Whenever we went out as a family to a restaurant we would search out the table for the blue, pink, and yellow packets next to the salt, pepper, and ketchup containers. As kids, we weren’t searching for these artificial sweeteners to add a bit of spunk to our food or coffee; we loved playing the “packet game” with them! You could decide on whether to choose one, two, or three packets at a time on your turn. Winner was the one who wasn’t stuck picking the last packet up. (hint: if you ever play this game remember five is your friend. My older siblings figured that out long before I ever did). Little did we know how harmful these sweeteners are to the body.
The three most common artificial sweeteners today are saccharine, aspartame, and sucralose. Researchers have found that these artificial sweeteners affect our bodies in 3 areas.
These artificial sweeteners trick your pancreas into believing you have consumed a large amount of sugary foods so it produces more insulin to break down all that sugar, when in reality you only ate a small packet of sugar. It is like, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”… After enough times of being tricked, your pancreas stops producing this hormone called insulin, leading to diabetes.
There is a part in our brain that is known to satisfy your so called, “craving” so that you don’t overeat/consume too many calories. When you use artificial sweeteners, this “numbs” that part of the brain. Thus, you consume more calories because you never feel satisfied, leading you to overeat.
These sweeteners dull your taste buds. This is a problem because natural sugars found in fruit don’t taste as sweet and satisfying anymore. Sweet is no longer sweet to you.
- Read the labels, if you can’t comprehend an ingredient, it is probably a good idea not to eat/drink it.
- If you use artificial sweeteners try halving the amount per week until you don’t need them anymore.
- Throw away the artificial sweeteners and use coconut sugar, even table sugar is a better option; also, honey or agave are great alternatives
- Limit intake of diet sodas (they are filled with these artificial sweeteners).
- If something you are eating/drinking doesn’t have calories read the label carefully, there probably is some chemical in it. It is kind of like the saying, “nothing in this world comes free!”