I have been having conversations with friends regarding the fact that artificial sweeteners are not good for you. Could you shed some light on exactly why they are no better than other sweeteners such as sugar?
Foods that contain artificial sweeteners instead of sugar are not real food. Artificial sweeteners seem to be the answer to eating sweets without all the calories but there is more to it than just calories. The Food and Drug Administration’s findings in a 1974 report found that serious health risks may be connected to the use of artificial sweeteners and that they may not be as safe as we once thought. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener and we now know that it could possibly lead to such health problems as brain lesions, brain tumors, lymphoma and cancer. A 2007 report issued by the Food and Drug Administration’s states that consuming high amounts of this sweetener may be linked to cancer.
One explanation of how these illnesses relate to artificial sweeteners is to consider how the body views them. They aren’t real sugars but still are broken down and metabolized by the body. When artificial sugars are used, the body still processes food into energy but is fooled because artificial sugars cannot be broken down into useable energy. This may explain the reason why some people who consume diet products are tired and lack energy. Artificial sweeteners also trick the body into releasing the hormone insulin in preparation for absorbing and delivering anticipated sugars. When the body doesn’t get real sugar as expected, it causes us turn to other forms of sugar to satisfy our sugar cravings which grow stronger as insulin is released. This is one reason why people who drink diet soda tend to gain rather than lose weight.
When sweeteners are used sparingly they aren’t likely to cause much harm especially if other calories are accounted for in the diet.
For a more in-depth information check out this website: http://www.medicinenet.com/artificial_sweeteners/article.htm