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ARE ARTIFICIAL Sweeteners FAKE HEALTHY?

ARE ARTIFICIAL Sweeteners FAKE HEALTHY? By Katrina Welch Confession: I love ice cream. Yes, I know that sugary foods are not good for the body,yet this is my sweet tooth weakness. What’s yours? For years, it has been said that people need to reduce their sugar intake as it can be a catalyst for a myriad of health challenges such as obesity which is a leading cause of several

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ARE  ARTIFICIAL Sweeteners FAKE  HEALTHY?
IN 2014 HOWEVER, ANOTHER STUDY REVEALED A POSSIBLE LINK BETWEEN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE AND ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.

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By

Katrina Welch

Confession: I love ice cream. Yes, I know that sugary foods are not good for the body,yet this is my sweet tooth weakness. What’s yours?

For years, it has been said that people need to reduce their sugar intake as it can be a catalyst for a myriad of health challenges such as obesity which is a leading cause of several non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and even heart disease.

Despite being fully aware that excessive sugar consumption is not good for anyone’s health, it is easy

onfession: I love ice cream. Yes, I know that sugary foods are not good for the body, yet this is my sweet tooth weakness. What’s yours?

For years, it has been said that people need to reduce their sugar intake as it can be a catalyst for a myriad of health challenges such as obesity which is a leading cause of several non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancers, and even heart disease.

Despite being fully aware that excessive sugar consumption is not good for anyone’s health, it is easy

to fall prey to the lure of doughnuts, cakes, chocolates, candy, sweetened drinks and just about anything which gives that sugar high. Studies have shown that sugar is addictive and this makes it difficult to resist the temptation of our favourite sweet foods and drinks and eliminate them from our diets.

It is therefore no surprise that the food and beverage industry has sought to find a solution to the sugar problem. Instead of eliminating the sweet taste, why not substitute it?

Thus, many popular drinks, juices and

to fall prey to the lure of doughnuts, cakes, chocolates, candy, sweetened drinks and just about anything which gives that sugar high. Studies have shown that sugar is addictive and this makes it difficult to resist the temptation of our favourite sweet foods and drinks and eliminate them from our diets.

It is therefore no surprise that the food and beverage industry has sought to find a solution to the sugar problem. Instead of eliminating the sweet taste, why not substitute it?

Thus, many popular drinks, juices and

snacks are made in sugar-free varieties and even for sugar itself there are artificial sweeteners available.

People tend to be drawn to these sugar replacement and diet products because most claim to be natural. But are these artificial sweeteners truly healthier?

snacks are made in sugar-free varieties and even for sugar itself there are artificial sweeteners available.

People tend to be drawn to these sugar replacement and diet products because most claim to be natural. But are these artificial sweeteners truly healthier? Let’s begin by looking at sugar…

Sugar is high in ‘empty’ calories but has a low nutritional value. High quantities of these empty calories in the body cause weight gain. There are different types of sugars which we consume, they are known as complete carbohydrates. The two main types of sugars are glucose and fructose; when combined these sugars form a third well-known type of sugar called sucrose.

Now let’s briefly look at artificial sweeteners…

Generally, the artificial sweeteners which have been approved for use by the FDA as sugar substitutes do not contain the empty calories which are found in the regular table sugar, and they are significantly sweeter. This makes them far more attractive with the premise that they reduce the likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Five of these approved artificial sweeteners are:

•Saccharin

•Aspartame

•Neotame

•Sucralose

•Acesulfame The upside of artificial sweeteners…

As mentioned before, artificial sweeteners are calorie-free. That means, when you replace sugar with these you are significantly reducing your calorie consumption and by extension, decreasing the possibility of weight gain. Additionally, a lessened caloric intake helps people who are overweight or obese to lose weight. People with diabetes are therefore less prone to elevated blood sugar levels which are caused by sugar use.

Cavities and tooth decay are another negative effect of sugar. However, this is not usually a concern that results from the use of artificial sweeteners.

The downside of artificial sweeteners…

Despite being calorie free, the use of artificial sweeteners is believed to be the source of several health problems.

For approximately half a century there were studies which suggested that the alternative sweetener saccharin caused bladder cancer in research conducted using laboratory rats. Consequently, for a while it was believed to be harmful to humans, but as no conclusive scientific link could be found between saccharin and cancer development, these theories were eventually dismissed.

In 2014 however, another study revealed a possible link between cardiovascular disease and artificial sweeteners. The study of 60 000 women by the University of Iowa showed that older women, who consumed at least two diet drinks daily, had a 30 per cent higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke and a 50 per cent higher risk of these events being fatal.

There is yet another downside to these artificial sweeteners. Even though they are calorie free, they can actually cause people to inadvertently consume more calories in other foods. Some people hold the belief that because they are drinking diet drinks or sugarless tea, it balances out the consumption of other sweet foods like cakes and pastries.

Beyond this, having the mindset that the diet drinks and replacements sweeteners are better causes people to overindulge and consume these products in higher quantities in an effort to achieve the same high which they feel from their regular sugary sweet treats.

So, instead of losing weight, they still add more pounds due to the high caloric intake in other forms.

So, is there a middle ground for artificial sweeteners?

Absolutely! As with most things in life, the key is moderation. Limit your consumption of sugar foods and beverages, even if you are using nocalorie options and artificial sweeteners.

Monitor your overall calorie intake and make healthy choices to live a longer life.

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