Nature has supplied us with many sweet treats, some of which have been used to create syrups and granulated sugars. Sweeteners come from cane, beetroot, the agave plant, and maple trees; honey bees and corn. One might wonder why scientists and consumers needed to develop artificial sweeteners at all.
Why Were Artificial Sweeteners Designed?
A synthetic sugar substitute contains zero calories. When manufacturers added this to their soda drinks and treats, they could advertise them as “sugar-free” or “calorie-free.” With the word “diet” added to brand name fast food, soda, and junk food, companies were able to take advantage of a market made up of dieters.
These shoppers sought foods which would enable them to continue their addictive approach to food and drink without paying the consequences. One goal would have been to prevent losses as consumers realized how much sugar was in their usual bottle of lemon-lime pop.
Diabetics were also limited by the amount of sugar found in processed foods: there were few they could eat. Sugar replacements allowed them to reintroduce chocolate and other treats into their diets.
As parents and teachers began to realize the dangers of eating too much sugar, companies responded. They gave parents and their youngsters the compromise they needed.
Where Are Artificial Sweeteners Made?
Synthetic sweeteners are created in a lab, a bit like a Frankenstein’s monster. They come from natural beginnings but alterations have turned them into monsters as far as certain focus groups are concerned. Like Dr. Frankenstein, many scientists must have thought they were onto something positive: a way to help overweight and obese people win their battle with the bulge; a means of helping individuals with diabetes live normal lives.
Like Shelly’s monster, however, this one got away from its creators. Everything looked so promising in the beginning since fake sugar came from the real thing, but only nature can put the pieces together in a beautiful and healthy way.
Certain groups would say these products do offer something positive to many people. They aren’t all bad. The two sides, however, can’t seem to agree, not even when they bring science and research into the equation.
Debatable Health Concerns
Some studies show links between fake sugars and certain diseases including certain cancers. Numerous medicos and company spokespeople argue these studies are out of date or not supported by controlled testing methods. Others would argue that cant of this nature is the result of companies calling enacting damage control and hiding the facts. The FDA approves sugar replacement products but strong opinion still abounds.
If the relationship between cancer and sweeteners is not considered significant enough or lacks evidence in the eyes of regulatory bodies, consumers might want to at least beware of allergies. Some ingredients in sugar replacements cause reactions among sensitive individuals including headaches and wheezing.
When studies are funded by sweetener brands the result is justly suspected. On the other hand, when detractors conduct studies, can their findings be trusted? Consumers should always be concerned when there is no access to scientific reports. This is suggestive of a cover up. They should also beware of extreme language. Even in a war with such aggressive opposing sides, there are some pros and cons.
Names and Brands
You might know artificial sugar by names such as Sweet’N Low, Splenda, Equal, and NutraSweet. Their chemical names are Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine, etc. A healthy diet, however, would contain small amounts of honey, date or coconut sugar, molasses, or maple syrup. An even healthier diet wouldn’t contain sweeteners like these except on very rare occasions and would rely on sugars found naturally in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Weight Loss Myths
You lose weight by reducing calories: that’s not a myth. On the other hand, what if your body doesn’t know what to do with a synthetic additive in your food? How will this affect the way your body metabolizes fat?
Toxins are stored in fatty tissue, so when people collect toxins their body cannot process, they are laying down fat. There is also the concern that by taking artificial sweeteners consumers are creating a false sense of security. They are inclined to eat more than before because they are eating calorie-free or calorie-reduced foods. If their nutritional value is insignificant, they could be doing more harm than good.
The human GI tract has trouble processing refined foods, regardless of their sugar content. Reports of bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements are frequently traced to diet. On the other hand, a full diet with plenty of fiber and probiotics supports natural weight loss and enables a person to maintain a healthy weight without dieting.
Some high-fiber foods are quite sweet such as blueberries and pears. Combining these with high-fiber oats every morning adds good calories and promotes the excretion of food or toxins a person’s body hasn’t known what to do with for a long time.