The Ugly Truth about Artificial Sweeteners & Sugar Alcohols
Aspartame? Acesulfame potassium? Neotame? Saccharin? Sucralose? These seemingly irrelevant (and often mispronounced) words might have a larger impact on your body than you thought.
Let’s set the scene -- picture yourself working on an extremely intricate scientific experiment. After replacing hydrogens and oxygens with some number of chlorines, you develop a revolutionary product! With 600 times the sweetness of sugar and virtually no calories, you are confident you’ve discovered something too good to be true.
And there you have it…sucralose, the product described above, is a man-made sweetener that is indigestible by the body. Artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, have no nutritional value, but have become available in the US due to high demand. In fact, 42% of flavored waters and 33% of flavored yogurts in the US contain at least one artificial sweetener. (1) Moreover, consumption of low calorie sweeteners rose 200% in children between 2000 and 2012. (2) Statistics like these make it extremely clear that many Americans are craving alternatives to sugar, but at what cost? Let's uncover the truth behind artificial sweeteners, and why you should eliminate them from your diet.
- Artificial Sweeteners & Our Tastebuds
Artificial sweeteners are known to hijack our tastebuds. Since all of these sweeteners are intentionally designed in a labratory to be much sweeter than sugar, many people who consume artificial sweeteners frequently, actually find fruits and vegetables to be unpalatable. It’s like our tastebuds have been hijacked! This can lead to overconsumption of processed foods and cravings. In addition, animal studies have shown that artificial sweeteners may even be addictive. (3)
Making shifts to your diet and choosing options (such as B.T.R NATION Bars) that satisfy cravings using satiating fats, like cashew and almond butter and raw cacao (without the addition of added sugars or artificial sweeteners), has been proven to promote satiety and reduce your chances of overeating.
- Artificial Sweeteners & Our Gut
Our gut is filled with about 100 trillion bacteria, many of which serve vital purposes in fighting infection, regulating the immune system, regulating digestion (and more!) But, as stated by Dr. Gerard Mullin (4), an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University: “Artificial sweeteners actually destroy and injure the microbiome.”
One new study (5) facilitated in the UK has even shown that artificial sweeteners may cause beneficial bacteria in our gut to become pathogenic or disease causing. No wonder we have so many gut problems! The truth of the matter is: we really don’t know what the effect of large amounts of these man-made chemicals will have over many years. And that’s why we don't touch artificial sweeteners with a ten foot pole. We only believe in sweetness, as nature intended, from fruits, seeds, nuts, and spices.
Image & Source: https://murrayvillechiropractic.com/blog/artificial-sweetener/
- Sugar Alcohols -- What's the Difference?
Artificial sweeteners unfortunately aren’t the only thing to watch out for…Sugar alcohols, a manufactured carbohydrate often used as an alternative sweetener to sucrose (aka common table sugar), may be our newest enemy.
Let’s break it down. While sugar alcohols aren’t calorie free, one gram of xylitol (the leading sugar alcohol) has 40% fewer calories than table sugar. When consumed, sugar alcohols are converted to glucose (unlike artificial sweeteners), but at a much slower rate than table sugar. Therefore, they “require little or no insulin to be metabolized and don’t cause sudden increases in blood sugar” (5)
So what’s the catch? Artificial sweeteners are highly processed and also indigestible to our bodies. Similar to artificial sweeteners, they may cause a host of gut issues including gas (gas emoji), diarrhea and bloating.
But I know what you are thinking. It’s nearly impossible to avoid these ingredients in a world where nearly every product is filled with them! But SHOCKER, it’s actually not. In fact, at B.T.R Nation we don’t use sugar, artificial sweeteners OR sugar alcohols in our products. Instead, we make delicious bars fueled with the superfoods and adaptogens your body is craving to give you the ENERGY boost, mid-afternoon RECHARGE, moment of BLISS, or ZEN vibes, we KNOW you are looking for.
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