Okay, let’s start off with a Fantasy Healthball poll:
Even if you checked “none of the above,” you may unknowingly be getting some of these products in food or drinks you consume on a regular basis. Or you may know these by other names – Nutrasweet and Equal are “aspartame” and Splenda is “sucralose.” Aspartame can be found in soft drinks, sugar-free chewing gum, yogurt, lemonade, and thousands of other foods and drinks. Sucralose is in candy, breakfast bars, soft drinks, and thousands of other foods and drinks.
We call these sweeteners “sugar on steriods.” Sucralose is about 600 times as sweet as table sugar. It is about twice as sweet as saccharin or Stevia, over three times as sweet as aspartame, and four times as sweet as a yellow lab puppy. Now that is sweet!
Stevia is the rookie joining the veteran artificial sweeteners. Click here to watch a really good two minute video that recently popped up on our health news feeds on our blog. Here is the article that goes with it. The video says that artificial sweeteners may actually lead to weight gain. It says, “When your body takes in something sweet, your metabolism revs up to start burning off the calories that usually follow. But when the calories just aren’t there, your body could get confused and the next time you take in real sugar that metabolic response may not kick in.” “The study seems to explain why some of the heaviest consumers of artificial sweeteners are some of the heaviest Americans.”
But the report points out it is just one study. And there have been tons of studies on these products. The FDA must approve these before they are sold in the US so all of these products have been deemed safe by the FDA. But the studies continue. Aspartame, for example, if you believe like I do that Wikipedia is the source of all the universe’s knowledge, was discovered in 1965 but there was worry it caused cancer in rats but it was finally approved in dry goods in the 1980s and for all foods in 1996. But even 10 years later, one study still concluded its toxicity increased several malignancies of rats. One rebuttal to the study said the researchers misdiagnosed lesions as malignancies. I guess one man’s malignancy is another man’s lesion.
With all that confusion and noise out there, here is some Fantasy Healthball logic for you: Americans consume way too much sugar. So what do we do when we realize that? We make chemical sugar that is hundreds of times sweeter and market it to people who want to lose weight and have good health! How about this crazy idea: let’s just eat less sugar.
Here at Fantasy Healthball, we can’t guarantee that if you consume lots of artificial sweeteners you will be safe or unsafe. We think the jury is still out on these products and it can take decades to know their true effects with certainty. Will you be perfectly safe? Will you get cancer? Will you grow a waddle and cluck like a chicken? We don’t know.
But what we DO KNOW is that it is healthier to keep sugar and artificial sweeteners to a minimum in your diet. Drinking pure, filtered water gets you a refreshing drink without artificial anything. We also suggest low or non fat milk, soy milk, 100% fruit juice (we love orange and apple), vegetable juice, tea, and our top scientists here at Fantasy Healthball (okay, it is me) are starting to look into Miller’s new 64 calorie beer, hmmmmm, more on that to come. — Jim Ballard