Artificial sweeteners are the zero calorie sweet tooth satisfying staple of the diet market. But, do they live up to their reputation? Some of you have heard of the negative side effects and others have turned a deaf ear because being skinny has to be better than the alternatives.
There are several FDA approved artificial sweeteners. All of these are considered “safe” or are safe enough to be used in food but may have several cautions with them. (see my IG posts for this week) Those are sucralose, acesulfame, aspartame, neotame and saccharin. Stevia is considered a natural sweetener but much like our table sugar, it has to be highly processed to get to its granular or powder form to be used in food or drinks.
Many of these sweeteners are hundreds to thousands times sweeter than sugar causing the same response in your brain that sugar does. They do little (or nothing) to rewire your brain towards healthier eating habits and may actually make your sugar cravings stronger because of how intense their sweetness is.
Sugar alcohols carry similar effects and often cause stomach upset. Both sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners harm your gut bacteria and when gut bacteria are destroyed it can cause all sorts of inflammatory response in your body.
Did you know your body has an estimated 39 trillion bacterial cells and only 30 trillion human cells?
When you take antibiotics, drink too much alcohol, have too much stress, don’t have a diverse diet or eat/drink artificial sweeteners you destroy the bacteria in your gut that are an imperative part of your health. Seriously, go do an internet search on “role of gut microbiota” and see what you find. If you delve into the subject deep enough you’ll find the gut is connected to essentially every other body system.
Articles such as this one (https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx) make me excited to learn even more about the gut!
I used to eat artificial sweeteners on a fairly regular basis however I've now decided after doing my own research that I think about artificially sweetened food about the same I think of artificially sweet people. I prefer to be without.
(If I do have something "artificial", which is pretty rare, I stick with stevia like what's in the halo top ice cream pictured above.)