If you think using artificial sweeteners is healthier than using regular sugar, think again. Artificial sweeteners have been the subject of many debates because most of it contains chemicals that do more harm than good. Artificial sweeteners were discovered in 1878 and even then, many health experts were not convinced that it’s the healthier choice.
Lab-created sweeteners contain carcinogenic compounds including saccharin, a substance discovered by a chemist working with coal tar. More than 150 years since it was invented, artificial sweeteners still have health experts divided when it comes to its benefits. Despite being declared as safe on its current exposure levels in 2013, some scientists believe that the decision was nothing more than just whitewash.
Artificial sweetener, as the name suggests, sweetens food and drinks minus the calories. This allows dieters and diabetics to enjoy their sweets without worrying about their sugar consumption. More than 18 million Americans use artificial sweeteners instead of table sugars. While artificial sweeteners are great for dieters looking to lose weight, it’s not recommended for long-term consumption.
Most sweeteners contain chemical compounds like aspartame. Aspartame is derived from aspartic acid and phenylalanine; it’s quite a controversial food product because it’s often linked to cancer development. However, further tests are needed to back this claim.
Dangers of Long-Term Artificial Sweetener Consumption
Desensitizes the Taste Buds
Using artificial sweeteners make the taste buds less receptive to natural sources of sweetness. This will cause a person to crave even sweeter foods because the taste buds are dulled. Some types of sweeteners contain chemical and natural compounds that are over 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Splenda—which is one of the most popular artificial sweeteners—are over 600 times sweeter than table sugar. Sweeteners with neotame—a new compound alternative to aspartame—are over 7,000 sweeter than table sugar!
Triggers the Body to Overeat
When you eat food with sweeteners, the brain triggers the body to produce insulin. Too much insulin could cause the blood sugar level to spike and plummet, intensifying your cravings. According to one clinical test, artificial sweeteners also cause your body to stop producing GLP-1, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels and manages feelings of satiety. With an imbalanced insulin level and inhibited production of GLP-1, a person that uses artificial sweetener will feel hungrier and are vulnerable to overeating.
In addition, because artificial sweeteners have thinner consistency than foods sweetened with table sugar, it minimizes the feeling of satisfaction after eating and this leads to more eating.