Monday, September 3, 2012

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

An article in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012;96:640-6) was titled, “Low-calorie sweetener consumption is increasing in the United States.”  The authors used the information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in order to report their results.  Specifically they looked at the consumption of low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) during the years 1999-2000 as compared to 2007-2008.  They reported that in 2007-2008, as compared to 1999-2000, the consumption of LCS increased from 6.1% to 12.5% among children and from 18.7% to 24.1% among adults.  Furthermore, the increase in LCS were observed in all weight, age, socioeconomic  and race-ethnicity subgroups in both children and adults.

Comment: We are inundated with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda).  Nearly all of the low-fat food available is sweetened with an artificial sweetener.  We have been told by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association (now known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) that artificial sweeteners are a safe and effective way to lower caloric intake and help with weight loss.  They are wrong.

Over the last 30 years, we have continually ingested more and more artificial sweeteners and there has been no decrease in our country-wide obesity problem.   In fact, the opposite has occurred; as a population we are becoming more obese. Currently, two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third are obese.  Perhaps the only correlation that can be concluded is that using artificial sweeteners is associated with  obesity.

I have written extensively about artificial sweeteners in my newsletters and in my books.  Artificial sweeteners do not help with weight loss.  My experience has shown that, compared to those who do not ingest artificial sweeteners, those who ingest a large amount of artificial sweeteners tend to have more weight problems.  Furthermore, it is much more difficult to lose weight when artificial sweeteners are ingested.

There are a whole host of problems associated with Nutrasweet ingestion including an increased risk for developing autoimmune and thyroid disorders, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.  Splenda is no better.  Animal studies of Splenda have shown it is associated with reduced growth rate in newborns, and adults, anemia, thyroid problems, mineral deficiencies (particularly magnesium) and various organ problems.  Finally, never heat up an artificial sweetener or eat any product where an artificial sweetener has been added to a heated food or drink such as coffee.  Heating Nutrasweet causes the chemical structure to change to a formaldehyde-like substance and Splenda can be converted into a dioxin-like molecule.    

Don’t be fooled by the proclamation from the Powers-That-Be that artificial sweeteners are safe.  They are not.  If you want to sweeten your food, use unrefined cane sugar or honey.  There are many other natural sweeteners that are safe to use.  More information about this can be found in my book, The Guide to Healthy Eating.


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