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5 dangers of artificial sweeteners

By Dhruv Gupta
Last updated on: November 04, 2014 18:32 IST
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Get your facts right on how artificial sweeteners do more harm than good to your health

Have you switched to diet soda instead of regular soda to cut down on calories? Then you might be wrong because studies have shown that those who drink diet cola might actually not lose weight. This actually applies to all artificially sweetened foods where the sugar content is replaced with ‘sugar-free’ ingredients, like ‘sugar-free chocolate’ or ‘sugar-free cake’.

Do you believe that consuming artificial sweeteners will not elevate your blood sugar levels and calories intake? If yes, then read on to get your facts right on how artificial sweeteners do more harm than good to your health.

Weight gain

This is exactly the opposite effect of what is expected by weight conscious consumers who use artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners are found to increase your appetite, thus elevating calorie consumption and aiding weight gain.

You tend to eat larger portions when you eat foods with artificial sweeteners. Most of the foods sweetened with artificial sweeteners are high in carbohydrates.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of conditions that commonly include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels -- that occur together, and increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, and other diseases.

It has been observed that people consuming artificial sweeteners on regular basis have a double risk of metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers.

Diabetes

Artificial sweeteners increase the release of hormones such as insulin. It has been discovered that consumption of artificial sweeteners increases insulin secretion by 20 per cent.

Increased insulin release could be good for a person with high blood sugar levels, but regular elevated insulin levels may cause insulin resistance, which is a prominent cause of Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes).

Hypertension and cardiovascular disease

The risk for coronary heart disease was significantly elevated for those who consumed more than two artificially-sweetened beverages a day. It has the same effect as sugar sweetened foods. It increases the risk of cardiovascular disorders.

Taste buds become dull

Artificial sweeteners are a lot sweeter than regular table sugar. The exposure of your taste buds to such high intensity of sweetness makes them less receptive to naturally occurring sweet foods, such as fruits.

Also, when your taste buds get dulled, you tend to seek out sweeter foods to satiate your sweet cravings.

If you are really looking for a sugar substitute, then it’s always better to go for natural sweeteners like honey. They will provide taste without being a potential hazard for your health.

Note: Picture used only for representational purpose

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