The popularity of ‘Sugar Free’ products has been on the rise in recent years. Yet, with so many of us making the change with the intention to reduce our weight, are we actually making the right choice?
If you regularly consume diet drinks, chewing gums, protein bars, fruit spreads, or other diet/sugar-free products in general, the chances are that you are putting yourself at risk to many potential health issues due to presence of aspartame.
Aspartame is a popular artificial sugar substitute used in many beverages and food items. It is 200 times sweeter than table sugar with close to zero calories, making it a popular substitute for dieters. Other commonly used names include Equal, NutraSweet, Aspartic Acid, Phenylalanine and Methanol. Don’t be fooled; all of these are the same.
Artificial sweeteners are generally addictive, according to Dr Janet Hall, a popular anti-aspartame advocate. They create an artificial need for more sweetness. These altered products trap us in wanting more sweet-tasting foods with no nutritional value. There has been some 92 medical health problems reported with the US Food and Drug Administration, including abdominal pain, migraines, dizziness and hives.
In a recent study at a European cancer research centre, it was discovered that aspartame increases the risk of cancer. “Headaches” are the most common side effect related to aspartame. Many studies reveal that the subjects consuming aspartame had double the amount of migraines to those who were not. Their headaches lasted longer and they also experienced signs of shakiness and blurred vision.
Many diabetics switch from pure to artificial sugar as a healthy alternative to monitor their blood sugar levels and weight. Studies reveal that consuming aspartame can increase abdominal obesity and blood sugar levels. A study by researchers at the University of Texas revealed that, in a group of test subjects who consumed diet soft drinks, 70% gained weight. In addition, the ones who drank 2 or more soft drinks a day increased their waist circumference compared to the placebo group. The reality for diabetics is that if the food you are eating is sweet, you probably shouldn’t be consuming it. If you are after an alternative, try xylitol or stevia sweeteners.
For those of you out there consuming sugar-free or diet products with the intention of being healthy, you are better off consuming real sugar. It may contain more calories, but it is far better than poisoning your body. Natural sweeteners like date sugar, grape juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, molasses and agave nectar are all better alternatives to consider.
Those of you who are trying to reduce your weight, do not be caught up by all the marketing of ‘sugar-free’ products. This does not mean calorie-free. I continuously preach that there is no magic pill or quick fix solution. I would advise eating more whole foods, like fruits and vegetables. Any processed food would often contain sugar substitutes that offer no health benefits. Sustainable weight loss and management can only be truly achieved through a healthy lifestyle, by making the required changes to your diet and including regular exercise.
“Eat Healthy, Keep Moving and Believe in Yourself”
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