Are Artificial Sweeteners Harmful to Your Health?
Sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners are found in numerous foods and drink products available today. These additives mimic the sweetness of sugar but without the added calories, making them a popular sugar substitute worldwide. The dilemma over these artificial sweeteners is, however, if they are really healthy for you, or actually harmful to your health?
Let’s take a look at the top artificial sweeteners on the market today to see the possible health dangers associated with their use.
This chemical artificial sweetener is found in NutraSweet, and Equal. An additive that has been around since the early 1980’s, and plagued with frequent controversy, the FDA claims low doses should not be a cause for concern, even though a multitude of medical concerns may be linked with its use. One of these health problems suggests a possible link to an increased accumulation of formaldehyde in the brain, which could lead to a traumatic effect on your central nervous system. Other frightening possibilities include brain tumors, epilepsy, migraines, dizziness, nausea, intestinal problems, MS, and lupus.
This additive is more frequently known by the name Splenda, which is significantly sweeter, about 600 times more than sugar. The molecules of sugar, known as sucrose are chemically altered by the use of chlorine, which is why many people question the safety of this additive. Possible concerns over the use of sucralose range from a toxic effect on the body from the use of chlorine, and the negative effect it may instill on the immune system. Even further trepidation of sucrose safety stems from the fact there are no long-term studies completed as of yet, to effectively determine any negative effects this sweetener could impact on an individual’s health.
Even sweeter than sucrose but more similar in nature to aspartame, these two artificial sweeteners both use the same amino acids in their manufacturing, phenylalanine, and aspartic acid. Although, the FDA has approved the use of neotame as being safe for consumer use, that doesn’t dispel some groups from debating the safety of this additive as still having potentially carcinogenic capabilities.
Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of a herb, native to the shrubs in South America, where people there have enjoyed this herb for centuries. Although, stevia struggled to gain FDA approval as a food additive, certain health concerns still remain for some people who wonder if long-term use of this sweetener may link to cancer, reproductive difficulties, or other hidden dangers.
Although artificial sweeteners may provide an alternative to sweeten up food and beverages without the added calories, following a healthy, nutritious diet, while limiting your intake of refined sugars may be the better alternative. This diet should include fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, and nuts.
The dilemma whether artificial sweeteners are harmful to your health, or not, will remain a controversy for many people, who simply opt to not include these additives in their food and drinks.