I often report on the disturbing findings linking zero-calorie artificial sweeteners to the medical problems they are supposedly meant to prevent. Artificial sweeteners create weight gain, larger waistlines, and obesity. Furthermore, studies associate them with a higher risk of developing Type II diabetes.
Just exactly how artificial sweeteners cause these problems has been a mystery. Theories run the gamut. Some say they increase the body’s craving for more sweet foods and sugars from other sources. Others say they alter brain chemistry. Still others say the artificial sweeteners cause some fundamental alteration in metabolism.
What we do know is that sucrose (table sugar) is addictive. In fact, studies show sucrose can be as addictive as illicit drugs because they influence the same parts of the brain. It turns out, artificial sugars are just as addictive as sucrose.
Plus, research confirms that artificial sweeteners don’t help control weight and related diseases. In fact, a recent study in late 2016 linked low-calorie sweetener use with heavier body weight, larger waistlines, and greater abdominal obesity.
And there’s more…
Artificial sugars linked to numerous health risks
Aspartame, one of the most widely used artificial sweeteners, was first developed by GD Searle & Co as a drug for peptic ulcer disease. The FDA approved the use of aspartame in 1981 based on research that was 100 percent funded by manufacturers, according to the Center for Behavioral Medicine at Northeastern Ohio University. Plus, a study by Johns Hopkins University found that industry funding and financial conflicts by researchers introduced bias into their findings.
By comparison, 92 percent of independently funded research has found numerous health risks associated with aspartame’s use. In fact, aspartame is a known neurotoxin. The body breaks it down into aspartic acid, methanol, and phenylalanine. Methanol then converts into formaldehyde in the body. And people who drink methanol, as a substitute for ethanol (or drinking alcohol) experience blindness, liver failure, kidney failure, and neurotoxicity.
Not so sweet.
Research specifically associates the aspartame, acesulfame K, and sucralose with a host of chronic illnesses and diseases. These adverse effects include cancers, chronic inflammation, migraine headaches, and other nervous system disorders.
So, what are your alternatives?
Natural sweeteners offer safer options
If you want something sweet in your tea, I suggest keeping it natural.
Lo han guo (or Chinese bitter melon) and stevia are two good, non-toxic natural sweeteners.
Just watch out for synthetic “stevia” used as a sweetener in soda beverages. Manufacturers extract compounds from the stevia plant and exposed them to chemicals like acetone, acetonitrile, isopropanol, and methanol. (There they go again.)
Of course, honey is the original, natural sweetener. And it has many health benefits. Cane sugar (sucrose) originally came from an isolated area of the South Pacific thought to be modern-day Papua New Guinea. It did not spread around the world until the last few hundred years. Before that, honey was the natural choice. And, as I mentioned, it also has medicinal properties, as documented in Ayurvedic medicine dating back 5,000 years. (I will tell you more in the May 2017 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.)
The sugars in honey are more complex than the sucrose in cane sugar. It takes more time to digest, metabolize, and break-down, ultimately yielding fewer calories more gradually than the spikes caused by sucrose. It is also full of vitamins and minerals, as well as herbal constituents gathered by the bees traveling from plant to plant.
Research shows honey can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. It also promotes rapid healing, acting as a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-microbial. In fact, it’s anti-microbial properties have been documented in some of the world’s oldest medical literature.
If you haven’t been able to cut sugar from your morning coffee or herbal tea, here’s a tasty alternative you can try: Add honey to some warm water with ginger, lemon, and other spices like cinnamon, or even chili pepper.
You can safely enjoy this healthy, natural beverage without the hazards of sugar or artificial sweeteners.
“Chronic Low-Calorie Sweetener Use and Risk of Abdominal Obesity among Older Adults: A Cohort Study,” PLOS One, (www.journals.plos.org/plosone) 11/23/2016