If you’re in the diet and if you don’t want to take the calories intake from the sugar, you might want to change your sugar into artificial sweetener. Artificial sweeteners have lower amount of calories compared with the sugar, so there is no surprise at all that artificial sweeteners are included in the soft drinks, chewing gums, candy, jellies, ice cream, and yogurt.
But the question is, what is an artificial sweetener? Artificial sweetener is the synthetic sugar substitutes and could be derived from the naturally occurring substances, such as herbs and sugar itself. For your information, artificial sweeteners are way sweeter compared to sugar, which will lead you to various health risks. Here are the various health risks that could occur to you whenever you’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively.
Health Risks of Artificial Sweetener will be main cause of obesity. This is one of the most obvious health risks that you would likely to get whenever you’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively. So, obesity is the condition that commonly described whenever you have the excessive weight gain. An insulin spike caused by artificial sweetener could make people want to eat again and again, which of course will lead you to weight gain and obesity.
In the matter of fact, there are many studies that have already evidenced that the artificial sweetener could lead you to obesity. A heart-related study in San Antonio has already evidenced that people who drank artificially sweetened beverages had a higher body mass index and fat retention in their body compared to those who avoided these beverages.
- Changes Your Taste
This is the health risk that would cause various complications and very bad effect on your body in the future. So, do you know that artificial sweetener is sweeter than sugar? Well, according to Anne Alexander, the author of The Sugar Smart Diet, artificial sweeteners, even the natural one such as stevia, are thousand times sweeter than regular sugar.
In the matter of fact, aspartame is 7000 times sweeter than sugar, and stevia is 200 times sweeter than sugar. These high-intensity artificial sweeteners could make your taste become less receptive to natural sources of sweetness such as fruits, for example. As the result, you will be more likely to seek and search out sweeter foods. This could be very dangerous for your health in the future and could lead you to various complications related to your health.
There is no doubt that consumes the artificial sweetener excessively would lead you to diabetes. So, since artificial sweetener could make you crave for sweeter food and also could lead you to obesity, there is no doubt that you will be more likely to suffer from diabetes. In the matter of fact, a study that conducted by the Nurses’ Health Study has already evidenced that people who regularly consume the artificially sweetened drinks had the higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes compared than those who did not. So, you need to avoid artificial sweeteners as soon as possible.
- Poisoning Your Brain
Another health risks that could also possibly happen to you whenever you consume artificial sweeteners on a regular basis is the problems related to your brain. In the matter of fact, artificial sweetener could poison your brain. In addition to that, aspartame could make some damages in your nervous system. Furthermore, the more dangerous complications would be more likely to occur whenever you have the excessive consumption of artificial sweetener could slow down the responses of neurotransmitter, which could disrupt the human reflexes and could impair motor control.
- High Blood Pressure
There is no doubt that the excessive consumption of artificial sweetener could lead you to high blood pressure. Since artificial sweetener could lead you to obesity, you bet that this chronic condition would occur to you. Artificial sweeteners could lead you to high blood pressure because they can interfere with your metabolic functioning of your body. Whenever your metabolism functioning is disrupted, then the blood circulation would be significantly affected too. As the result, your heart will beat faster than usual, which then will lead you to high blood pressure.
- Impairs Metabolic Process in the Body
As already mentioned above, the artificial sweeteners could lead you to the impairment of metabolic processes in the body. So, since the metabolism processes in your body is interrupted, there is no doubt that you will be more likely to develop the metabolic syndrome, which will lead you to various health complications, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and excessive weight gain. In addition to that, according to Susan E. Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, the artificial sweeteners, particularly in beverages, could disrupt the normal metabolism in your body.
- Problems in Your Stomach
According to Susan E. Swithers, a professor of psychological sciences at Purdue University, the artificial sweeteners could make some problems on your gut. Basically, the artificial sweetener would trick your gut. So, whenever you’re consuming artificial sweetener, your gut will get confused because the sweet taste from artificial sweetener would send the signals to your stomach, so that your stomach would prepare and anticipate to digest high calorie foods. But, whenever the high calorie food doesn’t arrive, your stomach becomes less efficient to utilize the foods, which then will interfere with your body’s hunger signal.
- Hormonal Imbalances
Do you know that artificial sweetener could also lead you to hormonal imbalance? As already mentioned above, artificial sweetener can impair metabolic process in your body. As the result, the impairment of metabolic process could make the dysfunction in your endocrine glands. The dysfunction of endocrine glands would cause the abnormal secretion of hormones in your body.
Since the artificial sweetener doesn’t have the calorie as high as natural sugar, but your pancreas would respond it the same way as the natural sugar and thus, your pancreas would release the insulin. This condition would lead you to hyperinsulinism, which will cause various health complications, such as obesity and lose of strength.
- Support the Growth of Bacteria
Surprisingly, the excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners could also support the growth of the bacteria in your body, particularly in your intestine and in your gut. As you already know, the bacteria are divided into two groups, which are healthy bacteria and bad bacteria. The problem is, taking too much artificial sweetener could cause the imbalance of amount between these two different kinds of bacteria, which would be harmful for your body. In addition to that, the increased amount of gut bacteria would also increase the body fat in your body, which will lead you to obesity.
Another health risk that could be possibly happen to you if you’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively is the depression. So, depression is commonly described as the condition whenever you feel the extreme sadness and stress and it could change your mood suddenly. So, the mechanism on why the artificial sweetener could affect your mood and could lead you to depression is still remains a mystery, but there was a study that has already evidenced that. A study that conducted in 40 patients with depression tried to figure out the connection between mood disorders and the effect of aspartame. The result of that study showed that patients with mood disorder were particularly sensitive to aspartame and the doctor suggest that they must avoid aspartame at all cost.
Another health risk that also would be more likely to occur to you whenever you’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively is the headache. In the matter of fact, there are so many studies that have already evidenced the link between the excessive consumption of artificial sweetener and headache. So, a study conducted in more than 200 migraine sufferers, which they then divided into two groups, one group treated with placebo and the other one treated with aspartame. The study showed that the group of people who were treated with aspartame had a more severe headache compared with the group with placebo.
- Decline in Cognitive Function
Do you know that the consumption of artificial sweetener could cause the decline in your cognitive function? Well, in the matter of fact, artificial sweetener such as aspartame could harm your brain if you’re consuming it excessively. So, according to a recent study that published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, aspartame has the ability to impair the cognitive function and memory performance. As the result, you will feel really struggle to maintain your concentration and focus throughout the day, which of course will reduce your productivity. In addition to that, aspartame could be very harmful for your brain since aspartame will increase the oxidative stress in the brain.
According to many studies, the artificial sweetener is also linked with leukemia disease. So, leukemia is the cancer of white blood cells, which will make your white blood cells divided too quickly and eventually crowd out the normal cell. According to many studies, artificial sweetener has already been linked to leukemia, even though the studies only conducted their experiment in mice. So, there are some possibilities that the same effect would occur in human too. In the matter of fact, the Center for Science in the Public Interest placed Plenda, one of the kind of artificial sweetener, in the ‘caution’ category since that artificial sweeter has been linked with leukemia in mice.
Since the artificial sweetener could make some damages in your brain, there is no doubt that the possibility of people having the Alzheimer’s would be higher whenever they’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively. So, Alzheimer’s is the form of dementia that commonly describe the memory and cognitive loss over a period of time. Although the main causes of Alzheimer’s are due to the aging condition, but the excessive consumption of artificial sweetener could speed up the progression of this disease, especially aspartame which could release the oxidative stress in the brain and cause the decline in cognitive function.
Some of the studies have already suggested that the artificial sweeteners are linked with cancer due to the carcinogenic compound in them. In the matter of fact, an initial study conducted in rats shown that 12 rats out of 32 developed the brain tumors after receiving the aspartame. In addition to that, the Acesulfame-K, one of the type of artificial sweetener, contains carcinogen methylene chloride which will lead you to cancer if you consume it excessively. But, there are also some studies that have shown there is no connection between the cancer and artificial sweetener. Although there are mixed result associated with the connection between artificial sweetener and cancer, you better stay away from artificial sweetener.
- Allergic Reaction
There is no doubt that you will be more likely to suffer from allergic reaction whenever you’re consuming artificial sweetener excessively. So, artificial sweetener, especially saccharin, could cause the allergic reactions since the saccharin contains a compound called sulfonamides, which will stimulate the allergic reactions in people who can’t tolerate sulfa drugs. The allergic reactions that commonly occur are headache, nausea, breathing difficulties, skin eruptions, and diarrhea. In addition to that, saccharin would also lead you to some irritations and muscle dysfunction.
There are also some studies that have already evidenced that the artificial sweeteners like aspartame could lead you to seizures. So, seizures is the condition that commonly described as the changes in the brain’s electrical activity. The change would cause the dramatic symptom in your body, which will make your body have a violent shaking and a loss of control.
In the matter of fact, the study conducted at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has already evidenced that 80 people had seizures after ingesting the aspartame. Also, in the article that published by Air Force’s magazine, Flying Safety, and the Navy’s magazine also shown that the ingestion of aspartame can make pilots more susceptible of having seizures and vertigo.
- Emotional Disorders
There are also some studies that have shown that the artificial sweetener such as aspartame could lead you to emotional disorder. So, according to the double blind study of the effects of the aspartame on people with moods and emotional disorders showed that they will suffer from serious symptoms soon after they’re taking aspartame. The participants said that they had been poisoned by the aspartame. In addition to that, researchers conclude that the people with emotional disorders are particularly sensitive to the artificial sweetener and they shouldn’t consume it at all cost. Artificial sweetener also have been linked with the low serotonin levels, which will lead you to emotional changes and disorders.
- Complications in Pregnancy
One of the most serious health risks related to the excessive consumption of artificial sweetener is the birth defects in pregnant women. So, according to many studies, artificial sweetener, especially aspartame, have several toxic breakdown chemicals from the aspartame products which will be very dangerous for a developing fetus and also will do some harmful things on mother. So, the excessive consumption of aspartame in pregnant women could lead them to the birth defects and will cause the damage in their brain. In addition to that, the aspartame in pregnant women will lead them to mental retardation, which will affects the fetus as well.
- Aspartame Disease
The excessive consumption of artificial sweetener, especially aspartame, could also lead you to the disease called aspartame disease and the researchers said that there a lot of negative health effects of the consumption of aspartame. So, according to Dr. H.J. Roberts, MD, aspartame products were the main cause of about 80% of complaints to the FDA about food additives. Some of the symptoms related to the aspartame disease are dizziness, change in mood, headache, nausea and vomiting, memory loss, sudden fatigue, change in vision, abdominal pain, unexplained depression, panic attack, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, joint pain, numbness in your legs and hand, and many more.
Types of Artificial Sweetener
So, after you know all of the health risks related to the artificial sweetener, you might curious what kinds of artificial sweetener that commonly available in a lot of places, so that you could avoid it at all cost. So, here are various types of common artificial sweetener that you could get from the grocery stores.
- Aspartame. The familiar blue packet in the sugar substitute bowl usually contains aspartame. So, you could use it in both warm and cold foods. But, this kind of artificial sweetener will lose most of its sweetness in the high temperature. Since this artificial sweeter has a lot of health risks, you better avoid this artificial sweetener.
- Sucralose. Sucralose is the type of artificial sweetener that commonly contained in the processed foods. just like aspartame, you could use the sucralose both in warm and cold foods. The most popular brand of sucralose is the Splenda. But, you need to know that this artificial sweetener is 600 times sweeter than the normal sugar and contains 0 calories.
- Saccharin. Saccharin is the artificial sweetener that you could use in both warm and cold foods, just like sucralose and aspartame. The most popular brand of saccharin is Sweet’N Low, and contains 4 calories per packet. Remember that every pregnant woman need to avoid this artificial sweetener because it could lead to the birth defects.
- Stevia. Stevia is the artificial sweetener that commonly made from the nature and 200 times sweeter than the natural sugar. The most popular brand of stevia is Stevia Extract In The Raw or Truvia. But, this type of artificial sweetener was initially banned in the United States because based on research, this artificial sweetener could lead to the infertility and cancer in laboratory rats.
- Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K. Acesulfame Potassium or Ace-K is the type of nonnutritive artificial sweetener that approved by the FDA in 1988. Until now, there is no problem associated with this artificial sweetener. You can use it in both cold and warm foods, including in baking and cooking.
The Advantage of Artificial Sweetener
So, after you know all types of artificial sweetener as well as the various health risks related to the artificial sweetener, you might also want to know the advantage of artificial sweetener for you. So, here are the advantages of artificial sweetener for you.
- Since the artificial sweetener commonly sweeter than sugar, the artificial sweetener could be a perfect addition to sweeten your beverages and cereal.
- Several artificial sweetener, such as stevia, taste longer than the normal sugar, which will satisfy the need of the sweet taste in your recipe.
- Artificial sweetener could be used whenever you’re baking or cooking the foods. Also, you could add the artificial sweetener in your recipe that need sugar so badly.
- Some of the artificial sweetener are considered to be safe to consume, as long as you take them into moderation. Taking the artificial sweetener excessively would lead you to various health risks that already mentioned above.
- Artificial sweeteners have lower amount of calories compared with the usual sugar. So, the effect and the progression of various health risks such as diabetes type 2 and obesity whenever you consume artificial sweetener will be much slower than if you’re consuming sugar.
So, now you already know all of the health risks of artificial sweetener, alongside with the types of artificial sweetener and the advantages of artificial sweetener. As long as we consume the artificial sweetener in the moderate amount, this kind of sweetener would be safe to consume. So, stay healthy!