very difficult to resist them. Often eating such sweet foods is the easiest and most affordable way to feel pure pleasure at least for a few minutes every day. But the price you pay for this pleasure is too high. It''s well-known that consuming too much sugar causes obesity. Being overweight isn''t fun and makes people feel sad and frustrated. They need a quick fix of the mood which again comes in the form of desserts. But after that the feeling of guilt sets in. It''s a vicious circle.

Not cutting down on desserts but cutting down on calories seems too good to be true. Manufacturers of artificial sweeteners claim that it''s possible. Thousands of "diet" products are made with these relatively new products. But can we be sure they are safe?

There are a lot of controversies concerning artificial sweeteners. Some sources cite studies which show that they present no harm to humans whereas other sources show considerably worrying results. How can we know which sources are reliable and unbiased when financial interests are involved?

As the issue hasn''t been cleared up yet, people are left to their own assessment as to who to trust. Unfortunately, those who are addicted to sweets are much more vulnerable to scams. In fact, they are eager to believe whatever supports their unhealthy habits. Not many consumers of artificial sweeteners know how they are made or what their side effects are.

Let''s take a look at the results of some studies which warn against the use of artificial sweeteners.

Possible dangers of consuming artificial sweeteners

Sacharin (Sweet and Low, Sweet Twin, Sweet''N Low, and Necta Sweet)According to a report written in 1997 by the Center for the Science in Public Interest (CSPI) in response to the National Toxicology Program (NTP) removing saccharin from the list of potential carcinogens: " we urge the NTP on the basis of currently available data to conclude that saccharin is ''reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen'' because there is ''sufficient'' evidence of carcinogenicity in animals (multiple sites in rats and mice) and ''limited'' or ''sufficient'' evidence of carcinogenicity in humans ( bladder cancer) and not to delist saccharin, at least until a great deal of further research is conducted."

Another possible danger of saccharin is the possibility of allergic reactions - headaches, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhea.

Aspartame (Nutrasweet, Equal, Sugar Twin)H.J. Roberts, MD, coined the term "aspartame disease" in a book filled with over 1,000 pages of information about the negative health consequences of ingesting aspartame. Dr. Roberts reports that by 1998, aspartame products were the cause of 80% of complaints to the FDA about food additives. Some of these symptoms include headache, dizziness, change in mood, vomiting, cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss and fatigue. Along with these symptoms, links to aspartame are made for fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in legs, cramps, tinnitus, joint pain, unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and various cancers.

Fast Tube by CasperSplenda (sucralose)According to an article published in "Women to Women," titled "Sugar Substitutes and the Potential Danger of Splenda" by Marcelle Pick, OBG/GYN NP, the structure of the sucralose ( Splenda) molecule resembles a pesticide more than sugar. This chemical is linked to MS, lupus and fibromyalgia and joint pain.

Fast Tube by CasperAcesulfame K (acesulfame potassium, Ace-K, or Sunett)Acesulfame K contains the carcinogen methylene chloride. Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances, and cancer in humans.

NeotameNeotame is chemically related to aspartame without the phenylalanine dangers for individuals with PKU. The chemical similarity that it has to aspartame may mean that it can cause the same problems

Why are they FDA approved?

In the United States, sweeteners fall under the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list or as food additives under the 1958 Food Additives Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. According to the FDA, "Regardless of whether the use of a substance is a food additive use or is GRAS, there must be evidence that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use. FDA has defined "safe" as a reasonable certainty in the minds of competent scientists that the substance is not harmful under its intended conditions of use. The specific data and information that demonstrate safety depend on the characteristics of the substance, the estimated dietary intake, and the population that will consume the substance."

This means that FDA has approved these artificial sweeteners as safe on condition that acceptable daily intake (ADI)is observed. The ADI is the amount of food additive that can be consumed daily over a lifetime without appreciable health risk to a person on the basis of all the known facts at the time of the evaluation.

For example, ADI for saccharin is 5 mg/kg of body weight. To determine your ADI, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and then multiply it by 5. If you weighed 180 lbs., your weight in kg would be 82 (180 divided by 2.2) and your ADI for saccharin would be 410 mg (5 x 82).

ADI for aspartame at 50 mg/kg of body weight, for sucralose - 5 mg/kg of body weight/day, for Acesulfame K - 15 mg/kg of body weight/day and for Neotame - 18 mg/kg of body weight/day.

But how many people do you know who have calculated the acceptable amount for them and keep a watch on their intake? Consumers might not be even aware of the presence of these sweeteners in various products they buy. Aspartame alone can be found in more than 6,000 foods!

What happens when you exceed the acceptable amount for your body?

Here is one personal experience with the consumption of artificial sweeteners:

"I explained this to my parents, who used to add Splenda to their coffee every morning, and (thank god!) they stopped. I spoke with them again about 2 or 3 weeks later and my dad couldn''t believe it. He was seeing better, feeling better, and no longer had pain in his kidney area-he explained to me that he had felt like he had a constant kidney infection for quite some time-and his pain was gone! My mom also told me, although I didn''t really want to know this, that my dad would have needed to start taking a certain blue pill, if you catch my drift, if things hadn''t changed." , Phyllis K Twombly

The main advantage of artificial sweeteners is considered the reduced calories intake. But do they really lead to weight loss? Some evidence shows just the opposite.

Artificial sweeteners and weight loss

Have you ever thought about that - if diet soft drinks and sugar-free foods are readily available, why are so many people still overweight? A recent study answers this reasonable question. Professors in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University found that artificial sweeteners may interfere with the body''s natural ability to "count" calories. Our bodies'' ability to match how many calories we need with how many calories we take in is partially based on how sweet a food is. The sweeter and denser it is, the higher it is in calories. Our bodies use this as a gauge to tell us when to stop eating.

Artificial sweeteners, however, confuse our body. By eating and drinking foods and beverages that use artificial sweeteners (and therefore have lower calories), we may be retraining our bodies to no longer associate sweetness with higher calories. That means that when we eat or drink foods sweetened wit

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