Whether you want to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle, control your blood sugars, stabilize your mood, or any other good reason to follow the Zone and balanced nutrition, you have made a decision to eat healthier.
Part of that commitment should include the quality of the foods you now eat. It can be argued that if you scrutinize every label and every food source, there perhaps would be little time left to cook fast convenient meals.
Consider this: You eat healthy and balanced only to develop kidney and liver damage, lowered immunity, problems with pregnancy, depression, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, seizures, high blood pressure, and vision and hearing problems. These are just a handful of the long list of alleged symptoms associated with the use of aspartame (Nutrasweet and Equal) and sucralose (Splenda).
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener. It was developed and initially released in 1988. Some scientiest assert that the chemicals in aspartame alter brain chemistry and lower the seizure threshold. Some studies even show that aspartame is responsible for so many serious symptoms that experts now have diagnosed people with Aspartame Disease.
Sucralose (Splenda) was discovered in 1976 and Splenda was developed in 1980. It was approved for use in foods in 1998. Thought to be a safe alternative to aspartame, it was promoted as being "made" from sugar with the simple addition of three chlorine atoms to the sugar molecule, so it was natural and healthful. Sugar becomes sucralose through a 5-step process, in what is described as a bonding of 3 chlorine atoms to the sugar molecule, rendering it unabsorbable by the body. In reality, the resulting molecule is a completely different chemical substance. Sucralose is supposed to supply the "sweet taste", but not be absorbed by the body. However, tests have proven that up to 40% of sucralose is absorbed by the body and 20 to 30% of this absorbed sucralose is metabolized. When metabolized, it is broken down into chlorocarbons which some research claims cause organ, genetic and reproductive damage.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I did some sleuthing on aspartame and sucralose. I spent some time reading labels and was surprised to find that packets of Splenda listed the ingredients in order of amount to be: dextrose, maltodextrin, sucralose. Splenda Measure (loose in the box) listed the ingredients as: Maltodextrin, sucralose. A note on the box stated: In some recipes Splenda may contribute minimal calories. Equal.com defines Equal as follows: Equal's sweetening ingredient is aspartame, which breaks down to components commonly found in milk, meats, fruits and vegetables. Other ingredients are added to make the very concentrated sweetener easier to measure and pour.
Equal packets ingredients: dextrose with maltodextrin, aspartame
Equal spoonful ingredients: maltodextrin, aspartame
Equal tablets ingredients: lactose, aspartame, maltodextrin.
Maltodextrin and dextrose are high glycemic carbohydrates. A study of diabetics using sucralose showed a statistically significant increase of Hba1C, a marker used to assess glucose control. An increase in Hba1C indicates poor diabetic control. Diabetics also reported out-of-control blood sugar levels while using aspartame. Studies have also indicated that people using aspartame have an increased appetite for sugar and carbohydrates.
In light of these findings, you might want to reconsider using these products, but what are the alternatives?
Table sugar is high glycemic and contains carb calories. Honey, made from bees, is pre-digested, rapidly breaks down into glucose, is also higher glycemic and contains carb calories. Fructose, a fruit sugar, is low glycemic and contains carb calories.
Stevia is a non-caloric herb native to Central America. It is 150 to 300 times sweeter than sugar. It has been cultivated and used as a sweetener and medicinal herb for generations by the indigenous peoples. It does not promote cavities. Studies are underway to document its ability to lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugars, treat yeast infections and treat skin cancers.The Bottom Line: In your quest for a healthy lifestyle, you must consider the quality of what you eat. It makes sense to look for organic, pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, dairy products and protein sources and products with little or no artificial preservatives and additives. Wouldn't it make more sense to create meals made with quality ingredients and allow their natural flavors to satisfy your palate? What is the sense of committing to a healthy lifestyle, while undermining and sabatoging your efforts by using substances with known health risks.