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Artificial Sweetners; Yay or Nay?

The most common form of sugar used both for cooking and baking in this part of the world is the highly refined cane sugar which could either be granulated or cubed. There are however several other forms of sugar. There are also liquid sweeteners like honey gotten from bees and maple syrup gotten from the maple tree, as well as an increasing number of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes are food additives that provide a sweet taste like that of sugar but contain a significantly lower amount of calories.

If your goal is to shed the extra pounds and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time without the fear of calories, then artificial sweeteners is your best choice. Sadly, recent research has shown that this is not always the case. Here are five reasons to reconsider using artificial sweeteners;

They Are Genetically Modified: Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, neotame and erythritol can all be made from corn, soy or sugar beets. In the United States for example, a vast majority of these crops have been genetically altered to resist the harmful effects of pesticides.

They Trick Your Taste Buds: Exposing your taste buds to artificial sweeteners overtime makes them less receptive to natural sources of sugar like honey and fruits, thus forcing you to consume sweeter and sweeter foods.  Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than table sugar, and Neotame, an emerging alternative to Aspertame is about 7000 times sweeter than table sugar. Stevia is about 300 times sweeter than natural sugar.

They Trick Your Gut: According to Susan Swithers, a leading researcher of artificial sweeteners, your gut gets confused when you consume zero-calorie-but-super-sweet artificial sweeteners. The sweet taste of the sweeteners tricks the brain into thinking you are consuming a high-calorie food when in fact, the opposite is the case. This thus affects the way your gut utilizes the food and interferes with your body’s hunger signals.

They affect Your Hormones: Insulin, the hormone that regulates the blood sugar level is affected negatively when you consume artificial sweeteners. When you consume these zero-calorie sweeteners, your body still releases insulin as if you took sugar. This thus leads to a spike in blood sugar level, which increases cravings. They also prevent your body from producing GLP-1, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels and feelings of satiety.

They Make You Overeat: According to Natasha Turner, the author of The Super-Charged Hormone Diet, artificially sweetened foods could trick you into overeating because of the way they feel in your mouth. “The taste and feel of food in your mouth influences our learned ability to match our caloric intake with our caloric need”.

They Increase the Risk of Diabetics: According to a study from the University of Texas found that people who drank diet soda were 65% more likely to be overweight than people who drank no soda and more surprisingly, they were more likely to be overweight than people who drank regular soda.

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