Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Artificial Sweeteners: Are They Doing More Harm Than Good?

Most of the food we eat nowadays contain at least some amount of artificial sweeteners. Be it soft drinks, baked food items, breakfast cereal, fruit juices, candy, ice cream, yogurt and the list is endless. So today let me throw some light on artificial sweeteners so that you can make a healthy choice now for a better tomorrow. 

Artificial sweeteners have come under increased scrutiny over the past few years. What was once touted as a magical way to achieve the sweet flavors in foods for those unable to consume traditional sugars, has now brought up concerns for health and safety.

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals, deemed safe for consumption by the U.S.F.D.A., which have zero nutritive value and zero calories. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says they are a good way to achieve a sweet taste while not ingesting excess calories. Calories are a direct measure of the amount of energy a food provides. Excessive calorie intake without subsequent activity to burn that energy results in weight gain, according to the traditional models of thought.

However, just because 41 percent of adults and 25 percent of US children consume these artificial sweeteners on a daily basis, does not mean you should run right out and consider them a safe way to achieve a low-calorie intake diet. A study recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that while there was no significant difference in the Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) of people consuming non-nutritive sweeteners on a short term time frame, there seemed to be an increase in the BMIs of those who consumed the non-calorie containing sweeteners over a long term time frame. The sweeteners looked at were aspartame, stevioside, and a classification defined as "non-specified nonnutritive sweetener."

Just to clarify, the particular study referenced above was published in the July 17, 2017 issue of the CMAJ and was a Meta-Analyses. This means no new research was conducted, but data from previously conducted researched was examined. The study clearly indicates the source for much of the aspartame to be from aspartame sweetened soda and/or packets of the sweetener. The stevioside was, for some reason, consumed as capsules. The result of this research indicates these nonnutritive sweeteners, over the long term, may result in increased cardiometabolic disorders, diabetes, and weight gain contributing to obesity. The 30 longer observational studies included in the meta-analyses showed those consuming these nonnutritive sweeteners are more likely to face Type2 Diabetes. While a large number of those observed were on weight loss programs, there is a large segment of the population consuming these sweeteners, but not for weight loss.

It is too easy to broadly address the issue of obesity as a general problem. According to the Calorie Control Council in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, weight loss is a multifaceted issue and weight control programs must be tailored for individuals. Issues such as activity levels, taste, and diet preferences must be taken in to account on a case by case basis. Robert Rankin, president of the Calorie Control Council, has been quoted as saying a well-rounded approach is best. Each individual should be considered. Current medical conditions must be taken into consideration. Realistic health goals need to be set. A mixed approach is key.

Something like https://purehealthyliving.net/nutrisystem-for-men/ Nutrisystem for men can be employed more safely as it provides real food, portioned out for your current weight, so that a safe deficit can be created.  You’re not losing weight too quickly and risking a metabolic shut down.  But you’re also ensuring that you get healthy food, filled with the nutrients you need during a caloric deficit as well. 

The lead author of the Canadian study, Megan Azad, cautions against the use of these artificial sweeteners until further research has been conducted. Medical News Today has sited that Azad and her team of researchers are looking at the consumption of these compounds by pregnant women and the effects on their babies and the fauna in their guts. 

Many experts are now advocating reducing your sweet cravings in general. Popular suggestions - like drinking black coffee instead of sweetened; or drinking fruit infused water; or eating plain yogurt with added fresh fruits - may reduce the way in which your taste buds crave the sweet sensation. This then may decrease the amounts of sugars or artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners consumed. Organic honey is a healthy substitute for sugar.

It is also important to note that foods which are branded as sugar free does not imply that it’s actually free of calories. Even though we may eat sugar free food, we can still gain weight if they have other ingredients which contain calories. Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables offer numerous health benefits compared to processed foods.

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