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Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

on May 8, 2017 in Cancer prevention, Nutrition

Anywhere from 5 times to 50 times sweeter than natural sources of sugar, artificial sweeteners have been marketed as a great alternative to sugary drinks and snacks. Thought to be safe and effective for people who needed to lose weight or suffer from diabetes, much of the early research regarding artificial sweeteners seemed to validate their safety.

However, now decades and a host of independently funded studies later (instead of funded by the companies that had the most to gain by using artificial sweeteners), a clearer picture of their safety, or lack of it, seems to be emerging.

Ninety two percent of independent studies on Sucralose™ and aspartame point to troubling adverse effects on health.  Artificial sweeteners have been linked to higher incidents of stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pre-term birth, depression, and obesity.  Possible links are indicated for some types of cancer, liver disease, kidney disease and dementia as well.

Once considered a great alternate for diabetics, artificial sweeteners have been documented to increase insulin and blood sugar levels. In fact, one can of diet soda increases blood sugars and insulin 20% higher than drinking the same amount of regular soda.

Diet beverages didn’t fare well for those trying to lose weight either. Apparently artificially sweetened drinks and foods alter carbohydrate metabolism in such a way as to increase appetite. “On average, those who drink diet sodas eat 88 to 150 more calories a day compared to those who don’t.  Even more troubling is the fact that people drinking diet beverages gained weight even when researchers corrected their diets so there was no increase in calorie consumption.

Most artificial sweeteners are not absorbed by our body. Instead they travel down through the colon and are digested by the bacteria in our gut.  The fact that these substances are not absorbed was one of the main reasons artificial sweeteners were once considered safe. Ironically, it now appears that is the reason they are so detrimental.  As little as one can of soda can significantly alter the type of bacteria that thrive in your digestive tract.  Good bacteria help regulate hormones, moods, vitamin and mineral absorption, weight regulation, and so much more.  Unfortunately, there is bacteria in our gut that if we have too much of, can cause serious disease. Artificial sweeteners like apsartame and Sucralose can very quickly cause the harmful bacteria in your gut to proliferate and cause a decrease in the healthy bacteria.  

One positive discovery from the research is our GI tracts are resilient and can recover normal bacteria population within a few weeks of avoiding artificial sweeteners.

Our advice… avoid all processed foods and beverages. Eat real foods. Choose real sugars instead of artificial ones, and only eat those occasionally.”

Here are some facts to ponder…

  • In a study of 263,925 adults aged 51-70, individuals who drank soda were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with depression over a period of 10 years.
  • The links of depression are stronger in diet soda drinkers than regular soda drinkers when consumption levels are measured.
  • In a study of 59,334 pregnant women in Denmark, 1 serving per day of diet drinks was associated with a 38% increased risk of preterm delivery.
  • 4 servings of a diet soda per day increased the chances of an early delivery by 78%.
  • In a study of 6,814 individuals aged 45-85, the daily consumption of diet soda was associated with a 67% increased risk of type II diabetes.
  • Women who consumed the most diet drinks had a 121% greater risk of developing type II diabetes in a 14 year French study.
  • Each daily serving increased the risk of a diabetes diagnosis by 6% in women, but there has been no observable difference in the development of diabetes in men.