Many of us have seen the commercials on television, for sugar substitutes. These sweeteners boast of providing the same sweetness and taste that sugar offers, minus the calories. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
After all what is better than reducing the level of calories, without having to compromise on our taste buds? A can of soda contains approx 150 calories, while the diet soda offers the same taste at 0 calories. The choice here is obvious, and a no brainer!
However, there is more to this “artificial sweetness” than meets the eye. Let us explore the other side of the coin – why are sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners harmful for your health?
“Sugar Free” Tag May Not Mean Diet-Friendly
Many of us think that a product with a “sugar free” label will be good for health while this might not be the case. Also, in many cases, the mask of sugar free harbors calories.
Studies show that sugar free products contain ingredients that can increase your appetite, thereby failing the whole purpose of reducing calories. You are going to consume more calories in some other form anyways as your appetite gets a boost. Sugar substitutes may not be diet friendly after all.
Also, these ingredients can sometimes increase your blood sugar dramatically. Diabetics better watch out for it.
Probable Cancer Risk
Artificial sweeteners have been under the scanner for a long time. Many critics say that these can cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. This was because of the presence of saccharin, which induced blood cancer in laboratory rats, in 1970s.
However, according to the recent studies by National Cancer Institute, there is no scientific evidence that artificial sweeteners cause cancer and are considered generally safe. However, we cannot completely ignore the fact that there is an ingredient present that was linked to blood cancer once.
Scary Side Effects
A common sweetener that is used in sugar substitutes is aspartame. Aspartame is known to have some very horrifying side effects that include hallucinations, seizures and in extreme cases even brain tumor. No matter how much diet conscious you are, no amount of saved calories is worth these side effects.
Sucralose is another artificial sweetener that has some really scary side effects like skin rashes, diarrhea, panic, bladder issues, stomach pain, headaches etc. to name a few.
In more extreme cases, sucralose intake can lead to enlarged liver and kidneys and shrunk thymus gland.
While taken in little quantities nothing is harmful. Since sugar is an essential part of our lives that we use in beverages and sweets, it is but natural that if substitutes enter the picture, they will bring their side effects too.
Avoid artificial sweeteners as no amount of saved calorie is more precious than your life. Try reducing your sweet tooth instead. Not much, just a little bit, as much as the balancing chart of your craving and health allows.