Are artificial sweeteners harmful to health?

The artificial sweeteners are the option that has reached the consumer most strongly as a substitute for sugar. They are even perceived as very healthy ingredients and a perfect alternative to sugar. Are they really that healthy? Should you include them in your weight loss diet?

According to Dr. Isabel Belaustegui, expert in nutrition, "All the chemical sweeteners that exist in the market have a rebound effect and can cause an increase in appetite and weight gain." It would not be then It is not advisable to replace sugar with chemical sweeteners if you want to lose weight.


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Types of artificial sweeteners

The most famous and the one that was believed to be the healthiest option to sugar is saccharin. It was the first non-caloric sweetener that was discovered in 1879 by chance. It is an extremely sweet tar derivative that does not provide calories, but it does raise the glycemic index. This elevation of blood glucose what it does is to trigger the production of insulin and all the excess blood sugar the body keeps as fat, that is, fattening, hence the rebound effect that is attributed to chemical sweeteners.

Saccharin, explains Belaustegui, is no longer authorized in some countries after being observed in laboratory studies that large amounts of saccharin can cause cancer of bladder


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Cyclamate dates from 1937 and usually mixed with saccharin to enhance the sweetening effect by eliminating the bitterness of the same. We can find sodium cyclamate, potassium and cyclamic acid. It is also prohibited in some countries, says the expert, due to its carcinogenic effects.

On the other hand are the polyols. Maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol, polydextrose … surely you've heard these names and read on labels of products like chewing gum, candy, toothpaste … They are industrially produced sugars usually derived from corn starch that leave a sensation of freshness in the mouth. In large quantities can cause diarrhea, flatulence and upset stomach.

Aspartame is the most used artificial sweetener in light products, having the same problem of rebound effect as the previous causes more appetite and weight gain explains Belaustegui. But not only is it harmful for this reason, Aspartame contains an amino acid called phenylalanine that is very toxic to the nervous system and that it is very dangerous for people who do not metabolize this amino acid well (phenylketonurics). Among other symptoms can cause headaches, arrhythmias, anxiety or tachyarrhythmias.

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Natural sugar substitutes

Quiet, there are healthy options to sugar and you do not have to give up the candy for life. It is also true that lor important is the bulk of the diet, making an exception from time to time should not have any problem. The dose makes the poison.

If you want to naturally sweeten your dishes and desserts choose to use honey, panela, stevia, agave syrup … and even better, you can take advantage of the sweetness of some foods to sweeten your recipes. Cinnamon, banana or dates are fabulous ingredients that sweeten in a very healthy way and giving a very rich touch to your dishes.

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