Monday, May 11, 2009

Hey, Sweetie!

I have been learning about healthy eating, and healthy foods, and healthy lifestyles, and I keep coming across information about how totally UNhealthy those artificial sweeteners are for you.  You know who I am talking to:  you, with the can of diet soda in your hand!

I just can’t let another moment pass without telling you (ok, maybe this is more of a nagging to you) how very dangerous this stuff can be.   Somebody has lied to you if you are using this stuff and you think it is perfectly “OK”.   There are some pretty decent sugar substitutes that don’t raise blood sugar levels the way table sugar does (have you tried agave nectar?), but in moderation (and if you are not diabetic) what is so bad about table sugar, anyway?  There are many natural sugar substitutes out there now, and they are available for purchase at your regular, run-of-the-mill stores, AND it is perfectly socially acceptable for you to consume them even if you don’t have hairy arm pits and run around barefooted, playing a tambourine, dressed as a gypsy (see list below)!

OK, maybe you are ordering the diet soda because you don’t want to consume that nasty high-fructose corn syrup stuff (aka: HFCS, that the corn growers of America have been trying to tell us is a “natural” product through their pricy ad campaigns), but did you know that the artificial stuff is “ARTIFICIAL” too?  HFCS, as well as the “artificial stuff” all act as appetite stimulants as well, so when you are consuming them you are going to actually feel hungrier than you would have if you had just had water or foods without them (studies show that people drinking diet drinks during a meal actually consume more calories than their non-“dieting” counterparts).

In the book Skinny Bitch, authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin state that the FDA lists over 90 “harmful side effects” from the use of artificial sweeteners.  Some of the side effects include:  headache, dizziness, change in mood (depression), vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, memory loss, and fatigue.  Associated with the use of aspartame specifically, are symptoms of fibromyalgia, tinnitus, joint pain, anxiety attacks, blurred vision, slurred speech, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus, and various cancers.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything I need to eat or drink badly enough that I am willing to expose myself to those things.

I cringe when I see people put packet after packet of the artificial stuff into their drinks.  It makes me just plain sad when I see them giving it to their children.  What about the “diet” drink that is actually GOOD for you – water? – and, it is pretty cheap, too. 

If you absolutely HAVE to have something bubbly to drink, consider adding some club soda to some natural, unsweetened juice (as opposed to the stuff labeled “no sugar added”, because that sometimes means that it is just sweetened with something artificial instead), and make a classy little spritzer.  If you are still tempted to drink the diet sodas, read the labels and look up all of the ingredients.  I have read that you should not consume anything that contains an ingredient that you are unable to pronounce or define.  That would eliminate much of what’s in the “traditional” American diet.

Hey, we only get one shot at this body that we were born with.  If we treat it right, we are more likely to have it return the favor.  Know what you are putting in there!!!

Attempt at shameless self-promoting:  If you are curious about how you can treat your body better, but feel clueless about where to start, contact me through my website ( for a free health consultation…

Here is a brief list of some natural substitutes for bleached table sugar:
Molasses, Birch Syrup, Barley Malt Syrup, Agave Nectar/Syrup, Sugar Beet Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup, Raw Sugar

Here is a list of the crappy stuff you should be avoiding (and sometimes more than one of these are used in the same product):
Saccharin, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Xylitol, Aspartame, Neotame, Sorbitol

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