Nutrition and Labeling - Are artificial sweeteners bad for you?




Sharmsluv
03-12-2012, 03:18 AM
I recently purchased a pack of artificial sweeteners called Lo-Kal which has Asparatame. I read on the internet (after buying the sweetener) that Asparatame is not good for your health.

I got the artificial sweetener to add to the lime juice that I drink almost everyday (once a day). I am trying to lose weight and I add the artificial sweetener to the juice hoping it'll have a positive effect on my body. Please let me know if its safe to consume and if it would help me lose weight or not. Thank you :)

Oh and I stopped drinking Diet Coke because I read this article that it increases the fat levels in your tummy area. Is it true?


threenorns
03-12-2012, 11:15 AM
yes - artificial sweeteners DO lead to weight gain, esp diet pop. chemical sweeteners are cumulative - they build up in your body - and they have all kinds of nasty potential side effects including liver damage and cancer.

if you need to/want to eliminate sugar, your best bet is a) retrain your taste buds so you just don't want it any more or b) buy stevia.

stevia is natural and has been used for centuries with no ill effects (you can grow it in your own garden):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevia

Sharmsluv
03-12-2012, 12:22 PM
Oh my gosh!! I'll throw it away ASAP! Thank you so much for your reply :)


mandalinn82
03-12-2012, 01:13 PM
There isn't any peer reviewed research to support what Threenorns said, at least that I'm aware of. Aspartame is one of the most studied molecules in the food supply, and no scientifically valid study has ever found any sort of long term health effect to using it. The FDA and equivalent departments of 90 other countries around the world have deemed it safe for consumption. There is one batch of studies that was fairly recent and did purport to show that there were health risks in rats with aspartame consumption, but that study had a LOT of methodological flaws that made the results extremely questionable.

That said, there are studies that correlated higher weights with aspartame. One thing to consider there is the difference between a correlation and a causation. What we know is that people who use artificial sweeteners tend to weigh more...that's all we know. We don't know if it's the artificial sweetener CAUSING the person to weigh more, or if when people weigh more, they are more likely to use artificial sweeteners. The only way to know that they CAUSED weight gain would be to do a double-blind trial - put some people in the study, control everything they eat, give half of them drinks with stevia and half with aspartame, and see who gains weight. Such a study hasn't been done, that I'm aware of.

The bottom line - this is a decision you're going to have to make for yourself based on your own research - there is no "right" or "wrong", clear-cut answer here. There is a great summary of the controversy around aspartame here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame_controversy

There are other artificial sweeteners, including Splenda and saccharine, that are used and widely available, and all of them have been researched for safety, with various results.

threenorns
03-12-2012, 05:46 PM
the FDA says a lot of things are safe for human consumption - hard to take them seriously considering how many on the board are employees or former employers of major manufacturers such as monsanto.

"A study presented at a American Diabetes Association meeting this week shows that drinking diet soda is associated with a wider waist in humans. And a second study shows that aspartame -- an artificial sweetener in diet soda -- actually raises blood sugar in mice prone to diabetes. "

the rest of it is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/diet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html



"Acesulfame K: What are the pros?


Acesulfame K has been an approved sweetener since 1988, and yet most people are not even aware that this is an artificial sweetener being used in their food and beverages. It is listed in the ingredients on the food label as acesulfame K, acesulfame potassium, Ace-K, or Sunett. It is 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) and is often used as a flavor-enhancer or to preserve the sweetness of sweet foods. The FDA has set an acceptable daily intake (ADI) of up to 15 mg/kg of body weight/day.



Acesulfame K: What are the cons?


The problems surrounding acesulfame K are based on the improper testing and lack of long-term studies. Acesulfame K contains the carcinogen methylene chloride. Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, depression, nausea, mental confusion, liver effects, kidney effects, visual disturbances, and cancer in humans. There has been a great deal of opposition to the use of acesulfame K without further testing, but at this time, the FDA has not required that these tests be done."

http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page10.htm


about aspartame specifically:

"Industry conspiracies: Conflicts of interest in the studies performed on aspartame and the way in which its approval was obtained is an ongoing controversy. Dr. Robert Walton surveyed the studies of aspartame in the peer-reviewed medical literature. He states that of the 166 studies felt to have relevance for questions of human safety, 74 had Nutrasweet industry (those who make aspartame) related funding and 92 were independently funded. One hundred percent of the research performed by the company who makes aspartame confirmed aspartame's safety, whereas 92% of the independently funded research found problems with consuming aspartame. Other reports of federal employees working for the companies responsible for the testing and distribution of aspartame are cited on all of the sites and books opposing the use of aspartame.

Aspartame disease: H.J. Roberts, MD, coined the term "aspartame disease" in a book filled with over 1,000 pages of information about the negative health consequences of ingesting aspartame. Dr. Roberts reports that by 1998, aspartame products were the cause of 80% of complaints to the FDA about food additives. Some of these symptoms include headache, dizziness, change in mood, vomiting or nausea, abdominal pain and cramps, change in vision, diarrhea, seizures/convulsions, memory loss, and fatigue. Along with these symptoms, links to aspartame are made for fibromyalgia symptoms, spasms, shooting pains, numbness in your legs, cramps, tinnitus, joint pain, unexplainable depression, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, blurred vision, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and various cancers. While the FDA has assured us that the research does not show any adverse health complications from aspartame, there has been some evidence to suggest that some of the following symptoms can be related to aspartame.

Headaches: One study confirmed that individuals with self-reported headaches after the ingestion of aspartame were in deed susceptible to headaches due to aspartame. Three randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with more than 200 adult migraine sufferers showed that headaches were more frequent and more severe in the aspartame-treated group.

Depression: In a study of the effect of aspartame on 40 patients with depression, the study was cut short due to the severity of reactions within the first 13 patients tested. The outcome showed that individuals with mood disorders were particularly sensitive to aspartame and recommended that it be avoided by them.

Cancer: In an initial study, 12 rats out of 320 developed malignant brain tumors after receiving aspartame in an FDA trial. There have been other studies to both support and contradict this finding. A recent study, conducted by Italian and French researchers indicates there is no association between low-calorie sweeteners and cancer. The researchers evaluated a variety of studies between the years of 1991 and 2004. These studies assessed the relationship between low-calorie sweeteners and many cancers, including oral and pharynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, larynx, breast, ovary, prostate, and renal cell carcinomas. The researchers examined the eating habits of more than 7,000 men and women in their middle ages (mainly 55 years and over). Based on the data evaluated, there was no evidence that saccharin or other sweeteners (mainly aspartame) increase the risk of cancer at several common sites in humans. The debate continues while more research is conducted.

Increased hunger: A study done with 14 dieters comparing the effects of aspartame-sweetened and sucrose-sweetened soft drinks on food intake and appetite ratings found that substituting diet drinks for sucrose-sweetened ones did not reduce total calorie intake and may even have resulted in a higher intake on subsequent days. In another study of 42 males given aspartame in diet lemonade versus sucrose-sweetened lemonade, there was no increase in hunger ratings or food intake with the diet group. Weight loss results from consuming fewer calories than your body needs. When you replace a caloric beverage with a noncaloric beverage, you will be saving calories and could lose weight if it is enough calories to put you in a negative balance. For aspartame to increase weight, there would have to be something else going on. There is not enough research to determine if something does exist so the jury is still out on this one. "


http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/page8.htm

mandalinn82
03-12-2012, 05:55 PM
Ace K and aspartame are different chemicals, so two of your links aren't directly related to the OP's question. Again, I'd recommend doing research on each artificial sweetener you are considering using. Ace K is another one, it's often combined with Splenda in products, so check for it if you want to avoid it.

I'd agree with you if only one group had found aspartame safe (I'm no big fan of the US FDA either). But that doesn't explain the 90 other countries who have also declared it safe, many of whom have much, much stricter food safety standards than we do. French authorities affirmed the safety of aspartame as recently as 2011. The entire EU (which again, is a lot stricter on food safety than the FDA) has established acceptable doses of aspartame to be close to those in the US (I think the daily acceptable limit in the EU is a bit lower, 40 mg/kg to 50 mg/kg if I'm remember correctly).

I don't disagree that larger waists and, in fact, weight gain are correlated with artificial sweetener use. But correlation can't answer the question of cause. In other words, people with larger waists might use more artificial sweeteners in an effort to make their waists smaller, or people who use artificial sweeteners might be influenced to eat more than the otherwise might...neither of those would mean that aspartame caused the waist or weight gain. That's the limitation of a study on correlation.

I'd love to read the original mouse study you mentioned. The press release from the researchers mentions "heavy aspartame use", so I wonder particularly about dosing there.

I am not advocating artificial sweeteners, by the way. My personal consumption choices and research have caused me to limit most of them from my diet. But the research simply isn't there to directly link them to causing obesity or larger waists, or to say that in normal/moderate doses, they have any significant health effects.

threenorns
03-12-2012, 06:39 PM
the logic flies:

the first step in digestion is taste.

when you taste food, it sets of a chain of events. if you taste "sweet", your body begins to mobilise insulin.

so here you intake a chemical that is radically sweet but doesn't actually have any bioavailable sugars. the insulin comes in - and there's nothing there so now there's an insulin reaction leading to cravings and a subsequent binge.

it's like all those fat-reduced yoghurts: i do WAY better with the full-fat yoghurt because i can eat one at 110cal and feel satisfied. those fat-free yoghurts at 40 per, i have to down 4 or 5 of them to get the same feeling that i've actually consumed something in the last little while. doesn't matter if they're fat-free, i've still knocked back 50-90 extra calories.

fat-free/sugar-free/"guilt-free" (LOVE that label, don't i just) is just a mind game played by companies to get us buying their stuff.

do you know how easy it to bake bread? flour, water, salt, yeast - that's ALL. you don't need anything else, not even sugar.

brown sugar - it's white sugar in a food processor with molasses.

butter - get some whipping cream, put it in a jar, shake the living daylights out of it for about 10min, put it in a bowl, rinse under cold running water, then drain it all out (cheesecloth helps here). voila - *pure* butter.

and so on and so on.

even pop - it's perfectly feasible to make an excellent ginger ale at home, using your own ingredients, 100% natural, complete with bubbles only this stuff actually is good for you - okay, you can't knock it back by the litre the way you can the chemically-sweetened stuff but you won't want to - that being the point of eating real food vs fake.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/ginger-ale-recipe/index.html

mandalinn82
03-12-2012, 06:56 PM
Some people definitely find that to be true. Other people (posters here, real people) do not find that to be true. I can name several long-term maintainers off the top of my head who opted to use artificial sweeteners.

Some people can't do that and DO find that they contribute to additional cravings and overeating. I can name as many people here who have that reaction as those that do well with artificial sweeteners.

Then there are people like me - I don't have a philosophical problem with small amounts of aspartame, but it gives me migraines, so it's a no-go. Small amounts of Splenda/sucralose, on the other hand, don't bother my head, or make me crave sweets appreciably more, so they make it into my diet in moderation.

I recommend that everyone first, do their own scientific research (is there scientific evidence that X is bad for me), and then, do their own PERSONAL research. If artificial sweeteners make you hungrier, make you crave more, that's one normal reaction, and you might consider excluding them. But if they don't, and you're comfortable with the science, there is no reason to declare them "bad" and cut them out.

threenorns
03-12-2012, 07:06 PM
i guess this is one of those "Agree to disagree" things - the only sweetener i'd consider is stevia.

i, too, get migraines and i also am prone to depression so i try to avoid the fake stuff as much as possible. it's at the point that if nobody told me, i can still taste it and it's not pleasant - and i used to drink 2 - 4L of diet coke a day!

kaplods
03-13-2012, 12:32 AM
There's so much controversy over artificial sweeteners, you may decide to be perfectly safe and avoid them all, but if that's the case, I'd avoid stevia as well (for reasons I describe below).

Personally, I'm satisfied in the relative safety of artificial sweeteners in the quantities I use them, though I would take any FDA approved artificial sweetener over stevia, because man-made food additives such as artificial sweeteners have to be proven safe before they can be sold in the USA, whereas "natural" products have to be proven unsafe (and dreadfully, often fatally so) before they can be taken off the market.

I've only found a couple studies of stevia, and both yeilded disturbing results. Birth defects of the reproductive system were found in the offspring of rat and hamster test subjects.

Often people will argue that stevia must be safe because it's been used by tribal peoples for generations, but there have been many such herbs that have been found to be unsafe (they've either always been unsafe and people didn't get sick enough or didn't associate their illness with the herb - or the modern way the herb is used is not similar to the way it's been used traditionally).

This is likely to be a problem with stevia, because as far as I've been able to determine, the use of stevia as an herb has never been anything like the use people are putting it to (refined and used in significant amounts frequently).

Until I learn more about stevia, it is the sweetener I will use least.

I'm comfortable with aspartame, because I've done a lot of digging through the pro and con literature. Not just reading them, but researching the reputation and motivations of the critics and researchers, and the journals publishing the research.

A lot of the worst "information" about aspartame and sucralose, come from unreputable sources ("urban legend" chain-email scams), and is either untrue or distorted (for example, aspartame does break down into chemicals that are poisons in large quantities or to some people with a specific genetic defect- but the're as true (or more so) for many very healthy foods. If aspartame is poisonous because of these compounds, then so are many fruits and vegetables, protein sources, chocolate... many natural foods that would be healthy for most people.

In researching the research, I would suggest that anyone using aspartame consider taking a folic acid supplement. There's clear evidence that aspartame can (if you use enough) cause a folate deficiency. This evidence crops up so easily that it makes it difficult to believe in a global conspiracy theory - because you'ld expect this effect to be suppressed as well, and is hasn't been.

Folate deficiency has long been known to be associated with both cancer, and both cancerous and benign tumors. In fact, most of the negative effects that have been found in aspartame research, and those not found in the research, but reported by individuals, can be accounted for just by the folate deficiency itself.

That's an easy fix, if you're going to use aspartame make sure you're eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and consider taking a folic acid supplement as a precaution (in so far as supplements go, it's one of the safest and cheapest).

threenorns
03-13-2012, 04:04 AM
stevia has been used in japan for 70yrs or so.

"In 1991, after receiving an anonymous industry complaint, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled stevia as an "unsafe food additive" and restricted its import.[33][63][64] The FDA's stated reason was "toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety."[65] This ruling was controversial, as stevia proponents pointed out that this designation violated the FDA's own guidelines under which natural substances used prior to 1958, with no reported adverse effects, should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as long as the substance was being used in the same way and format as prior to 1958.
Stevia, the plant, is ineligible as a natural substance for patent protection. A process for extracting its "active ingredient" could, all other legal requirements being met, be patented. As a consequence, since the import ban in 1991, marketers and consumers of stevia have shared a belief that the FDA acted in response to industry pressure.[33] Arizona congressman Jon Kyl, for example, called the FDA action against stevia "a restraint of trade to benefit the artificial sweetener industry."[66] To protect the complainant, the FDA deleted names in the original complaint in its responses to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.[33]
Stevia remained banned until after the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act forced the FDA in 1995 to revise its stance to permit stevia to be used as a dietary supplement, although not as a food additive — a position that stevia proponents regard as contradictory because it simultaneously labels stevia as safe and unsafe, depending on how it is sold.[1]
Unresolved questions remain about whether metabolic processes can produce a mutagen from stevia in animals. Early studies prompted the European Commission in 1999 to ban stevia's use in food in the European Union pending further research.[67] More recent data compiled in the safety evaluation released by the World Health Organization in 2006[57] suggest that these policies may be obsolete. Since 2008, the Russian Federation has allowed stevioside as a food additive "in the minimal dosage required".[26]
In December 2008, the FDA gave a "no objection" approval for GRAS status to Truvia (developed by Cargill and The Coca-Cola Company) and PureVia (developed by PepsiCo and the Whole Earth Sweetener Company, a subsidiary of Merisant), both of which use rebaudioside A derived from the Stevia plant.[68]"



in other words, it was ruled "unsafe" by the FDA long enough for coke and pepsi to get their digs in.

the two complaints lodged with the FDA by the public were actually inquiries about where to find it. the complaint about it's safety was by an employee of a company producing an artificial sweetener.

as for the FDA approving things that are "Safe", who do you think does the research demonstrating the safety of the product? that's right: the manufacturer themselves.

chickadee32
03-13-2012, 04:42 AM
I use artificial sweeteners in moderation. Most often in my coffee (I have one non-fat latte per day) and when I drink a diet coke (a few times/week). I haven't noticed that their use has made me crave sweets, and over time I've found I use less in my coffee than I used to. It seems to work fine for me.

And on another note that came up in this thread; I don't think fat-free dairy is a "fake" food. I personally limit my consumption of dairy fat because I have (sometimes severe) digestive issues when I consume it (but have no adverse reaction fat-free dairy), and the dairy with the fat removed still has the same health benefits as full-fat dairy.

threenorns
03-13-2012, 04:50 AM
by "fake" i was referring more to the plethora of ingredients added to compensate for the fat removal.

for example, yoplait 99% fat-free:

"Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

Yes, we’ve highlighted the added sugars, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The front of the yogurt label boldy claims it is 99% fat-free, leading a person to expect a very low calorie yogurt. Instead, 170 calories. Not a lot, but not close to zero either.

Note though, that 108 of these 170 calories are from sugar! In context: By weight, 17% of this product is sugar. 63% of the calories in Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt are from sugar!"

from http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/02/13/so-whats-inside-yoplait-yogurt-anyway/



the HFCS and sugar are added to compensate for the more acidic taste of low-fat yoghurt, while the corn starch and gelatin are added to thicken it. the lite version uses artificial sweeteners.

notice there is no "active bacterial culture"? that means you can eat it but it's basically a dairy snack product with very little of the intestinal benefits afforded by real yoghurt.


when i make yoghurt at home, it's

milk
fruit
active bacterial culture (which, btw, you'll notice is missing in the yoplait list)

and that's about it. if i'm making lemon or lime flavour, i use stevia as a sweetener.

sensualappeal
03-13-2012, 04:56 PM
YES they are BaD BAD BAD!

Try using Truvia. It's a natural no calorie sweetener.

chickadee32
03-14-2012, 02:01 AM
by "fake" i was referring more to the plethora of ingredients added to compensate for the fat removal.

for example, yoplait 99% fat-free:

"Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Low Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Corn Starch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored with Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

Yes, we’ve highlighted the added sugars, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The front of the yogurt label boldy claims it is 99% fat-free, leading a person to expect a very low calorie yogurt. Instead, 170 calories. Not a lot, but not close to zero either.

Note though, that 108 of these 170 calories are from sugar! In context: By weight, 17% of this product is sugar. 63% of the calories in Yoplait Strawberry Yogurt are from sugar!"

from http://blog.fooducate.com/2009/02/13/so-whats-inside-yoplait-yogurt-anyway/



the HFCS and sugar are added to compensate for the more acidic taste of low-fat yoghurt, while the corn starch and gelatin are added to thicken it. the lite version uses artificial sweeteners.

notice there is no "active bacterial culture"? that means you can eat it but it's basically a dairy snack product with very little of the intestinal benefits afforded by real yoghurt.


when i make yoghurt at home, it's

milk
fruit
active bacterial culture (which, btw, you'll notice is missing in the yoplait list)

and that's about it. if i'm making lemon or lime flavour, i use stevia as a sweetener.

I agree there's plenty of junk out there, but products which are fat-free or lower carb or whatever aren't necessarily bad, or at least they're not all bad/full of crap. Not every fat-free product is loaded with sugar or chemicals to account for the fat that's been removed, etc.

On the yogurt, see the Chobani 0% as an example. Here's my favorite flavor:

http://www.chobani.com/img/products/nutritionals/apple_cinnamon_0.jpg

Some sugar? Yes, from the evaporated cane juice. But nothing weird or unrecognizable. I'd call that real food, and healthy despite the added sugar.

ErBear
03-14-2012, 08:36 AM
Thanks for the info about Stevia! I can't seem to find it where I'm located (on a military base). Hopefully when we go home I'll be able to find it in the stores. Is it pretty readily available from what those of you who use it have seen?

4star
03-14-2012, 11:32 AM
"A study presented at a American Diabetes Association meeting this week shows that drinking diet soda is associated with a wider waist in humans. And a second study shows that aspartame -- an artificial sweetener in diet soda -- actually raises blood sugar in mice prone to diabetes. "

the rest of it is here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/diet-soda-weight-gain_n_886409.html


I think the link is more likely that people who are using artificial sweetners are probably already overweight and that's the reason they are using them whereas people who aren't overweight likely wouldn't bother using them at all.

I can't seem to verify this second study spoken of here. When I read about a study done on done by the American Physiological Society it read "only glucose evoked a statistically significant elevation of insulin levels" and they tested all kinds of sweetners.

I've been diabetic and personally found no affects of artificial sweetners on my glucose levels.

Some sugar alcohols cause a negligible increase in blood glucose levels but not an appreciable difference. However, this was experienced only as a small increase(still considered negligible) and it was by people who were already diabetic.






the logic flies:

the first step in digestion is taste.

when you taste food, it sets of a chain of events. if you taste "sweet", your body begins to mobilise insulin.

so here you intake a chemical that is radically sweet but doesn't actually have any bioavailable sugars. the insulin comes in - and there's nothing there so now there's an insulin reaction leading to cravings and a subsequent binge.





I am all too familiar with diabetes and have been diabetic. From my experience and the experience of diabetic people I've found the studies to hold true, artificial sweetners did not have a appreciable impact on glucose levels.

Your body will get ready to process food from lots of cues like sights and smells of food cooking and it's no doubt that could cause your neuropathways to signal "we might be eating soon", however, insulin is secreted in response to raising glucose levels. Unless those glucose levels actually rise there is no spike in blood sugars and no subsequent fall from the spike.

Again, speaking from my experience, it takes a large glucose spike to cause this fall in blood sugar that triggers binges . Even if a person managed to get their glucose levels to increase using artificial sweetners, it's doubtful that it would be enough to cause such a binge from the fall of glucose levels. Also, if a person could get this to happen, it would probably take a very badly diabetic person.

124chicksinger
03-14-2012, 11:56 AM
Well, I'll tell you what troubles me is that I avoid artificial sweeteners, only to find that companies are adding them to NON-DIET foods. Regular gum, Wrigleys--has artificial sweetener. If you contact them, they call it a flavor enhancer. My butt. Thanks, but no. Read the labels peeps, read the labels.

4star
03-15-2012, 10:45 AM
Well, I'll tell you what troubles me is that I avoid artificial sweeteners, only to find that companies are adding them to NON-DIET foods. Regular gum, Wrigleys--has artificial sweetener. If you contact them, they call it a flavor enhancer. My butt. Thanks, but no. Read the labels peeps, read the labels.

Yes, I find that very shady. My Mom is really sensitive to artificial sweetners and it bothers me that they are sneaky like that. High fructose corn syrup aggravates my acid reflux way worse than sugar and they put that stuff in everything. You really do have to read labels to protect yourself.

Artificial sweetners are in no way health foods. They are just a decent alternative for people who can't have sugars and syrups. It's a lesser of the two evils sort of thing. Hopefully, we won't find out down the road that it's all caused "new and improved" health problems....:shrug:

Veela
04-19-2012, 11:40 PM
All I need to know about artificial sweeteners is they give me terrible migraines. That to me is a particularly strong indication that it is something that I should not be introducing into my body. I also get headaches from white (processed) stevia and liquid stevia but they aren't migraines which makes me think it has been altered in a way which is not healthy. Artificial sweeteners are man made chemicals which don't serve any type of medical purpose. You can make healthy choices that don't involve adding sweeteners to your diet. Sugar alcohols are better but still I think sticking to naturals forms of sugar in it's purest most unprocessed forms are the healthiest options.
I am a big fan of honey and organic maple sugar and a little goes a long way. You can also try yacon syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar,or lucuma powder.

LAgreeneyes
04-25-2012, 12:40 PM
I use local, raw honey as my sweetener.

misski
04-25-2012, 09:54 PM
Isn't stevia a plant? It's not an artificial sweetener.

i33BabyGirl33i
04-27-2012, 07:28 PM
The genus Stevia consists of 240 species of plants native to South America. So yes it is a plant. I prefer raw honey.

threenorns
04-27-2012, 10:23 PM
my bad - too used to saying "artificial sweetener" when stevia is just a "sweetener" or "sugar substitute".

i33BabyGirl33i
04-30-2012, 01:52 AM
I have to be honest and say that I starve for sugar since I started my diet. It seriously feels like its calling my name. I guess this is what addiction is.

angelskeep
04-30-2012, 11:49 PM
Hmmm. I started on my weight loss journey after eating way too many sugary snacks and fat-filled fast food burgers. I know for a fact that *those* things helped fatten me up, especially around the middle. I started using generic splenda in my coffee the same time I started trying to lose the weight. For me, the effect of splenda has been a bit of a loss around the middle...at least I think so because I wear smaller pants. I am a dreadful caffeine addict and drink a lot of coffee each day. Sometimes I add diet dr. pepper or diet 7-up too. I decided that the health risks from the excess sugar consumption far exceeded the risks for me to use splenda in my coffee. Thankfully, I don't get migraines anymore except for one that is occasionally triggered by my husband.

IMHO, nothing is innately "bad" or "good". It has to be a form of food economics for each individual. True cost is alternative cost.

Barb

stunzorz
07-14-2012, 03:52 PM
I REALLY hate how augmented food has become. I know it is just a pipe dream, but I wish that it was possible for companies to produce sweet snacks that were simply just LESS SWEET than they are now. They would still be delicious, and our tastes would naturally adjust to the reduction in added sugar, but of course, they have to create a sugar free, artificially sweetened product than practice any moderation in the sweetening of our foods, as if calories were an all or nothing battle.

Not that I blame the companies, really. A profit is a profit, and if anything, I think it is the general public's lack of nutrition education that is doing us the most harm.

AmyAmy
08-04-2012, 12:40 AM
I just wanted to say that replacing regular coke with diet coke has helped me lose weight. None of the studies have convinced me that it's terrible for my health. I try not to drink it too often, but at the end of the day I think a consuming a 2.4 calorie diet coke and 255.6 calories worth of healthy snacks is much better than consuming a 258 calorie regular coke.

It does make me a little bit hungrier throughout the day, but not so much that I fall off the bandwagon and binge. I get around this problem by drinking it a couple of hours before lunch.

Prim2012
08-04-2012, 11:39 AM
I lost over 100 pounds and used artificial sweetners to help keep my calories in check so no I'm not in the camp that says artificial sweetners "make you gain weight". Certainly some individuals are sensitive to artificial sweetners but considering they are "0" calories (or close to), I have a hard time believing they result in a 3500 calorie increase in what your body requires which is what it would take to actually gain one pound. I will say that I have switched more to using Truvia which is extracted from the Stevia leaf because it feels more like sugar and it's a bit healthier.

JoJoJo2
08-06-2012, 09:01 PM
There are studies out there that can prove, or disprove, anything and everything. Who really knows?

On a personal note, I lost 65 lbs. and have maintained that loss for some time now by using artificial sweeteners. I do use them sparingly, but I use them. And I'm very thankful that they are available.

:wave:

kaplods
08-06-2012, 11:02 PM
There are studies out there that can prove, or disprove, anything and everything. Who really knows?



No research proves anything. It's only by a "preponderance of the evidence" that reasonable conclusions may be drawn (and no respectable researcher would argue otherwise).

One study is never used (by scientists) to "prove" anything, rather the research is replicated many times, in many ways, before the researchers are confident that their research "means anything."

No study should ever be considered proof of anything. Each study only provides a limited amount of evidence, that can only be evaluate by comparing it to and compiling it with a lot more evidence.


Unfortunately non-science based media (like women's magazines and the nightly news) report the research results in a way that no scientist ever would, but the less-sensational "truth" isn't seen as being as interesting or as news-worthy as over-simplified sensationalism.

LAgreeneyes
08-07-2012, 03:39 PM
I lost 60 lbs a few years and used artificial sweeteners every day to sweeten my tea. It helped me to lose the weight.

Satine
08-17-2012, 11:18 AM
Personal preference, I never use artificial sweetner ...don't care if it has been proven to be bad or not ...not gonna take the chance

My dad had a rare form of kidney cancer about 5 years ago and he drank nothing but 12 packs of diet mountain dew daily ...his doc said they couldn't prove the two were related but there was a good chance ...

v3r0n1k4
08-24-2012, 06:49 PM
Really sorry to hear about your dad, Satine. People just have to do the research the information is out there. Some just dont want to believe but think of it like this. Most people dont know the difference between the artificial sugars and have never even heard mention of the natural ones like stevia and xylitol or the other alcohol types now being used more commonly.

Think about this though... one of the biggest artificial sweetners actually says on the label "this product has been shown to cause cancer in rats."

Now...Im gonna take u to a pond on a nice hot summer day 104 degrees. Wow that water looks really cool and inviting, but umm...whats with all those 2 headed frogs and three eyed fish swimming around. But, hey... no one has proven this pond is bad for humans....do you still wanna get in and go for a swim?

have a small edit Id like to add in regards to the cancer in rodents thing.... didnt they start growing cells on mice a few years back for transplant to humans? I kinda remember seeing a pic of a rat with like a human ear on its bak or something strange like that. Sounds crazy I know, but I know they do use animal tissues to grow and then transplant to humans. Im sayin...if we can accept such transplants that our tissues are that much compatible... whats bad for the goose must also be bad for the gander. O M G nevermind I just sound crazy now.lol

snazzyjazzy
10-04-2012, 07:11 PM
I'm drinking coke zero right now. Mostly because I prefer the taste. I have no problem with artificial sweeteners. I've read studies that are both for and against the use and I think it's up to the individual.

CabernetKitty
10-12-2012, 10:27 AM
There isn't any peer reviewed research to support what Threenorns said, at least that I'm aware of. Aspartame is one of the most studied molecules in the food supply, and no scientifically valid study has ever found any sort of long term health effect to using it. The FDA and equivalent departments of 90 other countries around the world have deemed it safe for consumption. There is one batch of studies that was fairly recent and did purport to show that there were health risks in rats with aspartame consumption, but that study had a LOT of methodological flaws that made the results extremely questionable.

That said, there are studies that correlated higher weights with aspartame. One thing to consider there is the difference between a correlation and a causation. What we know is that people who use artificial sweeteners tend to weigh more...that's all we know. We don't know if it's the artificial sweetener CAUSING the person to weigh more, or if when people weigh more, they are more likely to use artificial sweeteners. The only way to know that they CAUSED weight gain would be to do a double-blind trial - put some people in the study, control everything they eat, give half of them drinks with stevia and half with aspartame, and see who gains weight. Such a study hasn't been done, that I'm aware of.

The bottom line - this is a decision you're going to have to make for yourself based on your own research - there is no "right" or "wrong", clear-cut answer here. There is a great summary of the controversy around aspartame here:

There are other artificial sweeteners, including Splenda and saccharine, that are used and widely available, and all of them have been researched for safety, with various results.
Thank you so much for posting this. People who have HORRIBLE dietary habits have lectured me about my use of aspartame and it's infuriating, because they can never point me to the evidence they found to back up their claims. My pre-diabetic roommate will drink a 2-liter of full calorie Coke in one day and thinks it's healthier than me having an Equal in my coffee because it's "not chemicals".

Suzanne 3FC
10-13-2012, 10:46 PM
I don't usually share this story, but maybe I should. Just because someone consumes artificial sweeteners now doesn't mean they will always be safe from potential health problems. Consider that life long consequences may not be known yet.

I used to be a firm believer in artificial sweeteners and I'm sorry to say but I kind of rolled my eyes when people said negative things about them. I believed that if they were approved by the FDA then they had to be safe. I added them to my coffee, drank diet drinks, used them in baking, etc. I don't know how much I actually consumed, but I'm sure it was a lot.

About 10 years ago, I had the most horrific headache that lasted for a month straight. I couldn't even sleep because I had nightmares about little people inside my head with hammers! It hurt so bad. I was using Sweet n Low at the time. I did a little elimination test and found that giving up Sweet n Low made the headaches go away. Later I tried adding it again and the headaches came back.

So I switched to Splenda and everything in the world was right again. I was headache free for a few years.

When I started getting headaches again, I did not relate it to the Splenda because I'd been consuming it for a long time without any problems.

I had a headache that lasted 24 hours out of every day, 7 days a week, for 4 years. It hurt so bad that I cried, had to crawl at times, and could not function. The pain was so excruciating that I started researching methods of suicide. I spent thousands of dollars on neurologists, CT scans, and medications. The doctors couldn't figure out what was causing the pain.

I decided to try an elimination diet again. The pain gradually stopped after I gave up Splenda. It took two months for the pain to leave completely. I tried Splenda again (sucralose, the ingredient in splenda) and the headaches returned. We repeated this again with the same results over an 8 month period.

I spent many years here supporting the use of artificial sweeteners and I regret it. Most people are probably fine with artificial sweeteners. Maybe they won't realize they have a problem with them until many years down the road. Who knows :shrug: Like everything else, it's a personal choice.

I retrained my sweet tooth. I drink water or unsweetened tea, and nothing else. Sugar is not the enemy - quantity is the real problem. If I eat sweets, I eat the real thing and I eat small quantities. If I really want something sweet, I'd rather spend 16 calories on a teaspoon of sugar than risk my health or my life again.

Unfortunately, my story isn't unique. I've learned that a lot of people have had similar experiences with artificial sweeteners.

masterptr
10-13-2012, 10:56 PM
I am allergic to artificial sweeteners...
can not do anything except, I found out that my body can tolerate 1 energy bar containing sucralose a day.

kaplods
10-13-2012, 11:23 PM
I don't usually share this story, ...



Even natural foods can trigger severe headaches, so elimination diets are about the only way to find out which foods are headache triggers.

For me, sugar really is almost an enemy. When I eat "the real thing," even in small amounts, the hunger it triggers is so severe I've called it "rabid hunger."

I've also used elimination diets to track my own severe health effects, and because of the reading I did in autoimmune and many grain-critical books I began to suspect grains and carbs in my health problems.

I gave up wheat and other gluten-grains, and drastically cut back on other grains and sugar. When I eat any of those foods in significant quantities (even relatively small to modest amounts of sugar - even from all-natural whole sources such as fruit), my symptoms return (not only allergy symptoms, but also IBS, and autoimmune symptoms affecting my joints, skin, and lungs. Symptoms include joint pain, respiratory difficulties and insanely itchy, painful and disturbingly ugly skin issues, that hubby not-so-lovingly refers to as "face rot").

It takes more quinoa than fruit, and more fruit than chocolate and more chocolate than wheat, but they all trigger the symptoms. The autoimmune issues are my biggest concern, because when the autoimmune disease is active, it is damaging my skin, joints and respiratory system by attacking/destroying connective tissue (for example eating a hole in my nasal septum and causing asthma/copd symptoms).

On artificial sweeteners, I do not have "rabid hunger," and my symptoms are under control and the autoimmune disease is even in at least partial remission (no sign of organ damage has been detected since I started eating a grain/carb/sugar-controlled diet - the symptoms begin to reappear when I ingest sugar or grains in significant quantities).

So for me, artificial sweeteners are less harmful than the "real thing." Because I do believe there are potential health consequences not only to sugar substitutes, but to all foods, I use the same approach with artificial sweetners as I do with natural foods - trying to avoid eating any food to excess and choosing the widest variety possible. This insures that I not only get the most benefits from the variety, I also limit the consequences of overusing any one.

So I use as little sweetener as I can, but I use a variety of sweeteners (trying to have an assortment on hand so I don't have to overuse any one).

Also, I've found that many sweetners have synergistic effects with other sweeteners (meaning that if you combine two or more sweeteners, in essense 1 + 1 can equal 3, so you can use less total sweetener by combining two or more).

I've done a lot of reading and researching on artificial and natural sweeteners, and I'm satisfied with their safety for most people, but most importantly for myself, however I've also learned that their potential side effects profiles are very similar to other foods (even entirely natural foods).

I use mostly xylitol, erythritol, Splenda, aspartame, and stevia (in my order of preference).

The less "real" sugar I eat (even from fruit) the less sweetness I want/need, so my sweetener use overall has gone down dramatically (even though I never thought I had a sweet tooth at all, because all my food triggers were sweet/savory/tangy/spicy combos like bbq and general tso's chicken).

It was the hidden sugars I was most addicted and sensitive to. Now, even if I eat more than a few pieces of fruit or a large helping of grains, or small amounts of wheat, my face will flush and feel warm/itchy almost immediately. If I continue to eat off-plan amounts of carbs and sugars, my asthma and respiratory problems start to return. I have little doubt that if I returned to eating significant amounts of "the real thing" when it comes to digestible carbs, my autoimmune disease would re-emerge as would the organ damage that was occuring at the time of my original diagnosis. It just shows that anectdotal evidence is just that - one person's experience. For me, Splenda and even aspartame seem to be less harmful than sugar.

I don't think my experience is necessarily common, but I also have no reason to believe it's rare (according to many of the autoimmune book authors, it's apparently not).

Psyence
10-17-2012, 05:43 AM
Ah, crap - I've been using sweeteners for ages now thinking I was taking the high road! definitely going to bin them now though!

Misti in Seattle
10-17-2012, 08:48 AM
I too am one who used to use a lot of fake sugar. Then at the suggestion of a friend who had given them up, I did a lot of research on symptoms they cause and realized that I had a LOT of them with no idea what was causing it. When I gave up the artificial stuff, many of the symptoms went away... things such as frequent headaches and easy bruising. Giving them up was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I've also learned to avoid ALL chemicals as much as possible, including most processed foods. I feel MUCH better since I've done this and have noticed my hair and complexion both improving.

masterptr
10-22-2012, 08:10 PM
all artificial sweeteners make me hungry ... Like CRAZY hungry
so, I just consume raw sugar or honey

CabernetKitty
10-25-2012, 06:44 PM
I too am one who used to use a lot of fake sugar. Then at the suggestion of a friend who had given them up, I did a lot of research on symptoms they cause and realized that I had a LOT of them with no idea what was causing it. When I gave up the artificial stuff, many of the symptoms went away... things such as frequent headaches and easy bruising. Giving them up was one of the smartest things I've ever done. I've also learned to avoid ALL chemicals as much as possible, including most processed foods. I feel MUCH better since I've done this and have noticed my hair and complexion both improving.
Not trying to be argumentative, just curious: Can you post the names of the studies you found that show it causes these symptoms? How do you know it was the sweetener that was causing them? How much of it were you using?

gymrat05
11-04-2012, 02:07 PM
I'm at school right now to become an RD and we had a lecture on artificial sweeteners just the other day. Basically, there's no evidence to suggest that artificial sweeteners cause cancer. The daily levels that are classified as "safe" by the government (Health Canada in my case) are 1/10 of the daily levels they believe you would need to consume daily to experience toxicity. They're exceptionally cautious about these kinds of things.

Personally, I went off artificial sweeteners and I will never use them again. For starters, I think they taste horrible and fake. Secondly, from personal experience I do believe they trigger your body into preparing to digest sugar and then disappointing it when it doesn't receive any sugar, thereby making you crave sugar. Thirdly, I've seen people experience pretty strange side effects when they've cut them out which suggests a chemical dependency and I'm not a fan of that. And finally, I've yet to see anyone address the cumulative effects of all these compounds. Sure, artificial sweeteners on their own might be safe, and conventional pesticides on their own might be safe, and propylene glycol in our shampoos might be safe but what effects will all these have when added together over a life time? Nobody knows. I'd rather be conservative.

And I drank diet coke for most of my teenage years and it did absolutely nothing to help me lose weight. I gained steadily, so I've never realized the "advantages" of consuming artificial sweeteners. I guess if you're a diabetic your argument would be different.

It's a personal choice and everyone will have differing opinions. I just thought it was interesting since we'd just touched upon this topic in lecture. :)

Visual
11-11-2012, 07:00 PM
I am taking a nutrition class and we had a discussion about this. The teacher said the experiments in the 70's that suggested that sweeteners may cause cancer had many flaws. Namely they gave enough to rats that would be the equivalent of drinking 150 cans of diet soda per day, and they got bladder cancer due to it crystalizing in their bladder, something that doesn't happen to humans. But they are still good to stay away from.

vabs
12-26-2012, 10:39 AM
I'm going to go with the actual, reputable science on this one and continue having artificial sweeteners. :)

jansan
12-26-2012, 03:40 PM
I'm going to go with the actual, reputable science on this one and continue having artificial sweeteners. :)

Same. :)

I've read as much as I could find about them over the years and am not convinced that they are harmful either physically or in weight loss efforts. I would prefer to not use them, but I don't want to use sugar anymore or go without sweet taste. I guess I consider artificial sweeteners (Splenda) a 'necessary evil', use it in moderation, and have had no negative reactions after years of use.

By the way, 'Natural' is not synonymous with 'safe'. There are many natural compounds derived from plants that are very dangerous. I would never use anything touted as 'natural' unless it's been in used widely for many, many years.

JohnP
12-31-2012, 08:15 PM
"All things are poison, and nothing is without poison; only the dose permits something not to be poisonous." Paracelsus, who pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine.

Amarantha2
01-01-2013, 12:41 AM
Same, to an extent. I use small amounts of Splenda now & then. I think it is fine for me. I am no longer influenced by the dietary philosophies of others & just don't see much problem for me in the use of Splenda. I do feel I get headaches from some sweeteners.

I'm going to go with the actual, reputable science on this one and continue having artificial sweeteners. :)

TheLauren
01-01-2013, 01:45 AM
Personally, I cannot digest artificial sweeteners. They make me incredibly sick. Even a stick of sugar free gum is enough to cause a really upset stomachs and severe headache.

Annik
07-07-2013, 11:08 PM
The Shocking Story of How Aspartame Became Legal

http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/07/the-shocking-story-of-how-aspartame-became-legal.html

JohnP
07-08-2013, 10:38 PM
The Shocking Story of How Aspartame Became Legal

http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/07/the-shocking-story-of-how-aspartame-became-legal.html

I personally enjoy good fiction as well but Aspartane has been studied quite a bit (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273230002915424). Sure, some people will have Aspartane problems. Some people will die if they eat peanuts. It doesn't mean we need to ban peanut M&Ms.

By the way - I can link you to some other good fiction. Did you know we never actually went to the moon? It's true, just google it.

JerseyPAGirl
06-02-2014, 01:52 PM
Betcha we can argue this issue until we are blue in the face.

I personally don't touch artificial sweeteners.

Bottom line....none of these chemical ladden artificial sweeteners were around way back in the day - you know, when people were actually cooking real food and baking their own bread and buying their milk from farmers.

I've read enough about them that I wouldn't touch them. They are proven to cause cancer in lab animals. And the FDA is worthless, folks.

Michou
06-02-2014, 02:03 PM
I dont touch it either, not because of what might happen, I just cannot stand that oversweet taste in my mouth enough to spit it out. I decided to limit sugar in general because to be honest I might love that piece of cake but it bites me right back. Easier to avoid than control for me that is.

mars735
06-03-2014, 12:50 AM
I've come to view sugar as a toxin worth avoiding.

Kuualoha
11-18-2014, 12:36 AM
I tend to think that people are going to have positive and negative things to say about EVERYTHING. At the end of the day, you have to look into it yourself and make the decision for yourself because there is just so many determining factors and arguments to be made either way. Chemical sweeteners/herbal sweeteners/organic sweeteners... who is to say what is the best choice for you??? ... Only you!