While billed by slick marketers as the way to have your cake and eat it too, you may want to think twice before eating foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners or adding them to your foods and beverages. Makers of these chemically-derived sweeteners often tout them as the healthier, low-calorie alternative to sugar, but a growing body of research states otherwise.
In addition to the list of other health problems already linked to artificial sweeteners, new research presented at the Experimental Biology 2018 Conference recently in San Diego, California found that artificial sweeteners can cause damage to blood vessels and impair the vascular system. While that’s an obvious concern for anyone (we need blood vessels to supply nutrients and oxygen to every organ and tissue in our body for them to work properly), but it is of particular concern to those who are at high risk of vascular problems, such as diabetics. Sadly, diabetics are often the first people to choose artificial sweeteners and sugar-free foods that contain them.
And, vascular damage is just one more health concern added to the long list of other health problems already associated with artificial sweeteners.
Earlier research in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that the artificial sweetener, aspartame, which is also known as AminoSweet and Neo-Tame, has been linked to cancer.
A study published in the medical journal Nature: the International Weekly journal of Science found a link between the ingestion of artificial sweeteners and increased blood sugar levels (an early indicator of Type 2 diabetes), which is a factor in weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
Research also shows that aspartame in diet soda causes an imbalance in brain hormones, specifically in dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is a brain chemical that helps us feel good. Impaired dopamine production have been implicated in conditions like Parkinson’s disease. Also a “feel good” brain hormone, serotonin helps reduce pain and depression. Serotonin is a “feel good” brain neurotransmitter that reduces pain and the likelihood of experiencing depression. Low levels of serotonin have been linked with aggressive behavior.
As if that wasn’t already enough reason to quit your artificial sweetener habit, they have also been linked to premature puberty in girls and blood sugar imbalances that lead to obesity, as well as disrupting the natural balance of gut bacteria in the intestines. The latter microbial imbalance may not sound like a big deal, but we’re only on the cusp of discovering the many connections between our gut flora and our overall health. And, the science is starting to stack up that this is a fundamental cause of many acute and chronic health conditions.
Artificial sweeteners are found in thousands of low-calorie snacks, sugar-free diet foods, flavor syrups used in coffee and other beverages, and many other foods. Yes, that includes many of your flavor additions that turn your coffee or latte into pumpkin-spice, raspberry, toffee nut or other flavor. It’s best to avoid most “diet” foods: diet soda, “low-calorie” foods or “sugar-free” foods, as they are typically full of the nasty stuff.
Perhaps it is time that the companies manufacturing this nasty garbage start promoting it as the blood-vessel damaging, cancer-causing, brain hormone-impairing sweetener that can help you become overweight, aggressive and sick? But, I’m guessing the laboratory-created concoction won’t be as popular that way.