I don’t recommend artificial sugars at all. Over time they all get shown to have some substantial side effects. If you want to learn about the neurological problems aspartame (aka NutraSweet) causes, there are a host of books available including a movie called Sweet Misery. Splenda is sugar that is run through chlorine, and then they try and remove the chlorine. A Duke University study has shown Splenda to contribute to obesity (see below). Also, the journal of head and face pain has linked Splenda with migraine headaches. Saccharin (Sweet n Low) side effects include nausea, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, excessive urination, and even tongue blisters, and of course who can miss the label reminding us of the research on lab rats, that proved a causal link to cancer.
So what can you do?
Your best option is stevia is an herb that tastes sweet, yet if you use too much it will get better. However, in rare cases I have seen stevia cause migraine headaches.
Xylitol also seems to be a good option, as it is a sugar alcohol, and is touted by dentists, as being good for your teeth. In some people however, it will cause some digestive issues. They recommend increasing the dose slowly. Even though this option has been around for a while, I recommend caution as we don't have enough data on what large doses of this would do.
Looking at traditional diets, Grade B maple syrup or molasses is a good option, but this will have an effect on your blood sugar. Secondarily, some local raw honey may be ok as well, but again too much of this will push your fructose and create other problems, so it is recommended less often. You can often sweeten using a little fruit, like squeezing an orange.
The basic principle in the United States we have developed a sweet tooth that we just need to be careful about having too much sweets.
Below is more detailed information on these three unnatural sweeteners. Thank you to their authors:
Aspartame aka NutraSweet
The following was Extracted from Nexus Magazine, Volume 2, #28 (Oct_Nov '95) and Volume 3, #1 (Dec '95_Jan '96). PO Box 30, Mapleton Qld 4560 Australia.
Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods. Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death as recently disclosed in a February 1994 Department of Health and Human Services report.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.
The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:(5) Headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pains, fatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain), sleep problems, vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness.
It has been shown that ingesting aspartame, especially along with carbohydrates can lead to excess levels of phenylalanine in the brain. This is not just a theory, as many people who have eaten large amounts of aspartame over a long period of time and do not have PKU have been shown to have excessive levels of phenylalanine in the blood. Excessive levels of phenylalanine in the brain can cause the levels of serotonin in the brain to decrease, leading to emotional disorders such as depression.
Methanol [also a part of aspartame] breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde in the body. Formaldehyde is a deadly neurotoxin. An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." The recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit
Splenda Artificial Sweetener Shown to Contribute to Obesity and Poor Intestinal Health
Posted by Mike Ferrara Thursday, October 02, 2008 4:19 PM EST
A Duke University study just published in The Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health suggests that the artificial sweetener Splenda, touted by its producer, McNeil Nutritionals, as a healthy, sugar- and calorie-free alternative to table sugar, may actually cause significant health problems.
According to the study, the consumption of Splenda (the brand name for the generic manufactured chemical sucralose) contributes to obesity, destroys the “friendly” intestinal bacteria necessary for colon health and the prevention of colon cancers, and inhibits the proper absorption of prescription drugs.
Splenda, marketed in the form of crystals in little yellow packets, was introduced in late 1999, and since then has gained roughly two-thirds of the $1.5 billion artificial sweetener market, steadily edging out its rival Equal (aspartame), which has been linked to certain cancers and other serious problems, partly due to the public perception that Splenda is a healthier product because according to its slogan, it’s “made from sugar.”
Technically, sucralose begins as sugar, but the final product is made by replacing some of the natural molecules found in sugar with chlorine atoms, which places Splenda in the same chemical category (organochlorides) as the deadly pesticide DDT.
While it’s safe to consume some organochlorides, such as those naturally found in beans and seaweed, the burden of proof for the safety of Splenda must lie with its producer. Another study by the Journal of Head and Face Pain has suggested the sweetener to be a trigger for migraines. At extremely high doses, it has also been shown to alter the DNA as well as break down the immune systems of rats. Until more is definitively known about this dubious product, it would be wise to limit your use of it.
Sweet n Low
Since 1981, government reports have listed saccharin as an “anticipated human carcinogen.”
According to The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a committee of non-governmental scientists, the National Toxicology Program's Board of Scientific Counselors, reviewed saccharin data and concluded in 1997 that saccharin should still be considered a cancer risk.
Also, an often overlooked Sweet ‘N Low danger is that it can cause allergic reactions. Saccharin is a sulfonamide compound, which can cause allergic reactions in people that can’t tolerate sulfa drugs. Common allergic reactions include breathing difficulties, headaches, skin irritation, and diarrhea. Anyone who is allergic to sulfa products should avoid Sweet N Low.
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