Many people think they are making a better choice by opting for a diet drink because it has less calories. Or they know sugar is bad for them so they add Splenda to their coffee instead. Is anyone guilty of this? I know I am. I used to drink diet soda when I was younger and I was addicted to the crazy chemicals that are in these drinks! Thinking back on those days I cringe a little bit because I was drinking diet soda everyday without knowing the side effects or that it was actually sabotaging my diet.
After learning about the effects from artificial sweeteners I realized how addictive and harmful it can be. I decided to take soda out of my diet completely and drank more water. I noticed that when I did this, I enjoyed water and whole foods more because my taste changed. I began to eat healthier and I stopped getting frequent headaches.
I was also surprised to learn that artificial sweeteners cause weight gain. People who consume diet drinks regularly have a 200 percent increased risk of weight gain. A study of 400 people found that those who drank two diet sodas a day or more increased their waist size by five times (1). This is because artificial sweeteners disrupt hormonal signals from the brain that releases leptin. Leptin is a hormone that tells the brain to signal fullness. When this hormone is disrupted you will eat beyond your limit and over time this will cause weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet’NLow, saccharin, Canderel, and even Splenda have the potential to damage your nervous system (your brain and nerves) that lead to a variety of symptoms from migraine headaches, to unexplained seizures, dizziness, depression, and vision problems. They are even linked to cancer, obesity, and diabetes (2).
These toxins are not only in diet soda. You can find them in diet meals, flavored waters, popular drink mixes such as Crystal Light, many commercial salad dressings, gum, toothpaste and vitamins (2).
Artificial sweeteners alter your food preference. Your palate shifts from being able to enjoy fruits and vegetables and whole foods to only liking the fake sugar taste. I find that when many of my clients remove diet drinks from their diet, their taste buds change, they enjoy whole foods more and they crave water. If they try a drink with artificial sweetener after they haven’t had it in a while, the drink tastes awful to them. The same goes for sugar. When we are consuming sugar everyday, it starts to accumulate in our body. We then become addicted and crave more of the substance because it is stored in our cells and tissues. When sugar or artificial sweetener is taken out of the diet, our taste buds will change and our desire for the substance will subside.
Our bodies do not know how to assimilate these chemicals because they are not found in nature. They are chemically produced and cause our bodies to work extra to metabolize and process the chemicals. Over time this will lead to toxicity build up in our cells. Artificial sweeteners are addictive and it is best to take them out of your diet completely if you are consuming them regularly.
There are better options if you crave something sweet. Natural sweeteners such as agave nectar or stevia can be enjoyed in moderation.
Agave nectar is a natural liquid sweetener from the juice of the agave cactus found in South America. It is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar, but does not create a “sugar rush,” and is much less disturbing to the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar.
Stevia is a leafy herb that native South Americans have been using for centuries. The extract from stevia is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. It does not affect blood sugar levels and has zero calories. Make sure to get the green or brown liquids or powders because the white and clear versions are highly refined.
Try a naturally sweet drink! Fill your glass with purified water and add cut up fresh fruit slices such as mango or watermelon. You can also add natural sweeteners such as a dash of stevia or agave from time to time.
See how your taste buds change when you take the artificial sweetener out of your diet or notice how you crave less of it when you stop consuming it.
I’d love to hear if you have any other healthy drink alternatives you enjoy or if you have noticed a difference since taking artificial sweeteners out of your diet.
Lots of Love,
(1) Dr. Mark Hyman. “The Blood Sugar Solution.”
(2) Kris Carr. “Crazy, Sexy, Life.”
Joshua Rosenthal. “Integrative Nutrition.”
No related posts.
Filed in: Health and Wellness