Many people turn to artificial sweeteners in an attempt to live a healthier life. However, recent studies have pointed to the potential for many dangers that are directly associated with the use of artificial sweeteners. This has left many consumers confused. Part of the problem is that there are so many different types of artificial sweeteners available. The other issue is that there is not a great deal of research to back up some of the information that has been presented in the past, leading many to believe that there are still some potential dangers that are yet to be recognized. Even with those concerns, there is still plenty of reason for concern with the information that is currently available.
What are artificial sweeteners?
You have probably heard the names before. Aspartame, saccharin and Sucralose. Essentially, they are all fancy names for artificial sweeteners. In other words, they are sugar substitutes that were once thought to be healthier than sugar. However, there is now a great deal of concern that they are not only not any healthier than sugar, but that in some cases they might even be more dangerous than consuming sugar itself.
What foods are they found in?
Basically, they are found in virtually every type of food that would otherwise require sugar that is deemed to be diet or sugar free. A perfect example is diet soda. Other items that contain it include chewing gum, some cookies and other sweet and products that don’t contain real sugar. In some cases, people even use these substances to bake so they might be found in homemade baked goods as well.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the biggest issues with artificial sweeteners includes the possible link between their consumption and cancer. There has been a great deal of debate more recently about whether or not there is any truth to this concern. An original study that was completed using rats found a link between cancer and artificial sweeteners. However, it was later determined that this was an erroneous finding unrelated to cancer in human beings. However, it is also worth noting that no such study has ever been completed with human beings consuming the amount of artificial sweeteners that most people typically consume in a year’s time. Therefore, the debate rages on about whether or not artificial sweeteners can cause cancer. Furthermore, Harvard University has found that many individuals who consume products with these sweeteners in them are far more likely to gain weight and contract metabolic syndrome, a condition that causes a person to gain an excess amount of weight in the belly. Metabolic syndrome leads to many other more serious health conditions like hypertension and heart disease as well as cancer. In addition, the university found that people who consume a lot of diet soda or other similar products with artificial sweeteners in them are more likely to contract type II diabetes.
As you can see, there are a lot more gray areas when it comes to artificial sweeteners than some people would have you believe. The idea that they can all be consumed safely in massive amounts is way off base. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you absolutely have to swear off all diet soda and everything else with an artificial sweetener in it. However, it does mean that you should consume these products in moderation instead of in huge amounts. It really comes down to creating a balance in your life. If you don’t like the way that a certain product makes you feel when you consume it, choose to leave it alone. Otherwise, be careful how much you do consume and strive for a healthy lifestyle overall.