People who worry about their sugar intake try to switch regular soda with diet soda, but as of recent times, diet soda has become another cause for alarm, no thanks to the artificial sweeteners it’s produced with, such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda) and saccharin.
PepsiCo used to produce diet soda with aspartame, but when their customers began to complain about this compound, they replaced it with Splenda. This didn’t do any good at all, because it resulted in the steepest decline they’ve experienced so far in annual sales by the first quarter of 2016, dropping down by 10.6 percent.
In a bid to bounce back in the soda market, they’re now reintroducing aspartame to their diet soda. A new product called Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend will effect this comeback since the majority of their diet-consuming customers prefer aspartame to Splenda.
Aspartame may lead to glucose intolerance and diabetes
Artificial sweeteners are no longer as popular as they used to be back in the days. People now prefer regular sugar to these sweeteners. They’re thought to have harmful carcinogenic properties, and they also contribute directly to diabetes by causing the body to retain more fats. So really, what’s then the glamour of the sweeteners over sugar?
Aspartame stimulates sensations of hunger in the brain, causing its consumers to eat more food than usual. This side effect is more popularly attributed to other sweeteners such as saccharin and acesulfame potassium, but aspartame has been discovered to be a fellow culprit. Over-eating will lead to weight gain, which defeats the whole idea of diet sodas.
A recent study was published in the Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism journal, which describes aspartame as a direct cause of diabetic glucose intolerance, especially in people who are obese. The journal stated, “We observe that aspartame was related to significantly greater impairments in glucose tolerance for individuals with obesity…”
Aspartame is not the only unhealthy sweetener
Aspartame is just one of many. Several artificial sweeteners are known to cause a lot of health problems. According to recent research published in the PLOS ONE, “In particular, daily diet soda consumption (primarily sweetened with N-a-L-aspartyl-L-phenylalanine methyl ester, aspartame, sucralose…), is reported to increase the relative risk of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome by 67 percent and 36 percent respectively.”
Replacing aspartame-containing sodas with Splenda-containing sodas doesn’t make any difference, because Splenda is known to have carcinogenic effects and increase insulin response. In a test study conducted recently, 20 subjects were given a beverage sweetened using Splenda, and it was discovered that their insulin levels were 20% higher than when they drank water.
Diet soda is not a healthy choice of beverage
It doesn’t matter what they call it, how they package it, or what fancy nutritional stuff they write on it. The fact will always remain that diet soda is just not healthy for you. There’s no way around the risks artificial sweeteners pose to your health. PepsiCo has been making frantic efforts to rebrand their diet soda products and win back their customers, but it just isn’t worth it. The ugly truth is that diet sodas are unhealthy.
Aspartame may cause brain damage and other health effects
Recent independently funded studies found depression and mild to severe headaches to be possible side effects of aspartame consumption. In another experiment, aspartame was administered in varying doses to rats, and an increase in methanol levels was detected, which could be one of the factors responsible for oxidative brain stress. Phenylalanine, which is majorly responsible for the sweetness of aspartame, contains a weak methyl bond, which makes it easy for liquid aspartame to form methanol molecules, which are further converted to formaldehyde molecules.
Peroxisomes are detoxifying agents found in every cell in the bodies of humans and animals. Peroxisomes cannot detoxify formaldehyde, a notorious carcinogen into formic acid, which is the harmless derivative. Formaldehyde disrupts DNA replication process and can cause mutations in offspring.
Final Verdict: Ditch aspartame and other artificial sweeteners
People consume artificially sweetened drinks and beverages because they’re conscious of their sugar intake, which is a healthy practice. So it’s not an option to advise anyone to go back to sugar. It’s much better to consume honey when you feel sugar craving.
Honey is perfectly healthy and has zero proven side effects. People can also sweeten their beverages using 100% pure maple syrup or coconut sugar. However, these are still sugar and should be consumed in moderation. Low-calorie natural alternatives include stevia or monk fruit.
The best liquid you can consume constantly is water. A good option is filtered water. Water keeps your system free from toxins, and it’s always good to stay hydrated. The internal organs function best that way.
You can flavor your water with lime, lemon and other fruits you may like. Green tea is also a healthy beverage, and it’s exceptional for people who want to lose weight or people prone to acne. Sparkling water is another option.
Cutting out artificial sweeteners is a good change to your diet, and it will go a long way in protecting you from several health issues later in the future.
- Dr. Mercola. 2016, July 12. Aspartame is trying to make a comeback. Retrieved from https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/12/artificial-sweetener-aspartame.aspx
- Mary Jane Brown. 2016, July 9. Saccharin. Is this sweetener good or bad for you? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saccharin-good-or-bad
- Admin. Studies: Aspartame may be ttriggering your headaches. Retrieved from https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sponsor-story/uc-health/2016/07/24/uc-health-headaches-sweeteners-aspartame-triggers/87076172/
- Jennifer L. Kuk(2016). Aspartame intake is associated with greater glucose intolerance in individuals with obesity. Retrieved from http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/apnm-2015-0675
- Alonso Romo-Romo et al.(2016) Effects of the Non-Nutritive Sweeteners on Glucose Metabolism and Appetite Regulating Hormones: Systematic Review of Observational Prospective Studies and Clinical Trials. Retrieved from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161264
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