There are numerous items I’d love to see people remove from their diets, but high on the list are artificial sweeteners. Many people have become dependent and addicted to these controversial substances—but most don’t even realize it.
I understand that. At one point I used artificial sweeteners on a regular basis. I would consume diet soda, use artificial sweeteners in my coffee, and use them in cooking and baking. Growing up, I remember hearing about the dangers of “the little pink packet,” better known as Sweet and Low®. Proudly at the time, I never used that product. Instead, I used “the little blue packet,” or aspartame (Equal®), and didn’t give it a second guess. Low and behold, studies began rolling out about the dangers of aspartame. So I cleverly switched to the newest solution—Splenda®, “the little yellow packet.” After all, they say it is made from real sugar (oh yea, that made it healthy). The marketing said it was “safe,”unlike the other artificial sweeteners because Splenda® is so natural. Yes, I bought into that for many, many years.
Eventually, some chronic health issues led me to become more conscious of my health. I took some time to research and learn about artificial sweeteners, and I learned about how detrimental they truly were to my body. Besides all of the controversy over whether or not they cause cancer, I discovered a host of other reasons to avoid them. These include (but are not limited to) weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, bladder issues, and addiction to the sweeteners. In fact, in our personal training studios, we find our clients have the greatest difficulty eliminating diet soda.
Since then, I have stopped using artificial sweeteners for me and my family. I have realized, however, the importance of being vigilant about reading ingredient labels—artificial sweeteners have found their way into so many foods these days! Just recently, I was about to purchase some fruit cups for my children. The package read “packed in its own juice,” which is typically what I look for when I purchase this type of item. But the label “no added sugars” made me wonder. Upon reading the label, I found there were no added natural sugars—just added aspartame! Thankfully I noticed before I made the purchase. Buyer beware!
So the choice is yours: use these highly controversial chemicals and hope they are safe, or simply stay away and not worry about it any more. If you must sweeten, check out the natural sweetener Stevia.
The following is a great article on artificial sweeteners: