Millions of Americans count on artificial sweeteners to help them cut back on calories. However, there are conflicting reports about these sugar substitutes’ effectiveness and safety. To help you make the best choices for you and your family, here are some things you should know. Understanding the Facts About Artificial Sweeteners
1. Consider using Stevia. This natural herbal ingredient is classified as a dietary supplement rather than an artificial sweetener. While the FDA hasn’t approved Stevia as a sweetener, the plant itself has been used for centuries in South America and Japan.
2. Stay up to date on research. With so many of these substances in widespread use, they’re constantly in testing. There’s always something new to learn about them, and sometimes experimental results are surprising.
A recent trial by the University of Texas found that diet soft drink users experienced 70 percent greater increases in waist circumference compared with non-users. A related study also found that aspartame raised blood sugar in diabetes-prone mice.
3. Artificial sweeteners may alter your body’s natural signals. Some studies suggest that sugar substitutes may confuse our bodies. Throughout most of human history, we could usually count on sweet foods to be heavy eating. Our bodies would let us know when we were eating too much. Now, however, things are different.
It seems that humans may now be less sensitive to sensory clues that indicate which foods are fattening or unhealthy. This means that we may find it challenging to tell when we’ve had enough sugar. We may likewise have difficulty determining how much of any sweetener is too much.
Although there’s no research definitively linking this tendency to the use of artificial sweeteners, speculation is rampant in the medical community. Expect to see quite a few published studies in the next few years.
Knowing the facts about artificial sweeteners enables you to make informed decisions. Keeping up with current research and being smart about using these sugar substitutes will benefit you in many ways.