If you are a diet soda lover, this could be bad news for you. Low-calorie drinks and snacks that are made with artificial sweeteners are likely to cause diabetes and obesity, confirms a new study.
Other health complications can be heart disease as well.
The dangers of artificial sweeteners have been well-documented. Researchers wanted a better understanding as to why the rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise, despite the availability of artificial sweeteners. So, they concluded from a test that artificial sweeteners did pose negative effects.
Types of Artificial Sweeteners
Aspartame is a sugar substitute that is odourless and looks like a white powder. It is measured to be 200 times sweeter than regular sugar. Aspartame is often used as a sweetener in beverages, gums, gelatines, and frozen desserts. It is not considered a good baking sweetener, since it breaks down the amino acids in it when cooked.
Cyclamate is another artificial sweetener, which is measured to be around 30 to 50 times sweeter than common sugar. This artificial sweetener is the least effective among the list of them all. Currently, cyclamate is banned in the United States; however, it is used in more than 130 countries.
Saccharin is measured to be 300 to 500 times sweeter than common sugar. This artificial sweetener is used to enhance the tastes and flavours of a toothpaste, dietary beverages, cookies, candies, dietary foods and medicines. Though saccharin has been approved safe for use in many countries, the level of usage is completely restricted.
Stevia is commonly used because it is low in calories and low in glycaemic index. This artificial sweetener is found to be 100 to 300 times sweeter than sugar.
The Top 10 Dangers of Artificial Sweeteners
- It Can Cause Cancer
According to research, regular usage of artificial sweeteners can result in blood cancer or brain cancer. Some studies have confirmed the strong links between artificial sweeteners and various diseases like chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, neurological effects and metabolic disorders. So, consumption of artificial sweeteners should be as limited as possible.
- It Can Lead to Depression, Bipolar Disorder & Panic Attacks
The use of artificial sweeteners can create severe conditions of depression, bipolar disorder and panic attacks. A person suffering with bipolar disorder can have extreme mood swings. Consuming artificial sweeteners in large amounts can also lead to depression, which then must be controlled by medications. To avoid such conditions, one should completely stop taking these artificial sweeteners or decrease their intake.
- Chemical Ingestion
Artificial sweeteners are developed artificially to mimic the sweetness that naturally made sugar can produce. They are not packed with calories; however, they are made using synthetic or man-made substances. This can cause issues like chemical ingestion, which the body isn’t designed to deal with.
- Increased Sugar Cravings
Though artificial sweeteners are popular for giving a sweet taste to beverages, the likelihood of increasing sugar cravings through artificial sweeteners is still unavoidable. Artificial sweeteners might not completely satisfy the brain’s desire for natural caloric sweet ingestion, according to a study from the University of California.
- Causes Weight Gain
Artificial sweeteners do not appear to help people in losing weight. People who regularly consume them by drinking one or more artificial-sweetened beverages a day have a higher risk of health issues like being overweight or it leading to obesity. Artificial sweeteners directly affect the composition of your gut bacteria which is linked to weight gain. There is an assumption that they are zero calories, so they will not cause any harm.
- Risk for Pregnant Women
Research has shown that artificial sweetener exposure to pregnant women could possibly affect the foetal development and increase cancer risks. Another noted study found that regular intake of soft drinks which contain artificial sweeteners may expose pregnant women to pre-term delivery.
- Metabolism Disruption
A noted study found that frequent usage of artificial sweeteners, especially in the form of beverages, might lead to overeating and metabolism disruption. Food and beverages with artificial sweeteners impede the learnt responses of the body that control glucose homoeostasis and energy, which will eventually lead to the disruption of the body’s normal metabolism.
- Increases Risk in Children
There are numerous studies which show the negative effects and consequences of a high-sugar diet in children. Children often consume soft drinks, soda, sweet foods, etc. that are packed with artificial sweeteners that lead to obesity and diabetes. So, moderate consumption of these foods and beverages should be ensured.
- Memory Loss
Some noted studies have shown that regular consumption of artificial sweeteners in beverages could damage the brain’s cerebellum, thereby leading to memory loss. They are apparently neurotoxic, since it attacks the neurons in the brain. Experts have also proven that excessive use of artificial sweeteners can also result in Alzheimer’s disease, which also causes loss in memory.
- Hormone Issues
Consuming artificial sweeteners daily has a spill-over effect on the insulin hormone. When your tongue tastes a sweet flavour, with or without calories, the body will automatically release insulin as it does when eating plain sugar. An increase in insulin could trigger blood sugar spikes that will cause increased cravings, which will lead to overeating.