Artificial sweeteners have been masked with mystery ever since their creation. They were discovered back in the 1870s in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University by two researchers who were working on coal tar derivatives. When one of the researches mistakably sampled some of their product while smoking a cigarette and found it to be incredibly sweet.
If that doesn’t get your taste buds watering, I don’t know what will.
Artificial sweeteners are an extended hangover from the introduction of processed foods. They were created during the low-fat, no-fat, calorie-free days, when we believed calorie-free chemicals to be superior to whole foods. Over the years, we have learned much more about what the human body needs to thrive and have discredited the belief that fake foods are any substitute to real, whole foods. But yet we still find many today clinging to their blue, green, pink or yellow packets.
Artificial sweeteners were heralded for their ability to add sweetness without impacting blood sugar. This was of particular attraction for anyone looking to decrease their odds of developing diabetes later in life. However, the science behind artificial sweeteners has been anything but promising and we may have just uncovered that they are in fact doing just the opposite.
In a recent findings, scientists have discovered that artificial sweeteners may actually be disrupting the bodies ability to regulate blood sugar. Meaning that overtime, our body is becoming less able to stabilize our blood sugar levels causing our blood glucose levels to rise higher after a meal and come down slower. Leading to an overall high blood glucose.
Why didn’t we discover this association earlier? The cause of this disrupt was occurring in a different pathway of our body all together.
What researchers found:
They found that artificial sweeteners may be altering the population of bacteria present in an individuals digestive tract. Our gut bacteria is involved in the breakdown of glucose, which impacts the rise and fall of blood glucose levels. What research found was that when artificial sweeteners were introduced into the diet of both mice and humans, it altered the population of bacteria present changing the pathway in which glucose is metabolized. This ultimately leads to a state of glucose intolerance. Meaning that our blood glucose levels rise higher after eating and decline more slowly.
In a nut shell, the consumption of artificial sweeteners leads to higher blood glucose levels overtime. The very condition we were hoping to avoid by using artificial sweeteners in the first place.
What does this mean for you?
In light of this research, it is a good idea to take inventory of how much artificial sweeteners you use in your daily life. Here are some areas to think about:
Do you add it to your coffee or tea?
Do you chew gum with artificial sweeteners?
Do you drink diet drinks of any kind; soda, sports drinks, energy drinks or juices?
Look at the nutrition label, if it has artificial sweeteners in it they will be listed in the ingredients. Here are some key words: Sorbitol, mannitol, saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K), neotame.
Now, I am not proposing you swap out artificial sweeteners for regular sugar one for one. It depends on how much artificial sweeteners you are taking in in the first place. Sweet things, both regular sugar and artificial sweeteners, have shown to increase our propensity for sweet things, so the more regularly you eat or drink sweet items the more your taste buds crave that sweetness. It might take you hitting the reset on your taste buds to begin reducing your preference for sweet tastes.
A great way to reset your taste buds is through a Ripe Stuff Cleanse or a whole foods diet that does not include in refined sugar.
Moral of the Story:
We should all be eating more whole foods and looking for sweetness from natural sources that also contain fiber to help our bodies naturally balance our blood sugar. Think about quenching your sweet tooth with things like berries or other fruits, dates or even try adding some sweet spices like cinnamon and vanilla to your dishes. An occasional sweet treat is also never shunned, just make sure it’s worth it!
I will leave you with this…Artificial Sweeteners have not been around long enough for scientists to conduct any longterm research on how they affect human health. The US is the largest consumer of artificial sweeteners in the world. Therefore, the US is the largest science experiment on what the longterm effects of artificial sweeteners are on our health. I don’t know about you but I’m not into being a guinea pig. Know what you are putting into your body.
In Health & Happiness,