Are Artificial Sweeteners Okay?
Since sugar isn’t helping you get healthier, can you replace it with a non-calorie sweetener? Let’s look at the pros and cons:
Artificial sweeteners, known by such names as Sweet One, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet ‘n Low, Sugar Twin, Splenda and Truvia, do have one marked advantage over white sugar: they don’t add calories to your diet.
For Diabetes control, they are also purportedly acceptable because they are not carbohydrate, so they can’t spike blood sugars.
Possible Detrimental Affects
The controversy that has been raging for more than 50 years is whether they are actually safe in the quantities that they are being consumed. There is also the question of whether users actually reduce their caloric intake or whether they compensate for the reduced calories by eating more of something else. There is concern that artificial sweeteners retrain the tastebuds to require even sweeter foods, thus causing addictions. Finally, some of these artificial sweeteners are suspected of creating impaired glucose tolerance, which is considered to be a pre-diabetic state.
Beyond The Tip of the Iceberg
Perhaps the question to ask is not whether artificial sweeteners are acceptable, but why you need any sweetener at all. Sure, a treat is nice. But do you have to eat something man-made and refined in order to fill that desire? Can you satiate your craving with a natural food?
If you can’t answer affirmatively to that last question, then it’s time to ask, “What imbalance is driving your sugar-tooth?”
- Cravings can be caused by emotional or social cues. In that case, feed your human need for connection rather than your stomach.
- Hunger for sweets can be a sign of deficiency. Are you running on an empty tank? Would a nutrient-dense meal or snack, a drink of water, an increase in protein, a mineral supplement, or a boost of essential fatty acids fill the need better?
- Food sensitivities trigger the release of histamines and endorphins, giving you a rush. You then want more of the triggering food because of your chemical reaction to it. Avoidance and finding enjoyable activities is a better answer than continuing to indulge.
- “Yeasties and beasties” in your gut live on simple sugars. If you have an overgrowth, you might interpret their signals as hunger. The answer isn’t to eat, but to starve them out with whole foods that feed your probiotics instead.
The next time you are reaching for either sugar or Sugar Twin, ask yourself what would help you feel more whole, alive, and balanced. Need help working through those cravings? We now offer in-home classes to change your reliance on sweeteners.