Most Americans are confused when it comes to dieting. I say this because, how many times have you pulled up to a fast food drive thru window to order the worst items on the menu and wash it down with a diet drink? Diet sodas contain more sugar than a regular can of soda and can increase your risk of diabetes. French researchers have found that you could increase your risk of Type 2 diabetes by 33%. 33%. That’s a big number! So, I am going to discuss the most common artificial sugars with you so you can understand what the risks are.
Artificial is defined as: made by human skill; produced by humans (opposed to natural). So why would you want to put something that is man made into your body? That is a question that we would all like to figure out!
The 3 most used artificial sugars are: Saccharin, Aspartame, and Sucralose
Saccharin, also known as Sweet n Low, is the safest of the three. Saccharin is used in common foods that we may use on a daily basis like baked goods, jams, gum, canned fruit, candy, dessert toppings, and salad dressings. The BAD things are:
- there are side effects for individuals who are allergic to sulfa
- it is a man made sugar
Aspartame is known as Nutra Sweet and Equal. It is found in 6000 foods (WOW! 6000, I learned something new). It does provide calories but it is 160-220 times sweeter than sucrose. As you know, sucrose is just table sugar. Here are some examples of how much aspartame is in some products:
- 12 oz. of diet soda: up to 225 mg
- 8 oz drink from powder: up to 100 mg
- 8 oz yogurt: 80 mg
- 3/4 of sweetened cereal: 32 mg
- 1 packet of equal: 22 mg
The FDA has set the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for aspartame at 50 mg/kg of body weight. To determine your ADI, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and then multiply it by 50. The side effects of aspartame that have been reported are:
- Change of mood
- Depression (must avoid aspartame if dealing with depression)
- Increased hunger
Sucralose is still one of the fairly newest sweeteners, known as Splenda on the market, and is 600 times sweeter than sucrose. It has no calories and it is not absorbed into our bodies like sugar. Sucralose was discovered while trying to create an insecticide. Here is a little science background for you: Sucralose is made when sugar is treated with trityl chloride, acetic anhydride, hydrogen chlorine, thionyl chloride, and methanol in the presence of dimethylformamide…In other words it is MAN MADE, this is why it doesn’t fully absorb into your body. The most dangerous part of sucralose is Chlorine. YES, Chlorine. Some of the reported side effects of Sucralose are:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Skin irritation
- Runny nose
- Chest pains
- Mood Swings
- Itchy Eyes
No long term studies on the effects of Sucralose on the body have been done. Splenda doesn’t digest well in our bodies, and it does cause stomach cramping depending on how much you eat. Therefore, I don’t recommend using Splenda. Check out: J Steven’s website here for more information.
If you’re going to use sugar then go ahead and use it. Save yourself some trouble in the long run. I try my best to avoid artificial sugars as much as possible. After finding out the dangers of consuming these types of sugars, I don’t want to use them. Tip: If you’re at a gym and you purchase one of those Ready-To-Drink protein shakes out of the coolers, I can promise you that there is an artificial sugar in them!
Start becoming aware of the ingredients in the foods you purchase and in the foods that you eat. You only get one body so take good care of it, and it will return the favor 100 times over.