I dropped artificial from sweeteners from my diet a long while ago, it wasn’t easy but it has been worth it. This is coming from someone who would sweeten their coffee with splenda and drink a few diet drinks a day on top of a bunch of gum sweetened with aspartame.
The reason I quit was not because I was having any adverse reactions. Rather that I saw it as an addiction of sorts and something so unnatural that it must have damaging effects on the body. Whether they are immediate or long term I am unsure. Saying this their is growing evidence linking artificial sweeteners with:
- Obesity/Weight Gain
- Insulin Resistance
- Psychological Disorders (Anxiety, Depression and Brain Fog)
- Sugar Addiction
Take for instance this study linking Artificial Sweeteners with weight gain in rats.
Scientists at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, studied rats that were fed food with the artificial sweetener saccharin and rats fed food with glucose, a natural sugar.
In comparison to rats given yogurt sweetened with glucose, those that ate yogurt sweetened with saccharin went on to consume more calories and put on more weight and body fat.
The researchers said sweet foods may prompt the body to get ready to take in a lot of calories, but when sweetness in the form of artificial sweeteners is not followed by a large amount of calories, the body gets confused, which may lead to eating more or expending less energy than normal.
This is pretty worrying considering that most people are using artificially sweetened products in an effort to lose weight and be “healthier” and I can say for certain that they are not helping in either of those areas. And are most probably having detrimental effects in both areas.
Identify Artificial Sweeteners In Your Diet
Most people think they are hardly getting any sorts of articial sweetener each day, Little do they know small bits can add up. Think about it this way – you may just have 1 diet drink per day and some flavoured whey protein after the gym, plus a few sticks of sugar free gum. Add that up and it amounts to a pretty sizeable amount of chemicals ingested everyday, now compound those days and think about how much you are getting each month or year.
Some of the most common sources of Artifial Sweetners in the modern diet are:
- Diet Drinks
- Low Calorie flavoured Yoghurts
- Sugar Free Gum
- Flavoured Whey Protein
These are all things we can see being consumed everyday in our society. What is more worrying though is that they seem to be more popular with people trying to improve their health and lose weight – Think gym goers and serial dieters. This is because these diet foods are the perfect “free” food to tide people over to the next meal or mask the flavour of things that we just don’t want to eat or drink. Often they are packed into caffeinated beverages like Coke, Coffee and Tea making for a double disaster to your health.
Inform yourself of the dangers
Before we take action we must want to change. And therefore getting clued up on the dangers of Artificial Sweeteners is the first step. There are a host of websites detailing many of the potential dangers (I have put a few at the bottom of the article). And here is a great video I cam across it is quite long but worth the watch.
One thing to take into account is that some of these sites employ scare mongering tactics, and although the dangers are real they can sometimes be overblown. So take what you read with a pinch of salt.
Cut down the intake steadily
Slow and steady wins the race. – Aesop
There is no need to go cold turkey if you currently have artificially sweetened things in your diet. Rather cut things out slowly, here is how I cut out Diet Drinks, Flavoured Protein and Chewing Gum……..
- Reduced my consumption of diet drinks
- Started buying unflavoured Whey Protein
- Stopped all diet drinks
- Reduced my consumption of Sugar Free gum
- Totally cut out Artificially Sweetened products
So as you can see it took me a while but eventually it was done. And although I am by no means perfect now I rarely have artificial sweeteners bar the odd piece of gum and maybe a diet drink once or twice a year.
Trust that you are doing what makes sense
Many of us will feel fine in spite of consuming loads of artificial sweeteners and ultimately the choice is for you to make on whether you want to reduce your consumption. One thing that really make me make the switch was that “It Made Sense” I knew that these chemicals and man made sweeteners must be causing some pretty bad stuff to happen within my body. After that I did some reading about the dangers and how artificial sweeteners can have a damaging effect on the metabolism and thought enough is enough.
Considering there is also a link between Artificial Sweeteners and chronic dieting and the consumption of empty calorie foods. I think it is important to cut the stuff from your diet not only for the effect they may have on the body right now but we should also take into account the long term consequences and the potential damage this stuff may do over 20 or 30 year……