Possible Health Risks of Artificial Sugar Substitutes?

The average American ingest about 50 teaspoons of sugar per day which translates to about 158 lbs of sugar per year per person! That is a lot of sugar! The Center for Science in Public Interest (CSPI) released a report in 2004 stating that since 1983, our sugar consumption has risen by twenty eight percent(28%) inciting high obesity rates as well as other health problems. The American Heart Association (AHA) is urging consumers to cut back on sugar intake. The largest source of sugar in added to an American diet comes from:

  • Soft drinks - 33%
  • Sugars and Candy - 16%
  • Cookies and Pies - 12.9%
  • Fruit drinks - 9.7%
  • Daily desserts and milk products - 8.6%
  • other grains - 5.8%

More and more of the food items being sold in a typical American grocery store have added sugar in them. Why so much sugar? because sugar sells!

Our bodies crave sugar because sugar is transformed into glucose - our cell's main source of fuel. Glucose is used to sustain our brain and muscle functions and sugar supplies us with a quick burst of energy and pleasure. The effect however is temporary and we later experience a "crash" and we start to seek more sweets.

Sugar in itself is not the problem. We get in trouble when we consume too much of if. Most of the time, our bodies do not need all that energy so it is stored as fat acting like a reserve for later use. Sugar was and still is very rare in nature but with our advancements in technology, sugar is cheap, plentiful and readily available.

Sugar itself is not the problem. The problem is in the quantity of consumption. Over time, the body start to develop insulin resistance. However, we were willing to give up our sweets and this gave rise to artificial sweeteners.

Saccharin

Saccharin was the very first artificial sweetener. It was discovered in 1879 by Constantin Fahlberg while working on coal-tar derivatives. It was in extensive use during World War I and II when sugar was rationed. In the mid 70's, a study was released implicating saccharin as a possible contributor to cancer in rats. The FDA then tried to put a ban on the sale of saccharin but eventually failed.

Aspartame

Aspartame entered the market in 1981 and is the artificial sweetener of choice in diet soft drinks. When we eat or drink aspartame, it breaks down into aspartic acid (a chemical found in the brain), phenylalanine (amino acid) and methanol (alcohol) which in turn converts to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical and is classified by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen if exposed to it long-term. The FDA knows that aspartame ingestion can cause formaldehyde accumulation in the body but contends that the amount is too small to pose any health concern. Low to moderate amounts of artificial sweeteners is acceptable and should not pose any risk. Every body is different so how do you know what low to moderate intake is? What happens if you continue to eat food or drink liquids that contains aspartame everyday? in 1 week? in 1 month? in 1 year?

Sucralose

Sucralose, better known by its trade name Splenda, was marketed as "made from sugar" and it is now the best selling artificial sweetener in the United States. This statement actually caused an uproar and a lawsuit from the sugar association because Splenda is as close to sugar as windex is to water. Sucralose, the main ingredient in Splenda, was discovered by accident by 2 scientists who were trying to make a better pesticide. To make sucralose, chlorine is forced it into an unnatural chemical bond with a sucrose (sugar) molecule. The end result is a sweet product 600 times sweeter than sugar. This chemical bond however yields an "organochlorine" (chlorocarbon) which is lethal to all lifeforms making it perfect for pesticides - the original intent when it was discovered.

When sucralose is ingested, about 15% of the sucralose is absorbed by the body. A huge amount of chemicals is then needed to be added to the the sucralose to keep it from digesting (hopefully) in our bodies. These same toxic chemicals also hopefully prevent the chlorine molecules from detaching from the sugar molecule inside the digestive system. The problem with this is that if you have a very healthy gastrointestinal system, you might be at risk of absorbing those lethal chlorine molecules.

Artificial Sugar Substitutes - Is It Safe To Use?

The only sweetener banned by the FDA is cyclamate. Cycalmate however is still available in other countries such as Canada where it is in the Canadian version of Sweet n' Low. The FDA acknowledges that the chemicals in these sweeteners are potentially lethal but argue that they are in such small quantities that there is no risk for concern. General consensus seems to be using it in moderation will probably not pose any health risk but the problem is that if these things are everywhere and almost in everything, how can there be moderation?

No one wants to eat unsweetened food and for people who want or need to control their blood sugar due to diabetes, going with a sugar substitute is the only choice. Fortunately, not all sugar substitutes are artificial. Coconut sugar is an excellent sugar substitute! It's all natural, has a low glycemic index and tastes great. You can use is a direct 1:1 sugar substitute: use it in your coffee, tea, cooking and baking! Make the healthy choice and switch to coconut sugar today!

The information provided here is not meant to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure any disease. It is to be taken as suggestions or educational material and not to be considered professional advice.

The Author:

I specialize in promoting coconut sugar as a healthy sugar substitute. If you are interested to learn more about coconut sugar, be sure to check out http://www.sugarcoconut.com

Photo Credit: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com

 

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