Artificial Sweeteners: More harm than good?

I was browsing YouTube the other day and came across some interesting videos.  The topic of these videos were artificial sweeteners.  America is obsessed with counting calories and crazy diets, so it is no wonder why people love the zero calorie sweeteners.  The motocross community is basically fueled by (both financially and sometimes physically) energy drink companies that contain these ingredients.  There has been a lot of debate as to whether Sucrose, Saccharin, Aspartame, etc. is safe to consume.

Growing up, I never really ate Splenda or other artificial sweeteners.  However, if you really look at ingredient labels on many beverages and foods, they almost always contain some form of these “sugars.”  Why should this concern racers?  As I said before, energy drinks like Rockstar, Red Bull, and Monster all have low carb versions.  However, these all contain the artificial sweeteners even though they say “zero sugar”.  Not only that, but protein powders and some recovery drinks contain these as well.

So, what makes these so bad?  Technically, there has been no solid research to confirm anything bad.  However, testing has been done on animals and it revealed a linked between Sucrose (a.k.a. Splenda) and organ damage.  Almost every one of these is supposedly carcinogenic (causes cancer).  Nutra Sweet and Equal have been known to cause dizziness, upset stomach, and headaches as well.

In addition to these claims, it has also said to increase weight gain.  According to a study done by Purdue University, rats that were on diets containing the artificial sweetener saccharine gained more weight than rats given natural sugar.  Scientist think that there is a link between the sweet tastes and your brain.  When you taste sweet food and there are no calories, your brain gets mix matched with this and can cause you to over eat.

I am not saying this means you need to become a vegan and go all natural.  However, if it were up to me, I would take real sugar over artificial.  I know these claims have not been proven 100%, but genetically modified substances aren’t something I want to put in my body all of the time.  Just keep it in moderation.


Posted on Aug 16 2010, under Nutrition | No Comments »

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