Artificial sweeteners combine two of the most deadly ideas when it comes to our diet — “artificial” and “sweeter.” Plus, according to a recent study, which I’ll share with you in a moment, these toxic sweeteners can damage key neurotransmitters and cell membranes.
People turn to artificial sweeteners to avoid the ills associated with sucrose (table sugar) — such as weight gain, blood sugar problems, and many other serious health problems.
And high fructose corn syrup is even worse than sucrose. They make it with a bit of fructose (found in fruit) added to a lot of corn syrup sugar. So — it’s actually “high” in corn syrup with very little natural fructose. And virtually all sweet corn grown in the U.S. today is genetically modified to boot.
Anyone who can do simple math can see that sugars contribute empty calories to the diet. And cutting sugars is a simple way to lose weight and support good health overall.
In an effort to let consumers literally “have their cake and eat it too,” the chemical-food industry has provided a parade of artificial sweeteners over the decades — all of which have proven to be problematic.
During medical training during the 1970s, I marveled at how the Canadian FDA approved cyclamates but banned saccharine. And the U.S. FDA approved saccharine and banned cyclamates!
All I could conclude was that the whole concept of artificial sweeteners was a bad idea.
Most shocking, as I have reported, recent studies link drinking artificially sweetened beverages with Type II diabetes, obesity, and other diseases typically caused by excess sugar and carb consumption. Somehow (and here scientists are still debating) low-cal artificial sweeteners appear to be just as bad as sugar. Artificial sweeteners appear to increase a person’s craving for more foods, especially sweet foods.
Worst offender gains wide approval
Sucralose, marketed as Splenda, is one of the worst offenders. At least 70 countries worldwide approve of sucralose as “safe.”
To make it, they take a sucrose molecule and add three chlorine atoms. It is a highly artificial, synthetic chemical compound. Ironically, the manufacturer initially marketed it as “made from sugar.”
The human body actually metabolizes real sugar rather quickly. Likewise, it breaks down quickly in the environment.
By contrast, sucralose resists metabolism and biodegradation, like synthetic chemical plastics. Nothing can break it down, therefore it can’t release calories. They might as well use synthetic plastics — if only they tasted sweet.
Other evidence shows sucralose may even promote Type II diabetes and cause leukemia (like the pesticides whose properties appear to be related). Some evidence even suggests sucralose is the culprit behind the worldwide increase in inflammatory bowel disease as it disrupts the GI tract’s natural microbiome.
Splenda acts like a pesticide in the body
According to a recent lab study, published in the open access journal PLoS, sucralose induces behavioral and physiologic responses due its toxic neurological and oxidative properties.
In the recent study, the researchers exposed aquatic organisms to only 0.0001 to 0.0005 mg of sucralose. But even at these small doses, it damaged cell membranes and AChE, a key neurotransmitter in the brain and nervous system.
Pesticides used in big agro-farming actually work by poisoning AChE in living organisms. Adding this pesticide-like property to our foods certainly doesn’t sound like a good idea to me.
But the U.S. government basically gives many pesticides and other environmental chemicals a free pass. So why should we expect anything different from these pesticide-like sweeteners?
Know your alternatives…
Here are some other suggestions for how to keep away from the toxic, artificial sweet stuff:
- Skip all sodas in favor of flavored seltzer water.
- Use naturally sweet substitutes, such as blueberries, or powdered blueberry extract, instead of brown sugar on your morning oatmeal.
- Read the nutrition facts and ingredient labels on foods.
- Avoid products with sugar substitutes.
- Natural sweeteners, such as agave nectar and honey, are as calorie-dense as sugar. But they can be safe, in moderation.
- Familiarize yourself with all of the natural sweetener options. Consider “lo han” and stevia. And choose the one that best suits your taste and lifestyle.
“Sucralose Induces Biochemical Responses in Daphnia magna,” PLOS One (www.journals.plos.org) 4/3/2014