Bittersweet Truths: The Reality Behind Artificial vs. Natural Sweeteners
They come in many different packet colors (pastels like pink, blue, and yellow) and bear simple, appealing names like Sweet n’ Low, Nutrasweet, Splenda, and Equal. The companies guarantee that the product will taste as innocent as it looks, fulfilling its purpose of sweetening coffee, tea, or indulgent desserts while allowing the consumer the luxury of fewer calories or less fat. These are the same substances that many Americans put on a pedestal, while demonizing honey and raw sugar as diet destroyers.
What reality lies within the consumption of the artificial sweetener? Are they as innocent as their rectangular packets appear? Does your favorite artificial sweetener make the cut for acceptable foodstuff? Or are you simply poisoning yourself, blithely unaware of how your body takes it? How do you avoid toxic pretenders like these? Here are the answers to these questions and more on the reality behind the artificial and natural sweeteners.
Artificial Sweeteners: The Big Fat Lie
Many people find themselves fooled into thinking that losing weight is the same thing as being healthy, and will do so through whatever means that they can get their hands on. However, this is a grave misconception, and trusting labels reading ‘low-fat’ or ‘low-sugar’ does not necessarily mean the product is safe or even fit for human consumption. For example, most of your favorite brands of low-calorie sweetener contain one of two main ingredients: aspartame and Sucralose, along with a number of others.
One of the biggest misconceptions with artificial sweeteners is that it will help those individuals with extra pounds lose weight. In actuality, most studies have found that people who consume artificial sweeteners end up consuming more calories rather than less! Why? It has to do with the way that artificial sweeteners depress the natural function of two critical hormones: ghrelin and leptin.
Leptin levels rise as your body senses the caloric load entering during meals to tell the brain that you have had enough to eat and are full. Ghrelin is the opposite counterpart, it rises to tell your body it’s hungry and needs nourishment. Ghrelin levels fall as leptin levels rise.
When you consume artificial sweeteners in your foods, your brain “tastes” the sweetness, but does not sense the calorie load rising ( no calories to count), so ghrelin levels stay elevated and not enough leptin is released to signal to brain that you have had enough. Thus, you overeat. And keep eating. The very predictable result is weight gain as artificial sweeteners leave you more and more leptin resistant.
Aspartame – Artificial Sweetener
The body breaks aspartame down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol – which has toxicity in high amounts. Some side effects from prolonged exposure to aspartame include decreased vision and pain in the eye, impaired hearing, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, convulsions, and itching without a rash. This is just a fraction of the long list of effects that aspartame has on the body after prolonged ingestion. Here is the scary part: liquid aspartame has been shown to be even more addictive than crack cocaine. Coca Cola began dosing unsuspecting Diet Coke drinkers with aspartame in 1983 and the rest of the soda industry quickly followed, leaving millions of people addicted and sickened by cans of deliciously sweet liquid poison.
Sucralose – Artificial Sweetener
Sucralose, marketed under the name Splenda, is basically debased sucrose (sugar) with chlorine atoms added to it. This means that the same stuff you put in your pool to keep it clean is in one of America’s favorite sweeteners. A study performed on animals that ingested quantities of Sucralose showed that the intestines contained only half of their original amount of good bacteria. It has also been shown to raise the pH level and contribute to potential weight gain. Another potential negative factor is that Sucralose may also upset the levels of P-glycoprotein so that your body may reject your health-related prescription drugs.
Saccharin – Artificial Sweetener
Discovered in 1878, saccharin can cause allergic reactions in some people. A study from the 70s revealed that it contributed to the growth of bladder cancer in the laboratory rats used for the experiment. The potential effects that this artificial sweetener can cause include breathing problems, skin irritation, and headaches. This is due to the fact that saccharine is a compound from a category known as sulfonamides. An interesting side note, Monsanto’s first commercial product was saccharin, sold to the Coca-Cola company as an artificial sweetener.
Neotame – Artificial Sweetener
This sugar-pretending poison acts as a neurotoxin, excitotoxin, and as an immunotoxin with a stronger potency than aspartame. The body produces formaldehyde as a byproduct of metabolizing neotame. Formaldehyde has proven toxic with even the smallest amount of exposure to the living human systems.
Acesulfame Potassium – Artificial Sweetener
This carcinogenic potassium salt contains methylene chloride, with reported negative effects including: hypoglycemia, headaches, mood issues, and stronger potential for developing cancer. Even though this compound has been studied or experimented with the least, some early research exposed a link between the laboratory animals and cancerous growths. It may also be listed on labels as ACE K.
Natural Sweeteners – Nature’s choice
Now that we have unveiled the unhealthy reality behind artificial sweeteners, we can look at a sweeter subject. If you want to watch your health but enjoy blissful sweetness in your coffees and teas, we have a few suggestions that will honor your body and tickle your sweet tooth.
Honey – Natural Sweetener
While limited consumption is recommended for diabetics, raw, organic honey proves a healthier alternative than any of the artificial sweeteners that often poison our drinks and foods today. Honey can aid in the prevention of cancer, and its antimicrobial properties help eliminate harmful bacteria that might get caught up in your body. Some strains of honey can also contain probiotics – or friendly bacteria that enhance digestion!
Raw Sugar – Natural Sweetener
Raw sugar is packed with nourishing benefits, including nutrients and minerals that often get taken out of processed sugars and can be purchased organic. Some of the minerals you can find in raw, organic sugar include calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus, and each teaspoon contains only eleven calories. Be sure to only purchase organic, unbleached sugar as commercial refined sugars can contain high levels of pesticides and chlorine residues from the bleaching process. Raw sugar is not pure white!
Molasses – Natural Sweetener
Molasses contains calcium – one of the most common and necessary minerals in the human body. Thus, this syrupy sweet can help you maintain strong bone content, while helping your heart function correctly. Molasses is also a powerhouse of antioxidants, giving it cancer-prevention qualities. Its potassium content helps to get your enzymes on the go, which enhances muscle function. Choose unsulphured blackstrap molasses, or organic molasses for the best nutritional values. It has a naturally low glycemic index (low GI). It is also a rich source of iron, zinc, and critical trace minerals.
Agave Nectar – Natural Sweetener
As a low-glycemic substance, agave nectar plays gently with those suffering from diabetes or other blood-sugar dysfunctions. Plus, the intensity of its sweetness surpasses that of typical sugar, so you can use a little less and still get a pleasantly sweetened flavor. Agave, like honey, has antibacterial properties and saponins in its make-up that can boost the immune system.
Maple Syrup –Natural Sweetener
Maple syrup, a mineral powerhouse, might surprise you with its high content in manganese, zinc, and calcium. In fact, its content in these things is even richer than that of honey, sugar, or agave nectar. But make sure it is genuine maple syrup that you are purchasing – and not some viscous substance under the name ‘pancake syrup.’ Those kinds of syrups contain high fructose corn syrup. Get the real deal! Grade B, or even C if you can find it, are darker in color, richer tasting and contain better nutrient profiles.
Tasting the Truth
Now that you are aware of the reality behind the artificial innocence of sugar-free, calorie-free sweeteners, maybe you will switch to something that treats your body and your sweet tooth without diluting your immune system with poison, wreaking havoc on your hormones, or holding your body captive with the potential to cause cancer. Make a sweeter choice with one of the natural selections above.
We can attest to the benefits of natural sweeteners. In fact, we often use raw, organic honey in many of our products to make your skin experience a little sweeter by locking in some extra moisture and and protection. Some of our masks,hair conditioners,shampoos, and soapscontain honey as a main ingredient. For more information on our products that include honey, and what natural honey can do for your health, contact us.
We can also attest to the fact that, no matter what medical condition you may struggle with, any of the organic sweeteners from nature will prove more beneficial to your state of health than any of the artificial, chemically constructed creations that line the aisles of grocery stores like silent, motionless predators. So talk to your doctor about how to measure up your natural sweetener intake the healthy way, and ensure that you keep your blood sugar in check while indulging your desire for delectable deliciousness with honey, agave nectar, or even raw sugar. You do not have to eat blandly to experience the benefits of a healthy life style!