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Artificial Sweeteners

Some facts about artificial sweeteners that may make you change your mind on them:

1. They are chemicals or natural compounds that replace the sweetness of sugar, without all of the calories. But sometimes the label 'sugar-free' masks calories present in the food or drink. Of course you can always read the product's label, but believe it or not, there are a whole lot of people out there who think that sugar-free or fat-free means low-calorie. On top of that, there are some recent studies that have shown that artificial sweeteners can actually increase your appetite. And then there are sugar-free products with ingredients that can raise your blood sugar dramatically—like the white flour in sugar-free cookies. All in all, 'sugar-free' doesn't always mean 'diet-friendly'.

2. Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet, Canderel, Spoonfuls, DiabetiSweet) is a common chemical sweetener with possible side effects that sound like they're out of a horror movie. From hallucinations to seizures to brain tumors, it is hardly worth consuming for the sake of saved calories.

3. Sucralose (Otherwise known as Splenda, my past-sweetener of choice), is scary. Recent research suggests that Splenda can enlarge both the liver and kidneys and shrink the thymus glands. Sucralose breaks down into small amounts of dichloro fructose, which has not been tested adequately tested in humans, however; Splenda reportedly can cause skin rashes, panic, diarrhea, headaches, bladder issues, stomach pain, and those side effects don't even sum it up.

Think this sounds bad? Do some further research. Most artificial sweeteners on store shelves are accompanied by numerous side-effect stories. (Some recent studies suggest they cause cancer. Should something as serious as cancer really be overlooked?)


In addition to all of this, consider the waste involved in the industry of artificially sweetening. Ever stepped into a coffee shop and noticed a mound of sugar substitute packets building on the counter or in the trash? We've been wasting one of our most precious resources for the sake of a sweetener that can harm our bodies and prevent weight loss. It sounds unfathomable, but true nonetheless.