Be it a healthy breakfast or a sumptuous lunch, sugar is inevitable to our meals. Also, we are extremely fond of desserts and prefer ending our day’s meal on a sweet note every time. Of course, natural sugars have been satisfying our sweet tooth for decades, however, to satiate the sweet cravings of a diabetic patient or a fitness freak, artificial sweeteners come to rescue. Amidst a tough debate on artificial sweeteners vs benefits of natural sweeteners, the latest research and surveys confirm that artificial sweeteners come with a baggage of badness and tend to cause adverse effects on us.
Some FDA-approved artificial sweeteners are readily available all over. In the list, we have Sucralose, Aspartame, Saccharin, and others. Despite the approval, there’s little research to support the idea that they are healthier. Let us look at some of the artificial sweeteners’ side-effects in the following section.
- Triggers weight gain and higher BMI – Disrupting the popular myth that artificial sweeteners help in weight management, studies say that in actual sense, they are about 200 to 20,000 times sweeter than natural sugar and hence are addictive. Due to such an addiction, people often end up overeating and increasing their Body mass index. Moreover, there are artificial sweeteners like Aspartame, that contain calories as well. And their repeated intake lands you in extreme weight gain.
- Alters the microbial action inside your gut – Artificial sweeteners do impact the soundness of your gut health by interfering with the gut microbes. They kill the good bacteria of your gut and disrupt normal functioning.
- May be linked to bladder cancer – According to a 1970 research, the artificial sweetener ‘Saccharin’ has the chances of being linked to bladder cancer. However, there’s no such strict confirmation about the fact. But the fatal possibility cannot be ignored either.
- Affect your hormones – According to some data, artificial sweeteners are known to cross the blood-brain barrier and interfere with the hippocampal function. This in turn impairs the sensitivity to interoceptive signals, makes the working of the appetite hormones irregular, and ushers greater food intake. The disruption of your normal appetite function results in non-functional food receptors that allows no control over your food intake. There is no signaling function between your brain and receptors when you are full and don’t’ require more intake.
- May be linked to several gastrointestinal issues – Knowing the fact that artificial sweeteners do impact your gut health, it is obvious that they must be behind your gastrointestinal issues. Artificial sweeteners like Acesulfame potassium (to be associated in particular) are known to cause gut dysbiosis that makes one suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal bloating, and stomach ache. It also decreases the ability to absorb essential nutrients from your food, and weaken the immune system of the body. Furthermore, it can increase the risk of getting attacked by a host of chronic inflammatory disorders due to the weakened immune response.
So all you diet coke lovers, it’s high time that you stop believing in weight-control myths like crazy and start realizing the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners. Although artificial sweeteners vs sugar is a continued journey nullifying the pros and cons of each other to present a balanced proportion, it is to be understood that it is not the matter of winning or losing a game. Instead, it is the importance of human health and the continuation of the human race. Even though artificial sweeteners are not considered to be that bad or harmful, realizing its positive outlook in some of the diabetic patients, however, its effect is beyond just diabetes. So on that note, be careful before picking an artificial sweetener the next time. After all, there’s no alternative to the natural sweeteners.