The Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners

artificial sweeteners and sugar packetsA sweet taste with zero calories sounds tempting, but what are the dangers of artificial sweeteners? What does the research on zero-calorie artificial sweeteners show? Too much sugar and high-fructose corn syrup can damage your health. Artificial sweeteners sound like an easy alternative. How can you tell the difference between artificial and natural low-calorie sweeteners? And, how can you get that sweet taste without risking your health?

At Natural Eye Care, we recommend avoiding artificial sweeteners because they may be dangerous for your health. This article will discuss these dangers and explore several low-calorie, natural sweeteners.

Aspartame – An Artificial Sweetener Too Good to be True?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener linked to problems in behavior and thinking. Possible symptoms can include learning problems, headaches, seizures, migraines, irritable moods, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. 1

Aspartame replaces sugar and high fructose corn syrup in many diet drinks and foods. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies aspartame as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on limited evidence it might cause cancer — specifically liver cancer. 2 Many products contain aspartame. As a result, both children and adults can unintentionally eat and drink larger amounts than the FDA recommends. This may lead to serious health complications. 3

When taking Aspartame, the digestion process breaks it down and releases: methanol (10%), aspartic acid (40%), and phenylalanine (50%) into the body. These substances are absorbable through the intestine. These substances can be harmful at high doses. This means prolonged aspartame consumption may be risky.

The substances aspartame breaks down into are believed to be more toxic than the original substance itself. 4 Methanol forms formaldehyde in the liver. It also causes formic acid. Methanol is known to damage the liver. Formaldehyde and formate, a byproduct of formaldehyde, can harm liver cells. This can result in “denaturing” essential enzymes. Enzymes are needed for healthy body functioning. 5

Aspartame and Cancer

Aspartame may contribute to cancer, mostly likely due to how it breaks down into harmful formaldehyde.6 7 Research shows the influence of aspartame slows down the death of cancer cells, helping the cancer to spread more. 8

Aspartame and Gut Microorganisms

Taking in Aspartame changes the composition of the gut microorganisms. 9 10 Gut health is crucial to overall health.

Phenylketonuria (PKU)

Phenylketonuria (PKU) is a rare inherited disease. Newborns in the USA are screened for PKU. Phenylketonurics cannot break down a certain amino acid. The amino acid accumulates in the blood and brain, resulting in rash, motor problems, irreversible problems in thinking, seizures, developmental problems, autism, aberrant behavior, and other conditions. Products containing Aspartame must carry a warning: PHENYLKETONURICS: CONTAINS PHENYLALANINE.

NOTE: Do not cook with aspartame. It breaks down at higher temperatures.

Diabetes and Artificial Sweeteners

Research suggests that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with artificial sweeteners does not lower the total amount of beverages consumed. On the contrary, drinking diet soda may lead to increased consumption. 11 Ironically, artificial sweeteners can increase your appetite and thirst, leading to weight gain. 12

Aspartame use has also been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hormone-related cancers.13 14 15 16 17

Behavioral Problems and Aspartame

Aspartame is suspected of causing neurological and behavioral disorders. This artificial sweetener can result in headaches, convulsions and depression. 18

Artificial Sweeteners and Early Puberty

Research suggests that increased aspartame consumption leads to a higher risk of early menstruation in girls aged 9 to 10 years. 19

Aspartame and Brain Health

Aspartame and its byproducts may increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors.20 21

Sugary Drinks, Obesity and Parkinson’s

Sugary drinks such as soda have a strong association with obesity.22 Therefore, people often turn to diet sodas to help control their weight. Diet soda is linked to a faster rate of Parkinson’s Disease progression. This may be due to the consumption of aspartame. Aspartame turns into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. The increase in phenylalanine and aspartic acid interferes with the movement of chemicals to the brain. 23

Consuming Aspartame can lower hormone levels in the brain. This has severe consequences and can lead to depression.24 25 Lowered hormone production is a significant issue with Parkinson’s Disease.

One part of aspartame, aspartate, acts as a key part in carrying signals in the brain. When in balance, these chemicals are essential for normal brain function. But in excess, they can result in the development of mood disorders. 26 They can alter proper brain functioning and impact the neurons. 27

Natural Alternatives to Artificial Sweeteners

You can sweeten your drinks and food with the following natural sweeteners:

Monk fruit is natural and 100–250 times sweeter than sugar. It contains no calories and might have antioxidant properties.

Stevia is all-natural and calorie-free. Stevia leaf is 200 times sweeter than sugar. This sweetener should be used in small amounts, or it can have a bitter aftertaste. Many studies have shown that Stevia leaf preparations are a natural non-calorie sugar substitute, safe for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. 28 Adults and children can safely consume stevia. 29

If you have diabetes, stevia may help keep your blood sugar levels in check. One 2010 study found that stevia significantly lowered insulin and glucose levels. It also left participants in the study satisfied and full after eating, despite the lower calorie intake. 30 Possible side effects include nausea, bloating, hormone disruption, and low blood pressure.

Allulose, also known as D-allulose, is a sugar in certain fruits. 31 Large doses may lead to symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. You should stick to a maximum single dose of 0.19 grams added per pound of food prepared.

Sugar Alcohols, also known as polyols, occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. They tend to be lower in calories than refined sugar.32 Popular sugar alcohols used as sugar alternatives include erythritol, xylitol, and maltitol. It has 70% of the sweetness of table sugar and provides just 0.2 calories per gram. The bacteria in your mouth don’t interact with sugar alcohols, so they don’t damage your teeth like regular sugar.

Recipes for Healthy Soda

You can make your own healthy soda. Start with seltzer water, mineral water, or carbonated water from a SodaStream machine. Add natural, unsweetened juices such as sour cherry or black cherry juice. Sweeten with a few drops of stevia. Or add stevia-sweetened flavor drops with all-natural ingredients. Delicious, healthy, and low-calorie.

Supplements to Consider

Advanced Eye & Vision Support Formula (whole food) 60 vcaps – this is our whole food, organic, GMO free foundation eye formula.

Dr. Grossman’s Meso Plus Retinal Support and Computer Eye Strain Formula with Astaxanthin 90 vcaps

Retinal Support (wild-crafted herbal formula) 2 oz

Dr. Grossman’s Whole Food Organic Superfood Multi-Vitamin 120 Vcaps – our whole food, organic, GMO free formula

Brain and Memory Power Boost 120 caps

Recommended Books

Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing

Natural Brain Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Treating Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Other Related Diseases Naturally

Natural Parkinson’s Support: Your Guide to Preventing and Managing Parkinson’s

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