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Artificial Sweeteners and Their Effects on the Body

Posted by Erin Lowry on Sep 5, 2018 9:45:00 AM

 

Artificial Sweeteners and Their Effects on the Body

Though artificial sweetener is not directly linked to cancer, research has shown us that there may be an indirect link between the two.

Every cell in our body, both cancerous and non-cancerous, requires glucose (sugar) in our bloodstream for fuel.

You do not need to eat raw sugar to get glucose into your body, consuming food with carbohydrates (such as veggies, fruits, dairy and grains) will provide your body with enough glucose to fuel the body.

If you consume a lot of high-sugar foods or artificial sweeteners, they can increase your calorie intake and eventually cause weight gain and an increase in body fat.

Body fat can cause an increased risk of common cancers and other weight-related diseases, so it is important to focus on what you eat and how much of it you are eating.

Artificial sweeteners can do more than just cause cancer, it can not only cause other diseases, but it can trick your body into thinking it is getting real sugar, which can produce too much insulin.

What Else Can Artificial Sweeteners Do to My Body?

artificial sweeteners

Though it can be hard to avoid artificial sweeteners, trying to cut out artificial sweeteners can help your overall health.

By cutting out soda and switching to no sugar added beverages (make sure no artificial sugars are added either), eating healthy snacks (like nuts, dried fruits or crackers) and using cocoa on coffee can all head reduce the amount of sugar you are putting into your body.

Artificial sweeteners have shown to block our brains from associating sweetness with caloric intake, which can cause us to crave more sweets and pick sweet foods over healthy, nutritious foods.

This can also cause us to gain weight, as our bodies and brains want sweet foods and we often give in to what our brain is telling us.

We also lose our good gut bacteria as the artificial sweeteners decrease the amount of bacteria in the gut, creating a bacterial imbalance in the gut.

This imbalance is known as dysbiosis, creating poor digestion and reduce our immune system response to any “invaders”.

Our immune system recognizes any change in our microbe diversity in our bodies, this can cause an autoimmune response which can attack our own body and cause pain and inflammation.

This autoimmune response can also cause a glucose intolerance and gastrointestinal pains.

A healthy gut does not exist unless what we put into it is healthy and safe, but sadly a lot of we eat today is processed and loaded with additives.

Artificial sweeteners also trigger an increase appetite response, which can cause weight gain and with weight gain it can cause diseases associated with weight gain.

Depending on your risk of any cancer, it may be beneficial to meet with a dietician and figure out the healthiest diet for you that avoids many artificial sweeteners.

Though it can be hard, eating healthy foods can help your body and can also keep you from feeling very tired, as artificial sweeteners can tire us and higher the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.

Researcher has yet to show what happens to our pancreas when we have artificial sweeteners are consumed.

When our tongue tastes sugar, it sends a message to the brain, that then informs the pancreas that sugar is on the way and insulin should be made to help break down the sugar and send it throughout our body for fuel.

As artificial sweeteners do not provide any calories, the pancreas and insulin are left with nothing to break down.

We are not currently sure if the pancreas waits for more sugar, or if the insulin goes elsewhere to break down other calories it can find in the body.

In a study done, researchers measured the difference in glucose break down and insulin response when the patients consumed water compared to diet soda.

Assuming the insulin remaining in the body after both drinks would be the same, the researchers were surprised.

There was about 20% more insulin after the diet soda, as the body believed it would get sugar that can turn into fuel, not artificial sweeteners that contain no calories.

The body can produce too much insulin and send it throughout the body, which can cause insulin resistance where the body doesn’t respond to glucose, leading to diabetes.

insulin

Are There Any Benefits?

There are currently a few reasons people substitute natural sugar for artificial sweeteners, such as weight loss, dental care, diabetes and hypoglycemia.

For those attempting to lose weight, it is common to reduce food energy (sugars and corn syrup) and replace those sweeteners with artificial sweeteners.

This helps them by lowering the calorie intake and can allow them to eat the foods they normally eat.

In order to prevent any form of tooth decay, sugar substitutes may be a better option, as artificial sweeteners are not fermented by the dental plaque and will not cause any tooth decay.

It is more common for liquid medications to be prescribed sugar-free now, in order to prevent cavities and tooth decay in children.

For people with diabetes it can be hard to regulate blood sugar levels, but by limiting natural sugars and substituting in artificial sweeteners it can allow them to have more variety in their diet.

By switching to artificial sweeteners there is a risk that it may release energy, but our bodies metabolize artificial sweeteners slower and allow our blood sugar levels to stay more stable.

Hypoglycemia causes an excess amount of insulin to produce after absorbing glucose (sugar) into our bloodstream.

This can cause our glucose levels to drop below the amount we need to function normally.

It is common for these individuals to switch to artificial sweeteners in order to prevent a low glucose level.

Conclusion

Though artificial sweetener is very common in many foods and beverages you can find at your local grocery store, there are some positives and negatives that come along with it.

Artificial sweeteners have not been around long enough to understand what effects it can have on our body.

Currently studies are looking into what artificial sweeteners can do to our bodies in comparison to natural sugar.

There are some benefits to artificial sweeteners, as they contain no calories and do not cause cavities, but they still need to be consumed lightly.

Any added artificial sweeteners can confuse your body, as current studies show that your body gets confused and does not know how to process the sweetener.

Knowing your personal health, and consulting with a doctor about your diet will give you a better idea of consuming artificial sweeteners or natural sugars.

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