Artificial sweeteners and their dangers!

It’s without a doubt that I’m a bit reliant on artificial sweeteners.

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(My favourite chewing gum brand – contains artificial sweeteners: Acesulfame K, aspartame, maltitol, sucralose, sorbitol, xylitol http://www.wrigley.com/global/about-us/ingredients.aspx)

Especially with the ‘sugar-free’ chewing gums. They are such great tools for curbing cravings, and so common in supermarkets now a days.

These kinds of pretty much calorie-free (only 4.5 calories per piece) gum are what I’d chew after meals to prevent over-eating, and also help freshen breathe (as a bonus)! HOWEVER, I’ve become so dependent on these to curb cravings, they’ve become more like ‘lollies’ to me, rather than the dental cleaners they’re marketed as!

On a bad (craving) day, I would go through 4-5 pieces per day.

On most days that I go out for lunch, when there’s coke zero, diet coke, sprite zero available, I’d of course jump for those zero-calorie alternatives.

And recently, I’ve reverted to nicking extra packets of sweeteners from coffee shops,

adding them to my hot drinks, even though I’d never been partial to sweet drinks before.

And even venturing into the world of zero-calorie sweets!

So, you can see how easily the aspect of no-calorie, unlimited intake can mess with your head! And drive you to over-consumption.

AND THIS IS WHERE THE WARNING COMES IN! NOTHING COMES WITHOUT A PRICE (I.E. AS MUCH AS WE ALL WISH FOR IT, NO ZERO CALORIES COME WITHOUT SIDE EFFECTS)

This idea comes from the fact that I believe the artificial sweeteners in the chewing gum I’ve been excessively chewing CAUSE my SORE THROATS that have been going on and off over the past few months:

What is my evidence?

1. One may argue that it’s the excessive swallowing of air, that comes when you chew gum (exposing the throat to the air, drying it out, and causing pain) BUT this sore throat would still occur, when I drank coke zero, or diet coke, instead, which contained similar sweeteners to ones in the gums.

2. One of the ‘sweeteners’ that’s present in Extra chewing gum is the renowned ‘Aspartame’ that’s notorious for its prevalent side effects on people’s health. This sweetener is also present in coke zero which I occasionally consume.

But, what’s this DANGER of artificial sweeteners that heads my post?

It is merely the SORE THROAT I’ve received as a result of excess sugar-free chewing gum consumption (I’m just a bit over the top about the whole situation, and it’s also pretty painful too especially at night-time and in the morning… boo-hoo).

However, what I’m hoping to get across to you all is that artificial sweeteners DO INDEED HAVE SIDE EFFECTS. If you’re like me, you would’ve simply brushed off the controversy of whether’sweeteners cause cancer’ etc. that were around when they’d just recently been commercially introduced. And after all, artificial sweeteners are so common in our everyday food products, from canned foods to instant coffee (check the ingredients label if you don’t believe me) Mostly because they are such good shelf-life stabilizers.

In my opinion, these are the NEGATIVES or DANGERS of sweeteners (that may be more common and noticeable):

1. Sore throat

Actually found a backing source for my symptoms!

http://www.sweetpoison.com/aspartame-side-effects.html

“….Gastrointestinal
nausea
diarrhea, sometimes with blood in stools
abdominal pain
pain when swallowing…”

And a whole lot more side effects of aspartame on the website, including “death” and “suicidal tendencies” !?

2. Weight gain

I’ve found sources that says some sweeteners will still affect the blood-sugar levels, or mess with insulin activity as sugar does. But they didn’t specify which. However, I feel that chewing sugar-free gum and drinking diet coke every now and then hasn’t affected my weight much.

I’d read this from a blog about a lady’s experience with artificial sweeteners.

Before, on an extremely sugar-free, diet foods diet, she found trouble in losing weight. However, after clearing out her old pantry, and drinking hot tea sweetened with sugar instead of splenda after most meals to curb cravings, she was able to lose more weight!

Also, there has been research done suggesting that sweetener consumption can lead to carb cravings, making you eat more. http://www.emaxhealth.com/1020/mouse-study-suggests-how-artificial-sweeteners-could-ruin-your-diet IMO, I never get hunger pangs from diet coke or chewing gum (don’t know what it’s like for other people)

The bottom line is that nothing comes without a cost. You can choose to believe what I’ve just highlighted, although I, for one have started reducing my chewing gum intake. It really depends on you, your choice, because everything you put into your body i.e. the sweeteners, diet drinks, they don’t just disappear into thin air (no pun intended), they will interact with your body in some ways and have side effects whether small or large, depending on your intake. It’s only a natural biological process.

Anything in excessive is bad for you whether they’re carrots or cucumbers (?)

So far, I still fail at my reduced intake attempts (still chewing a couple of chewing gums after meals) trying to limit to one or two per day! But with determination, and fear of sore throats, I will succeed with my goal!

Overall, this experience has really taught me to control my cravings, and keep in mind that one should never manipulate one’s resources i.e. zero-calorie foods, simply because we believe we can consume as much as we want with no side effects.

We humans need to learn to be more ‘satisfied’ with what we’ve got, which is so hard in the materialistic world we live in today. Obviously, this tendency of ours has only resulted in the demise of our surroundings, environment, and eventually ourselves.

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