Today there are many options to sweeten drinks, but not everything is rosy, discover the truth hidden in these trends. Some of the artificial sweeteners contained in the foods we eat can affect our health in more ways than one. Many of the bakery products, beverages, processed foods, desserts, ice creams, sweets and baking ingredients that we have stored in our kitchen, can be loaded with artificial and natural sweeteners at the same time. In addition, usually, they usually have unrecognizable names.
While some sweeteners are innocent, others are not at all. Among the most harmful is saccharin, sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame potassium or acesulfame K. These in particular can affect overall health and our weight.
Effects of Sweeteners on Weight Control
Artificial sweeteners have become popular because consumers want to reduce calories without giving up the foods they like. However, these can cause a healthy diet to fail. This is because the zero-calorie content of sweeteners makes it more difficult to metabolize food correctly and, therefore, control body weight. So, where is the benefit of sweeteners for our diet? Why do the opposite happen to the results we are looking for? The answer lies in that our body is programmed to associate sweetness with high-calorie foods. Thus, for example, when we eat sweets, the signals tell the brain what happens, being able to put a cap on the intake. When the sweet taste matches the calories, they are metabolized and the area of the brain associated with the reward is satisfied.
However, when we eat foods that contain artificial sweeteners without calories, the metabolism is deceived. As a result, the body understands that it needs more calories. Therefore, the desire to eat more food intensifies. This produces a counterproductive effect on our diet, inducing the increase in body weight.
“When the sweet taste and calories do not align, either by default or by excess, the body’s metabolism is deceived and does not record the calories consumed”.
This is what produces an imbalance in the control of body weight.
The Dangers of Aspartame
Pepsi Diet went on the market 50 years ago with the intention that consumers linked sugar-free soft drinks with weight loss. However, over the years there has been concern about whether they are safe or not. Aspartame is perhaps the best-known artificial sweetener and also the one with the worst press. It is an alternative to sugar, a fatty acid created from aspartic acid and phenylalanine. Upon entering the body, aspartame is transformed into phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol immediately. Then, during its metabolism, methanol is transformed into formaldehyde, considered carcinogenic by the WHO since 2004. For several decades many studies have been developed on the possible effects of this substance in the organism. In some cases, its consumption has been linked to an increase in cases of brain tumors.
Other studies suggest some of the pernicious effects derived from the intake of this sweetener. For example, about neurological functions, relating it to Alzheimer’s and dementia, and about cardiovascular function, relating it to an increased risk of suffering a heart attack.
Stevia, a Healthier Alternative to Sugar
It is the newest in the market, although it is not really that new. It is a sweetener from the stevia plant. In Paraguay and Brazil stevia has been used in medicine for centuries. In Japan it has been sold as a sweetener for more than four decades. Among its advantages, it has no calories and sweetens several times more than sugar. It is original of subtropical areas of Latin America. Its sweetening component, the steviol glycoside, is extracted from its leaves by soaking them in water. This component passes through the body without being absorbed. Its main disadvantage is that it leaves a bitter aftertaste. Because of this they sometimes sell it mixed with artificial sweeteners. Even so, the advantages of this product suppose that it can be one of the best alternatives to sugar, especially in relation to weight loss. There are studies that indicate a possible negative effect of steviosides on fertility levels, however in others no difference was found.
In short, the best option to promote proper weight loss is to get used to not take sugar. Put aside less healthy products such as:
- Industrial sweets
It will be the best way to lose weight without having to face the negative effects of sweeteners.
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