Sugar is definitely falling out of favor. I’ve described one of the reasons why in a recent blog. Everyone knows that sugar is bad for them and it’s the first thing to go if you go on any new diet. Unfortunately in its wake is an increased acceptance of artificial sweeteners.
In the article “AHA Advises Low-Calorie Sweeteners May Be Useful in Adults,” Medscape uses “low-calorie” to take the sting out of artificial, which is what these chemical sweeteners really are. Fortunately they do give two natural sweeteners Stevia and Luo Han Guo a nod but don’t really say they are natural and safe.
OK, now for the crazy part of this message. The AHA says it’s OK for adults to use sweeteners but “With evidence lacking on the long-term effects of low-calorie sweetened beverages, the (AHA) is advising against the long-term consumption of the drinks by children.” Of course, this makes no sense. Why would a potential poison be OK for adults and not for children? And once the kid hits 18, is he/she magically protected against the dangers of artificial sweeteners?
The AHA should be admonishing everyone to JUST STOP SUGAR because it can cause diabetes and heart disease and dozens of other conditions. And they should not substitute chemicals because they can have damaging effects. Instead reports on synthetic artificial sweeteners say that people regard low-cal as a health food, so they actually drink or eat more – and they still eat sugar because they think that low-cal magically balances out the bad part of sugar!! I kid you not.
The debate over the dangers of the artificial sweetener aspartame is quite polarized. The makers of the product say there are no negatives from their in-house studies but the critics say non-industry studies are all negative. Unfortunately the side effects of artificial sweeteners are not necessarily the same as sugar’s side effects. So they are comparing apples and oranges and giving artificial sweeteners a pass.
Probably the best way to research this is to do your own experiment. If you are using artificial sweeteners, stop them for 3 weeks and see how you feel. Then eat or drink a large amount and see how you feel. If you know you are “allergic” or “sensitive” already, do not do this experiment – just keep away from it. There are self-help groups such as Sweet Poison that can give you insight. I learned a lot about the dangers of aspartame from Betty Martini at Mission Possible.
It must be quite a setback for Betty to see these chemicals promoted by the AHA, an organization that should be protecting people’s health. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) also encourages the use of artificial sweeteners because they want people to cut back on sugar.
The recommendations refer to the six high-intensity sweeteners currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, neotame, and advantame. They also included Stevia and Luo Han Guo and said that the FDA has issued no objection letters regarding these natural sweeteners.
I recommend Stevia products if you feel you need more sweetness in your life. I don’t use any sugar or sweeteners at all. For dessert on my new Ketogenic diet, I mash frozen berries with heavy whipping cream for a natural ice cream!!
Please be sensible, cut out as much sugar as you can and substitute with Stevia and don’t use artificial sweeteners. The studies may be out in a couple of decades to prove that I’m right!
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Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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