In our western culture sugar has become a very dominant part in our everyday diet, and for a while we were told fat was the culprit for obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic diseases, but that was only until recently of course.
In the last couple of years the truth about the dangers of sugar have come to light and people are running from the stuff like never before. Educational documentaries like "That Sugar Film" and others similar are making people realize how sugar actually works in the body and why too much can mean a whole lot of problems down the track.
So now with sugar taking the wrap as a disease causing, cancer feeding and weight gaining substance a lot of people have reduced or completely eliminated sugar from their diet, but in turn replaced it with what they believe to be a "healthier alternative", artificial sweeteners.
However the issue that's becoming apparent now and what recent studies have shown is that artificial sweeteners are actually just as bad for you as sugar but more than that, they may even exacerbate the negative effects of sugar.
The understanding behind this is that your body is trained and learns to respond to certain foods in specific ways. When you consume a sweet-tasting but noncaloric or low-caloric food or drink it confuses the metabolic response effecting your natural ability to adjust to glucose and energy.
Ingesting artificial sweeteners also may be negatively effecting the brains pleasure centres in response to sweet-tasting foods. They have been shown to be less active in people that regularly consume artificially sweetened products meaning their sugar-craving is left unsatisfied and in turn they are left wanting more.
In a study made on mice and rats, they found when the mice and rats were consuming artificial sweeteners their physiological response to it's sweetness was altered causing them to overindulge on high-caloric foods in order to satisfy themselves.
I don't know about you but this sounds all too familiar and similar to the issue we as a culture are having with sugar. The ups and downs in energy and cravings and the negative changes and risks being made to a healthy functioning metabolism.
But unfortunately that's not all...
Other claims suggest low-caloric sugar-substitutes are also contributing to metabolic diseases, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and excessive weight gain.
The San Antonio Heart Study showed that weight gain in both men and women over a seven-eight year period was significantly higher in those that regularly consumed artificial sweeteners.
As far as metabolic diseases go, "recent studies suggest that those who drink artificially-sweetened beverages may have double the risk of metabolic syndrome, compared with non-consumers. In studies that compared the risk of metabolic syndrome in people who drank either sugar-sweetened or artificially-sweetened beverages, the magnitude of the increased risk was frequently similar for both regular and diet beverage consumers."
And unfortunately the bad news just keeps on coming...
In another study done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition those that consumed artificial sugar substitutes more than doubled their risk of getting Type 2 diabetes. This is the same amount of risk for those consuming sugar-sweetened products!
Shockingly it was discovered that the risk of getting type 2 diabetes was even seen in those that started the study at a normal, healthy weight.
Lastly, a similar study discovered that those that consume at least one artificially sweetened drink a day significantly increase their risk of developing hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) and the same results and risks were found for those that drank sugary drinks instead.
After researching this myself to find out the truth about sweeteners, I was shocked at what I found! Firstly that they have been flying under the radar while sugar took the wrap for everything when the truth is, they are almost equally as damaging to our health as their evil counter part!
It's so hard these days to truly know what is and isn't healthy with all these clever marketing techniques to sell us something as 'healthy' when in actual fact it's causing horrific long term damage but the best advice I can give you is if it is in its most raw form, if it's natural, if it's unprocessed and free of chemicals, it's usually your safest bet.
But, if you are sitting here reading this article realizing you've been doing it all wrong, don't worry! You aren't alone, and it's not your fault. We are all doing our best with the information we have been given but sometimes we can't always rely on that information to be in our best interest. That is why doing a little research goes a long way when it comes to your long term health and well-being.
But in conclusion, do yourself a huge favour and avoid excessive consumption of sugar and artificial sugar-substitutes because unlike large corporate food companies and clever marketing schemes, I am sharing this information because I genuinely am concerned for your long term health and well-being.
So that's all for now lovelies.
Stay healthy and be happy.
- Sam Jenkins xx