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Ditch Artificial Sweeteners

Published on May 29, 2023 by Karan Kaur


Knowledge about health and fitness is becoming more available to those who want to learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle. This is a great thing, however with all the information at our fingertips we have to be careful when taking into consideration what makes up the foundation of health. Sometimes information can be misleading and cause people to believe certain products are healthy for their body. Today I am going to tell you about the negative effects of artificial sweeteners, beginning with my story.


Over one year ago I began to consume artificial sweeteners on a daily basis to prepare for my bodybuilding show. Since sugar was not on the meal plan, I incorporated Splenda in my breakfast oats and coffee almost every day. On top of that I was adding flavoring to my water which also includes artificial sweeteners and coloring. There were days where I would feel withdrawals if I did not have my artificial sweetener. I began to notice this trend in myself and began doing my research on artificial sweeteners and effects it has on the body in the long term.


The use of artificial sweeteners has become very popular over the years, especially among obese and diabetic individuals (National Institutes of Health). Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners somehow makes it more acceptable for a person to consume processed foods like soda and sweets. Common artificial sweeteners that you will find on store shelves are erythritol, xylitol.This however is not the answer to avoiding sugar. Here are two of the biggest reasons that you should ditch artificial sweeteners and how to opt for healthy options.


#1 Artificial sweeteners have been linked to obesity and diabetes. Studies show that persons who consume artificial sweeteners lead to over consumption of calories which causes weight gain (Dr. Mark Hyman) Further studies at the Cleveland Clinic show that consumption of artificial sweeteners like erythritol overtime is linked to the risk of heart disease. Again things should be enjoyed in moderation. However, opting for artificial sweeteners because it is marketed as “healthy” does not mean you should be consuming it on a daily basis. There are negative long term effects to consuming artificial sweeteners. At the end of the day artificial sweeteners are made chemically in a lab thus the name “artificial” So if you think about it, you are putting chemicals in your body.



#2 Artificial sweeteners are highly addictive and make you crave more sugary foods. A small amount of artificial sweetener can make your cup of coffee very sweet compared to the same amount of regular sugar. Though the artificial sweeteners are labeled as low calorie, the product makes your crave more sugary things which prevents a person from reaching for those high nutritious foods and opting for junk food instead. It is okay to consume the sweetener in moderation. Dr. Mark Hyman recommends Stevia if you do opt for artificial sweeteners but to consume it every day will prompt you to make unhealthy choices. During my body building days I always found myself craving sugary foods. By the end of my bodybuilding show, I was still consuming artificial sweeteners. I was tired of the cravings but could not help myself. So I decided to slowly start getting off of artificial sweeteners and opting for natural ones like honey and maple syrup. These are natural forms of sugar. Sugar is sugar at the end of the day but having something in moderation in its natural state is much better for your body then consuming something made in a lab. Think of sugar as a recreational drug and use it from time to time and add it in yourself instead of eating processed foods (Dr. Mark Hyman).


So what can you do then? What if you want something sweet but artificial sweetener is what is advertised as healthy. First of all I want you to look at that name again… “artificial”. The thought of this will help you start stepping away from these sweeteners. Why would you put anything in your body that is produced in a lab? Next, think of natural ways of replacing those sugar cravings like opting for fruit, nuts and foods that contain natural sweetness like honey and maple syrup instead of candy bars. Remember, it is okay to have sugar in moderation as a treat. Dr. Mark Hyman says to think of sugar as a recreational drug and use it in moderation not in your daily diet.




After reading this blog, I hope you can start thinking about ways to start opting for natural and whole foods to put into your body, rather than what is produced in a lab. Personally it was a journey getting here. I have not added Splenda to my food in about 8 months now and I have noticed that I do not crave sugary foods like I used to. So next time you are having a craving follow the tips mentioned above and opt for the healthy and natural option.


Sources


Hyman, M., MD. (2019). Why You Should Ditch Artificial Sweeteners. Dr. Mark Hyman. https://drhyman.com/blog/2015/12/02/why-you-should-ditch-artificial-sweeteners/


Wheeler, T. (2023, February 27). Cleveland Clinic Study Finds Common Artificial Sweetener Linked to Higher Rates of Heart Attack and Stroke. Cleveland Clinic Newsroom. https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2023/02/27/cleveland-clinic-study-finds-common-artificial-sweetener-linked-to-higher-rates-of-heart-attack-and-stroke/





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