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Top 10 Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

What’s the truth about common artificial sweeteners other sugar substitutes? Are there lurking dangers beneath the surface? Here’s a closer look.

Top 10 Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

During these trying times, everyone is concerned about their health. Some people even take things too far. It may seem bizarre, and there are many trends today to help you stay fit and healthy. But, one thing noticeable is how people avoid sugar at all costs, which for some, can be challenging.

People have been taking the alternate route and use artificial sweeteners in place of regular sugar. It is practical and saves time and effort but is it worth it? Why would people not just eat fruits or use honey, right? There is a debate going around about whether artificial sweeteners are good or bad for your health. Switching to artificial sweeteners can indeed lower your calorie intake and can also fight against diseases like diabetes. But, since artificial sweeteners are, well, artificial, they are not entirely adequate for the body.

So with everything going on with sugar, what sugar should we avoid, and what sugar is healthy to consume? This article will discuss the dangers of artificial sweeteners and their effect on your overall health.

10. Artificial Sweeteners are Synthetic

Artificial sweeteners packet collection
Artificial sweeteners packet collection

When we say artificial, something created to mimic one thing, but it is not the same. Just like artificial sweeteners, it mimics the sweetness of sugar. Still, they do not have the other natural qualities of sugar. Artificial sweeteners are dangerous because of their synthetic substances that are not advisable to consume. Some of these substances cannot digest in our bodies, and it will remain inside our bodies for a long time.

Also, if we think about it, we only eat and drink food and beverages that are natural to digest them properly. We do not intake anything synthetic unless it is a medication needed for treatment. But, in most cases, we tend to get all-natural products, so there is less damage to our bodies. So why intake something synthetic that can potential do more harm than good to our bodies?

9. Some Artificial Sweeteners are not Safe

Sweeteners versus sugars. Which ones is best for you?
Sweeteners versus sugars. Which one is best for you?

Although there are studies that claim that artificial sweeteners have benefits, there are still harmful side effects when intaking artificial sweeteners. Rocio Salas-Whalen, the founder of New York Endocrinology, claims that artificial sweeteners reach the blood-brain barrier and disrupt hippocampal function. With this, the sensitivity to the interceptive signal can change. Artificial sweeteners promote food intake that could be out of control.

For over two centuries, synthetic sweeteners were banned by the FDA because of the damages it can do to one’s body. Even a small amount can lead to health problems and long-term illnesses or diseases. It can even affect the brain, which is one of the essential organs of the body.

It may seem that you are controlling your sugar intake by using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar. Still, if the sweetener intake is not controlled and monitored, you could be intaking high sugar levels due to this. So, instead of losing weight or lowering down sugar levels, you could gain more unconsciously.

If you’re looking for an approved FDA Artificial Sweeteners List, click here or scroll to the bottom.

8. Artificial Sweeteners Can Mess Up Your Taste Buds

Adding artificial sweeteners to a drink
Adding artificial sweeteners to a drink

Unlike natural sweeteners that have normal levels of sweetness, artificial sweeteners have high amounts of sweet tastes. To add to that, they are synthetic, which can harm your taste buds. Artificial sweeteners can mess up your taste buds and adjust them to be accustomed to high levels of sweetness. Fruits will have a bland taste, and even vegetables could taste different. Then, you’ll want to eat more to satisfy your cravings. This claim has been backed up by Tanya Freirich, MD, RD, CDN, CDE nutritionist for Sweet Nova Compay, specializing in all-natural food.

Although we want to be healthier, we can do more damage than we tend to, even if we do not know this consciously. And with a shattered taste bud, your sense of taste could slowly decline, and the enjoyment you once find when you eat or drink could no longer be possible.

You can use other alternatives rather than using artificial sweeteners on your food and drinks every day. There is no problem if used occasionally, but long-term use can damage your taste buds permanently, and it will be hard to reverse the damage done. It is better to be careful than to be sorry.

7. Artificial Sweeteners Can Lead to Diabetes

Doctor checking a patient pulse and a diabetes check
Doctor checking a patient pulse and a diabetes check

When taste buds are used to the sweet taste of artificial sweeteners, the taste of the natural sweetness of food will bland, causing you will opt for high sweetness levels in food. Instead of controlling your consumption of sugar, you’ll end up consuming more.

You might go back to natural sweeteners and add more than the required amount because your taste buds are unfamiliar with it now. Some studies show that artificial sweeteners affect gut microbiota, leading to obesity and then diabetes. This study has been published in the 2014 journal “Nature“.

If you think about it, artificial sweeteners were made to cater to diabetic people. We all have tasted the sweeter things in life, and it is hard just to cut off sugar or the taste of sweetness in a day. This was developed for people who have diabetes to control their sugar intake, but there is a dark side to this as well, and it can be life-threatening.

Instead of being healthier, you risk your body ad, even your life, because of artificial sweeteners. You might not be able to tell that your health is going downhill. And you will be surprised to know that your health is affected by the thing you use to make it better, and it’s a total irony.

6. Artificial Sweeteners Lower Metabolism

Artificial sweetener packets in a jar
Artificial sweetener packets in a jar

When you are consuming natural sugars help in balancing insulin and glucagon levels in the body. With this, metabolism is stabilized, and you can digest your food properly. Using artificial sweeteners can offset the balance of insulin and glucagon in your body, making you feel hungry faster. Your food intake will double, leading to weight gain and illnesses that come with gaining weight.

Since it is synthetic, your body does not recognize the substances that enter your gut. Then your body won’t understand how to digest artificial sweeteners. This means that it will stay in your gut and affect your metabolism. Since the goal of using artificial sweeteners is supposed to be maintaining a healthy weight even when consuming sweet food and beverages. But, instead of that, you are unconsciously consuming more sugar because of the effect artificial sweeteners have on your body.

5. Artificial Sweeteners are Neurotoxic

A man with head pains
A man with head pains

A lot of studies show that artificial sweeteners are safe, and the FDA backs it up. But, if you research closely, only a few artificial sweeteners are deemed okay to consume. Most of the artificial sweeteners are neurotoxic, which means they can damage the brain. Since they are synthetic, they cannot be easily digested by the body. When the substance is in the body too long, they travel to the brain, attack the neurons, and damage the cerebellum.

The cerebellum controls the function of the spinal cord and other parts of the brain that controls movement. If affected, you could lose your senses and movement, and it could become a lie threatening occurrence. Even if your main goal is to be healthier by using artificial sweeteners, you could potentially be ingesting dangerous substances that can have life-altering effects.

Instead of bettering yourself, you could develop neurological issues that will ultimately affect your life and activities. Yes, it might seem like it’s impossible that a little dose of artificial sweetener can do this much damage, but if you take more and more, then this can be possible.

4. Artificial Sweeteners can cause Gastrointestinal issues

A woman suffering from stomach bloating
A woman suffering from stomach bloating

Consuming artificial sweeteners can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), accompanied by bloating and pain. Also, your body will lose the tendency to absorb the nutrients from the food you are eating. It will also affect the immune system because of the lack of vitamins and minerals. You could be at risk for chronic inflammatory diseases. This study was published in PLoS One.

This study was observed through mice in science laboratories. Human subject are not yet possible but is needed so the study can be replicated and proven. Even with a little research about this, scientists have warned people about using too many artificial sweeteners regularly and the health risks it comes with.

Stevia May Cause Microbial Imbalance

Although Stevia is approved and recommended safe for use by the FDA, a new study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers suggests that Stevia may lead to a gut microbial imbalance which can cause a variety of gastrointestinal health issues.

3. Artificial Sweeteners still contain Calories

Pouring sweeteners into coffee
Pouring sweeteners into coffee

Prompting to use artificial sweeteners rather than natural sugar makes one think they do not have any calories. An example of this is Aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that contains calories and is 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. It also contains higher amounts of calories, but consumers only use a tiny amount of Aspartame, says Farzaneh Daghigh, PhD from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

But, Aspartame is way cheaper than buying vegan or organic products to help with the flavor of sweetness. That is the main reason why artificial sweeteners have been in demand for years now. But, since one of the qualities of artificial sweeteners is to mess up your taste buds, slowly, you will lose your sense of taste, and you will more likely add sweeteners over time. And this could be dangerous, mostly if you are avoiding too much calorie intake.

2. Artificial Sweeteners are Dangerous to Fetuses

Pregnant woman concerned about her baby
A pregnant woman concerned about her baby

Artificial sweeteners can have a damaging impact on the growth and development of a fetus if consumed by the mother. Since it is synthetic and its effects on adults are alarming, what more can it do on fetuses? These artificial sweeteners can stay inside the gut for long periods and lead to gastrointestinal issues, which are with adults.

For fetuses, this can be life-threatening when consumed because they do not have the means to heal and protect themselves. This can lead to complications once they are delivered, illness, or miscarriage if not stopped. Today, though, pregnant women can consume artificial sweeteners in moderation and only with the doctor’s advice. It is still better to be conscious of what you put inside your body because there is a fragile little human growing inside you. Something synthetic can cause unexpected problems in the future.

1. Artificial Sweeteners are Risky to Children

Mother concerned over her daugther
Mother concerned over her daughter

Children do not have fully developed organs and immune systems, so that anything can affect them quickly. Artificial sweeteners are strong and synthetic, and it has unwanted effects on adults. If children consume this, they can likely suffer from more illnesses if not prevented. It is risky to give a child artificial sweeteners even if you only have good intentions from the start.

Even if a child has diabetes, there are still better options than replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners. Your child must consume only safe food to eat, and if the flavor is the problem, some recipes could help you control their sugar intake and still give them delicious meals every day.

If your gut couldn’t handle something, your child or children could not take it as well. If there are harmful side effects on you, there will be bad side effects on your children. Even if you want to control a child’s sugar intake, there are far better ways you can try rather than substituting sugar for artificial sweeteners.

Artificial Sweeteners List Approved by the FDA

  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Neotame
  • Saccharin
  • Sucralose
  • Stevia
  • Monk Fruit Extract
  • Advantame

These artificial sweeteners are the most commonly found in America. These are safe, and FDA approved, and as you might notice, some come from plants. Find these names on your artificial sweeteners so that you know you are consuming a healthier version of artificial sweeteners.

Conclusion

Several Equal Sweeteners on a store display
Several Equal Sweeteners on a store display

You might notice that the ten dangers of artificial sweeteners mentioned above have a link to each other, and that is true. If a part of your body is affected, chances are your whole body will be affected. It might seem like a “not so big of a deal.” Still, studies have proven again and again how artificial sweeteners affect your body over time.

There are health benefits and health risks of using artificial sweeteners. Although artificial sweeteners were banned for almost two centuries, today, the FDA has approved that some artificial sweeteners available in the market are okay to use. And, with a lot of people looking for alternatives to get healthier, it’s about time that artificial sweeteners resurface.

But, since artificial sweeteners are synthetic, they can have severe damages to your overall health, primarily when you use them all the time. It is better to use artificial sweeteners moderately and only to some extent. There are great natural sweeteners that are not high in calories and are better than using artificial ones. Raw, organic, or synthetic, remember that everything in excess is dangerous, so keep things in moderation to avoid any future complications that will only worsen your health even if you mean to make yourself healthier.

What Do You Think?

What’s your opinion about the dangers of artificial sweeteners? Are there any that’s not on this list? What’s your experience with artificial sweeteners? Please comment below and start the conversation.

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