Sweeteners are such a popular topic right now in the nutrition world. Are they good? Are they bad? Is artificial better than natural or vice a versa? It’s a hot topic with many different angles on it.
You could think of sweeteners as 3 different categories: artificial, natural with calories, and natural without calories. We’ll break them down for you the Hauser Diet way to help you determine the best way to go for you!
A main focus of the Hauser Diet is doing natural foods and products. This means staying away from food chemicals and artificial foods. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, usually come in little packets and are considered fake sugar. (No matter how much they claim that they are “like” sugar) They are supposed to sweeten your foods and drinks like real sugar, but without the calories. They are marketed as a healthy alternative and are even put into some items before you purchase them. For example, any thing that says Low Sugar or Sugar Free on the label may tend to have artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols. The most popular of these foods and drinks would be diet soda. One of the first Hauser Diet principles, I recommend staying away from these products as much as possible. There have been links made to artificial sweeteners causing many health problems, including cancer. This is just one of many reasons why “diet foods” should not be a staple in your daily diet.
Natural Sweeteners with Calories
Sugar, most of us love it, a lot of us crave it, and many of us need to avoid it. Things like raw sugar, honey, or 100% maple syrup would be considered natural sweeteners with calories. There are some people who actually need to avoid sugar as much as possible, like diabetics, and those who are on the Hauser Lion and Otter Diets. Sugar and honey are simple carbohydrates which are not allowed on the Lion and Otter Diets. That means you probably have to break some sweet habits: no honey in your tea, no jelly on your toast, and no brown sugar sprinkled over oatmeal. Doing this occasionally is one thing, but we can tell you from years of experience, that many people that we see for Diet Typing have an addiction to sugar and don’t even realize it. This is because we are surrounded by sugary foods everywhere we go. But what about the Bears, Monkeys, and Giraffes? Although it does have calories, these Diet Types do okay with having just a little bit. It doesn’t mean they can go overboard with it, especially the Bears, but it doesn’t need to be completely eliminated.
A Natural Sweetener without Calories
Stevia is a natural herb that is incredibly sweet and has been used in South America for years. It can be found in most health food stores and is sold as a dietary supplement. There are a few different forms of Stevia sold, and it depends on what you are using it for as to which form is best for you.
Another option would be Xylitol or erythritol. Xylitol, for instance, is a natural sweetener has a calorie content per gram (2.4) that is less than pure sugar (4), but is not quite calorie free. Xylitol is produced in our body through the metabolism of food. Either of these can be used as a sweet alternative to those who need to watch their blood sugars or their calorie intake.
ASPARTAME MAKES YOU HUNGRY!
Do you love diet soda or diet iced tea? What about fat-free, low-carb yogurt or sugar-free gelatin? How about sugar-free ice cream and cookies? These products might taste good to you – AND you may feel that you are saving your hips from some unwanted additional pounds, but studies show that these products are just bad for you.
While those products might taste good and be less filling (or was that a beer?), M.D. Anderson Cancer Center neurologist in the news is warning that some of them may not be good for you.
This is a very heated topic that the food industry does not like to discuss. Most likely we will receive emails from people who do not agree with our opinion when this article runs. However, we have seen many instances where patients come to us with horrible medical problems, and come to find out when digging deeper into their medical and dietary histories, they were consuming large quantities of these foods that were actually contributing to their medical problems.
Many of these sugar-free products contain loads of chemicals. Have you ever looked at the labels? It’s amazing. Seriously, it’s hard to discern what the food actually is. One of the times Nicole and I were meeting with our food photographer, Chef Steve, who was helping us with some of the photos for our book, The Hauser Diet: A Fresh Look At Healthy Living, he made the statement that sugar-free, fat-free foods are mislabeled. They are not really food. They are chemicals. These things were not meant to be processed by the body. We went on to discuss how it is better for the body to consume one scoop of a natural ice cream made from real ingredients, than a whole carton of fat-free, sugar-free ice cream. Those chemical toxins are far worse for your body than natural cream!
One of the many ingredients contained in these types of products is aspartame – “the blue packet of sweetener on your restaurant table.” Dr. Arthur Forman was quoted by News 2 Houston as saying, “I think there’s enough evidence to suggest this is not a good thing for folks.” That’s putting in mildly! Dr. Forman believes that aspartame may cause several serious problems, such as headaches to seizures and irritability to birth defects, according to the article. He went on to say that some studies, including one by Dr. John Olney from Washington University, shows that aspartame may be linked to brain tumors.
If that is not bad enough, one of the least known side effects, ironic as it is, is that aspartame, which is found in many diet foods, may actually increase your appetite.
We see many patients at Caring Medical who find that diet soda stimulates their appetites. In fact, they report that sometimes they try to just drink diet soda all day when dieting, but that they find themselves reaching for the potato chips or making a mad dash to the vending machines when they do this! Aspartame contains an amino acid called phenylalanine, which causesinsulin to be released, triggering hunger.
Aspartame also contains aspartic acid and methanol, which breaks down to formaldehyde in the body. There are some serious potential side effects out there. It’s not worth the risk for anyone! Get ready, we are about to get on our soap box. Artificial sweeteners are marketed with the promise of weight control, and the vast majority of people who consume them do so to either lose or avoid gaining weight. This is NOT the way to do it. As we stated earlier, our bodies were not meant to process all of those excess chemicals. Why ingest something that is potentially harmful!? We are just like you. We like the taste of Diet Coke just as much as anyone else. Who wants to eat pizza with a glass of water? Well, chances are, most of you shouldn’t be eating that much pizza anyway!
From 1960 to l976, there was virtually no change in the number of Americans who were overweight: (about 24% of Americans). However, from the mid 80’s to present, this number has more than doubled to 54 percent! This coincides with the massive infusion of non-caloric chemical sweeteners and sugar-free “diet” foods that are eaten by close to three-quarters of the adult population. We are convinced that continued acceptance of the most popular of these artificial sweeteners, aspartame, plays a significant role in our current weight problems. We have seen that aspartame accomplishes far from helping us lose weight. We see patients who actually gain weight! Aspartame has been shown to increase appetite, especially cravings for sweets. Seriously! Think about that! You are consuming “diet” products that actually help you gain inches to your hips and waistline! Let alone the fact that aspartame has serious health risks.
Bottom line: We recommend that you avoid foods containing significant amounts of chemicals, particularly aspartame. If you want to avoid aspartame, read your labels. You would be surprised where you will find it (along with other chemical sweeteners). Many products contain it, including toothpaste, breath mints, chewing gum, laxatives, children’s vitamins, along with the diet food and beverages.
What Are The Side Effects Of Diet Soda Pop?
Three recent studies have all linked consumption of 1 or more diet soda drinks to type 2 diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome, a deadly condition where someone has multiple metabolic risk factor such as excess abdominal fat, high blood fats, uncontrolled inflammation, high blood pressure, and trouble controlling blood sugars. In fact people who consume diet soda may have anywhere from 36% to 67% increased risk on developing type 2 diabetes and/or metabolic syndrome. With all of the other worries in your life, why add a serious disease or condition on top of it?
Below is the ingredient list from Diet Coke™. For those of you who drink diet soda and don’t understand why you shouldn’t, ask yourself this question. Do I know what all the ingredients are? And we don’t mean have you heard of them, do you actually know what they are!
INGREDIENTS IN DIET COKE™
Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, Aspartame, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Benzoate (To Protect Taste), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Caffeine.
I could go into much detail about each ingredient and what the problem is with consuming it, but I’ll just focus on a couple. First of all let’s look at aspartame. This is the artificial sweetener used in diet sodas, among other foods such as sugar free yogurt. There are many studies out there which show the side effects of aspartame. The reason there are not more is because often times the side effects are misdiagnosed as another problem. Do you know that there about 92 side effects that are related to consuming aspartame? One of the first things we do here at Caring Medical is look at a patient’s food intake. If a high consumption of aspartame or other artificial sweeteners is used, they are told to cut it out of the diet. Try doing a little research of your own. There are many case studies on the internet that attest to the pain and problems this fake sugar can cause.
How about Potassium Benzoate? If mixed with ascorbic acid (also known as Vitamin C) and sodium this substance can form benzene which is a carcinogen or cancer forming agent. We don’t know of anyone who doesn’t take in Vitamin C and sodium. Yet we wonder why there is such an increase in cancer going on.
For those of you who say, “Well I could be drinking much worse, at least it’s diet”, you may want to re-examine that statement. What’s worse than eating or drinking something that could cause cancer? If you have some unexplained ailments take a look at your diet, and if aspartame is a part of it cut it out.