This topic has been up for debate for what seems like ages. But, the question still remains:
Are artificial sweeteners safe?
The short answer is that science doesn’t always agree. Let’s dive in and talk about the possible effects of artificial sweeteners on your health.
Most scientists disagree about the relationship between artificial sweeteners, cancers, and other diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Autism, and Systemic Lupus. All of these conditions have been subjectively related to the consumption of artificial sweeteners. But we don’t have enough data to prove that artificial sweeteners are the main cause.
My biggest issue with artificial sweeteners is just that. They’re artificial.
Consuming something that isn’t made by nature means your body has to deal with it in a different way.
For many years, I suspected that artificial sweeteners actually change the way the body deals with its glucose metabolism. This is because anytime you eat something sweet (whether it’s real sugar or artificial) the receptors on your tongue tell your hypothalamus that you’re going to be getting sugar. The hypothalamus then prepares to receive glucose. However, when you consume an artificial sweetener but don’t actually consume the calories, your body releases stored sugar in order to feed your hypothalamus.
Do artificial sweeteners help with weight loss?
After observing many people consume diet beverages, I suspect that artificial sweeteners don’t really help you with weight loss. They may in the beginning if you are replacing real calories with negative calories. But it really doesn’t help you in the long run. This is because artificial sweeteners increase the occurrence of insulin resistance, which contributes to body fat storage and obesity.
Studies have found that when you give someone a drink that is either artificially or naturally sweetened, the rise in insulin and glucose in their blood ends up the same. When you keep teasing your hypothalamus with artificial sweeteners, it has to keep triggering the release of stored sugar. Eventually, you will become insensitive to the high levels of insulin floating around in your blood and have more and more trouble losing weight.
Children who consume artificial sweeteners are more likely to have issues with obesity and lipid metabolism, as well as insulin sensitivity.
Research has found that children who consume artificial sweeteners before a meal will still consume the same amount of calories. They make up for the lack of calories from the artificial sweetener.
In fact, when you use artificial sweeteners you’ll have decreased sensitivity to the sweetness. This indicates insulin resistance.
Weight loss success aside, the question still remains:
Are artificial sweeteners safe?
Let’s compare the different types:
- Saccharin is the first artificial sweetener, discovered in 1879. You may recognize these as the pink packets. Saccharin is 300 times sweeter than sugar and is used to sweeten various food products. It’s also used in cosmetic products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, lip gloss, vitamins, and medications. Research has found that saccharin can cause cancer and is toxic to your liver.
- Acesulfame-K was discovered in 1967. It was used to decrease the bitter aftertaste of aspartame and is 200 times sweeter than sugar. Acesulfame-K’s toxicity is dose related and can result in genetic damage.
- Sucralose was discovered in 1976 and is 600 times sweeter than sugar. It was approved in 1992 to be used in 15 different food categories. You may recognize sucralose as the yellow packets. As for its toxicity, it seems to shrink the thymus. This is a problem because your thymus programs your immune system and ultimately protects you from disease and cancer.
First approved in 1981 as a tabletop sweetener:
- Aspartame is the blue packet. In 1996, it was approved as a general-purpose sweetener for foods and drinks. It’s 200 times sweeter than sucrose and has been the most controversial of all the artificial sweeteners. This is because of the carcinogenic potential when aspartame exposure occurs during gestation. So if you are a pregnant woman and consume this artificial sweetener, it’s more likely that your child will develop cancer. The controversy continues due to the fact that the ADI (acceptable daily intake) of aspartame is toxic. Aspartame can cause brain damage because it’s metabolized into phenylalanine This is true especially when exposed in utero. It has also been associated with headaches particularly migraines.
- Neotame is the newest artificial sweetener and is a byproduct of aspartame. It’s 7,000 to 13,000 times sweeter than sugar and has been approved by the FDA as a general-purpose sweetener since 2002. So far, it has no known toxicity.
Regular use of artificial sweeteners can be damaging to your cells and DNA. Artificial sweeteners can cause issues with insulin resistance, which leads to a lack of weight loss results.
A study tested sweet perception with diabetic and non-diabetic people. Various amounts of sugar were dissolved in water, and those who were more insulin-resistant (diabetic) could hardly taste any sugar. Only people with healthy insulin receptors and healthy glucose metabolism could perceive the smallest amount of sugar in water. What does this mean? If they blinded their taste receptors with high doses of artificial sweeteners, they’re going to need more sugar to perceive the taste of sweetness.
I suggest using less and less sweetener until you learn to drink things that aren’t sweet at all. Your taste for sweetness will become much more refined and you’ll crave less sugar.
Learn more about how to reverse insulin resistance in my Hormone Reboot Training.
So to answer the question, are artificial sweeteners safe? No, not exactly.
I advise you to use them with caution or cut them out completely. If you’re pregnant, avoid artificial sweeteners at all costs.
*Statements not reviewed by the FDA.