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Artificial Sweeteners - Good or Bad?

Weighing up whether artificial sweeteners are a healthy option is tough. WIth a minefield of conflicting information. Sometimes this means it is hard to make an informed decision. This article aims to weigh up the pros and cons of artificial sweeteners.

The GOOD.

Diabetes

Those with diabetes may benefit from choosing artificial sweeteners, as they offer a sweet taste without the accompanying rise in blood sugar levels.




Dental health

Artificial sweeteners, when consumed instead of sugar, decrease the likelihood of tooth decay. This is because, unlike sugars, artificial sweeteners do not react with the bacteria in your mouth. This means they do not form acids or cause tooth decay (60Trusted Source).


Research also shows that sucralose is less likely to cause tooth decay than sugar. For this reason, in America, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows products containing sucralose to claim that they reduce tooth decay.

The Bad.

Gut health
Your gut bacteria play an important role in your health, and poor gut health is linked to numerous problems. These include weight gain, poor blood sugar control, metabolic syndrome, a weakened immune system, and disrupted sleep.

In one study, the artificial sweetener saccharin disrupted gut bacteria balance in four out of seven healthy participants who were not used to consuming them. The four “responders” also showed poorer blood sugar control after as few as 5 days after consuming the artificial sweetener. Additionally, when gut bacteria from these people were transferred into mice, the animals also developed poor blood sugar control. On the other hand, the mice implanted with the gut bacteria from “non-responders” had no changes in their ability to control blood sugar levels.

Possible Side Effects
For example, individuals with the rare metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU) cannot metabolize the amino acid phenylalanine, which is found in aspartame. Thus, those with PKU should avoid aspartame.

Furthermore, some people are allergic to sulfonamides — the class of compounds to which saccharin, an artificial sweetener belongs to. For them, saccharin may lead to breathing difficulties, rashes, or diarrhea.


Concluding remarks

All in all, as to do with most things in life artificial sweeteners have both good and bad sides to their story. The use of artificial sweeteners instead of sugar may have benefits such as weight loss and dental health. However, there are possible side effects for some individuals who cannot digest certain types of artificial sweeteners. This can cause problems with gut health and furthermore can possibly cause allergic reactions that will lead to rashes or diarrhea.


If you are not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, I recommend that you try natural sweeteners instead. Natural sweeteners such as maple syrup, molasses, and honey can be a great alternative to sugar with added health benefits. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Written by: Ron Park

Founder & CEO of Kōrure

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