Artificial Sweeteners

Are They A Safe, Low Calorie Alternative Or Do They Lead To Cancer, Infertility, and Neurological Disorders?

Happy Valentines Day. Enjoy the candy (yes, its real sugar). Then read the “info” on artificial sweeteners. You decide.

Let’s start with the final word…the jury isn’t out on most of the artificial sweeteners; but, here are a few things that we know.

  1. Most have little usable calories and are probably better for diabetics and those with insulin resistance diseases (e.g. hypoglycemia, elevated triglycerides, and atherosclerosis) than sugar.
  2. Some natural sweeteners, such as honey, molasses, and fructose are sweeter than sugar so you’ll probably use less. They still raise your blood sugar levels and are stored as fat but, since you use less, it’s not quite as bad.
  3. Saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low) appears to increase the likelihood of bladder cancer, even in those having as little as 2-12 oz. diet sodas or 6 packs of Sweet ‘n Low per day.
  4. Sucralose (Splenda) is so new that it doesn’t have any long term studies and should be used with caution.
  5. Stevia has caused genetic changes in the lab, but we don’t know if this occurs in man. Again, it should be used with caution.
  6. Aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) is the most thoroughly studied of the “phony sweeteners” and has a clean bill of health from the FDA and NIH. But it can’t be used by those with the genetic disease PKU or pregnant women who can’t metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine (discuss this with your obstetrician, if you’re pregnant). There are a remarkable amount of cases reported by those claiming to be sensitive to this product and believed it caused their seizures, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and even brain tumors. Watch for signs of sensitivity in yourself.
  7. Sugar alcohols (Xylitol, Maltitol, Mannitol…) occur naturally in fruit, may be produced by our own bodies and are usually sweeter than sugar (so we can use less). But, they still raise your blood sugar, have calories and are stored as fat (but less than regular sugar). They also give you gas and indigestion if eaten in large amounts.

Many diet foods use not one but several of these sweeteners. Look at the ingredients of the sugar free gum your chewing and you’ll be shocked to see three or four of them (at least they don’t cause cavities!).

So what do we do?

Use the artificial sweeteners in place of sugar if you are diabetic or if you have blood sugar related problems (which is most of us), but use it sparingly. Do not look at it as a free ride to eat whatever you’d like, but maybe as a way to indulge in something sweet once a day.

Your meals should not have sugars in it of any type. Food should be food.

Your drinks should consist of diluted fruit juices, teas, water…not sodas (sugar or otherwise). Sodas are probably the worse offenders in our diet (did you know there are 9 teaspoons of sugar in every 12 oz. of soda?).

Imagine living 20,000 years ago. Eat as closely to that type of diet as possible—lot’s of fruit, vegetables, fish, dairy and some meat. Even natural ingredients (e.g. Stevia—a leaf in Paraguay), when removed from the plant, concentrated and put in high amounts in lots of food is never good for you.

Those of you who read these letters are better informed and more knowledgeable about their bodies. You expect more from your doctors and probably most people around you. I’m proud that I‘m part of your health care team. Share your knowledge with your family and those around you. Feel free to copy and send these newsletters to them. We’ll even put them on our health letter list, if you’d like.

 

THE MORRIS SPINAL STENOSIS & DISC CENTER

Rick H. Morris, D.C., C.C.S.P., Q.M.E., A.B.A.A.H.P.
Brendan M. Murray, D.C., D.A.C.B.S.P., Q.M.E.
April Hopson, D.C.

1243 7th Street, Suite B, Santa Monica, California 90401
tel: 310-451-5851 | fax:310-458-0051
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