Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sugar Substitutes - Hot or Not?

A couple of days ago, someone argued with us about the pitfalls of diet soda, so we decided to look them up. What follows is the result of our online digging.

We use artificial sweeteners every day whether it be in our sodas, coffee or a myriad of foods. We assume that these chemicals keep us from gaining weight and allow us to enjoy the foods we love without the caloric casualties. We also use them to help us lose and maintain our weights. But… is that wise?

There have been studies that link artificial sweeteners to weight gain and obesity. Why? Because apparently the artificial stuff tricks your body into thinking it’s getting sugar. Another theory is that they make us crave sugar even more, therefore we eat sugary things to satisfy the cravings.

But, some studies link artificial sweeteners to even more health problems, namely headaches, nausea and dizziness. Some lab results indicate that use of sugar substitutes can lead to mood swings, depression and panic attacks!

The online research we did made them out to be an even bigger boogeyman. With side effects such as enlarged organs, it’s a wonder that we ever put these things in our mouths.

Not to mention cancer. Some studies argue that the chemicals in artificial sweeteners can and do cause cancer in laboratory animals.

So... which sweeteners are the worst of the worst? By far, our research suggests Aspartame. And, studies also show that anything made from the Stevia plant is your best bet should you continue to use artificial sweeteners after reading this article.

We read a study online that suggests that, with the addition of artificial sweeteners into our daily diets, the instances of obesity rose. The study suggested that, when diet soda emerged on the market in the 1970's, the number of overweight people began to increase and those numbers never slowed down. Another study showed that lab rats who ate simple sugars consumed less calories than their cousins who ate sugar substitutes.

So... what's a girl to do?

Many have argued, especially lately, that it is best to not eat any artificial sweeteners or other additives in our food. There is a "chemical - free" movement organized by people who are sick of what processed foods do to our bodies.

We (by we I mean me and the mouse in my pocket) know that we are guilty of eating a lot of sugar substitutes. From our yogurt, to our Crystal light to our sugar-free gum, we are eating every artificial sweetener on the planet. Well, for us, that stops today.

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