Almost everyone these days has heard that we need to limit our sugar intake. Excessive sugar intake can result in a variety of health issues including obesity, organ damage, diabetes, and energy crashes. Luckily, the food industry created artificial sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners usually provide no “added” calories and are not classified as “sugar.” This is good, right? Well, not so fast.
I’m a strong advocate of avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Since artificial sweeteners were created in a lab, I avoid them whenever possible. Let’s explore just a few of the reasons that I have chosen to avoid artificial sweeteners.
Let’s say you’re craving a soda but you also don’t want the sugar and added calories. So you opt for a diet soda. Zero calories, AND satisfies the craving. For a short while. There is growing evidence that your taste buds essentially become de-sensitized to sweets. I have known several people that will drink upwards of 5 diet sodas in a day and not realize that it’s because they have essentially changed the way their taste buds work. Normally, when a sweets craving hits I would suggest fruit. But if you’ve been consuming diet sodas regularly, even fruit won’t satisfy your craving.
Artificial sweeteners also effect your insulin. Your body can not determine the difference between sugar and artificial sweeteners. So, when you consume the artificial sweetener your body still reacts by releasing insulin. Insulin will then cause your blood sugar to spike which, in turn, leads to an increase in cravings.
Interestingly, if you google “artificial sweeteners linked to diabetes” you will find a TON of articles that discuss that this is a possibility! Wait! Didn’t we switch to artificial sweeteners to avoid diabetes?!?! While there are no definitive studies linking the two, there are correlations. That’s enough for me to question it and avoid it!
For me, the number one reason I am against artificial sweeteners is the likelihood that they are from a genetically modified crop. A majority of the artificial sweeteners are derived from corn. Unfortunately, here in the US a majority of our corn production is now from genetically modified crops. I’ll save this disaster for another post, but for now, anything from GMO’s is a no-go for me.
So what’s the solution? I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I try to live and eat healthy and the other 20% in moderation. So, I try to curb my sugar cravings from natural sources such as fruit. However, if it’s a special occasion I will enjoy a few bites of something sweet. But I try to make it of real sugar, not artificial. If I can keep my sugar intake in moderation, then I don’t need to worry about swapping it out for a potentially even more harmful artificial form! What are your thoughts?