A NEW LEASE—on Life!

By Judit Rajhathy, B.A., RNCP, D.Ac.

Sweet Success or Sweet Misery?
Artificial Sweeteners and You


ratfatMy electrician in Nova Scotia was becoming increasingly ill. The worst symptoms were disorientation and memory loss, affecting him to the point where he could no longer do his work.  He had visited many health care professionals, including a neurologist, trying to get answers. Finally one day it dawned on him as he scoured the internet looking for relief, that he was downing anywhere from six to twelve diet sodas a day! Within a few days of stopping this habit, his symptoms virtually disappeared and he happily resumed his career.

Today artificial sweeteners are found in over 6,000 processed foods and beverages marketed as “sugar free”, “diet”, or “light”, including chewing gum, puddings, candies, baked goods, juices and sodas. The draw for the public is that artificial sweeteners are calorie free. You save 150 calories by drinking diet soda over regular soda, not that soda in general is good for you. On the other hand, many foods that are considered diet foods are not low in calories due to other ingredients.

Artificial sweeteners associated with weight gain—Studies have shown that participants who drink diet soda have a greater chance of becoming overweight than those who drink regular sodas! Ouch! One reason may be that artificial sweeteners don’t allow leptin release, which signals our brain that we’ve satiated our hunger - which normally happens when we eat sugar. There is also some evidence that although artificial sweeteners don’t cause our blood sugar to rise, our bodies still respond as though there is sugar in our bloodstream by secreting insulin. This would cause appetite and cravings to go out of control. It is interesting to note that obese people and those who are diabetic use these products regularly.  

Safety of artificial sweeteners—This is a very controversial topic. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, who runs one of the most popular health sites on the internet (mercola.com) even though the FDA has approved many artificial sweeteners as safe, 85 percent of all complaints registered with them are for adverse reactions to aspartame, including five reported deaths! According to Mercola and many other complementary healthcare professionals plus the public at large who have been negatively affected by aspartame, artificial sweeteners are downright dangerous. Everyone has their own tolerance level to substances, and it is impossible to predict how your particular body will react. Ailments resulting from aspartame in particular range from birth defects, cancer, emotional disorders, epilepsy and seizures and even diabetes - to memory loss and chronic headaches and even fatigue and even diabetes - contrary to what the Diabetic Association will have you believe.

Why don’t we hear about these things?—The obvious reason that the general population does not hear about  these serious reactions is primarily because most people do not associate their symptoms with the long-term use of artificial sweeteners.  Also reactions such as these are not reported in the local newspaper.  Now there are increasing numbers of stories to substantiate such adverse reactions and thanks to the internet and public involvement more people are discovering the causes of their health issues.  

Then there are those who are not affected by the ingestion of artificial sweeteners - at least not yet.  And they might never be. The question remains, are you one of them?  Maybe it is better to be safe than sorry - the decision is yours to make.

*Judit Rajhathy is the author of the Canadian best seller Free to Fly: A JourneyToward Wellness and can be reached at 765-4551or www.juditrajhathy.com

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