What are artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners are synthetic substitutes for real sugar that can be derived from natural herbs or sugar. Due to their superior sweetness to sugar, the amount of product required to satisfy your sweet tooth is lower than with regular sugar, yet can add almost zero calories to your diet as they don’t get completely absorbed by your digestive system.
At present the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has approved six artificial, non-nutritive sweeteners:
Some brands are marketed as “natural” yet are processed or refined, e.g Stevia, whereas others are derived from naturally occurring substances, e.g Sucralose, which comes from sugar. Stevia is also known as a ‘novel’ sweetener – the FDA approves these as they are highly refined, but not crude stevia extracts or whole-leaf.
Are there health risks with artificial sweeteners?
Artificial sweeteners have faced high levels of scrutiny since they arrived on the scene due to popular beliefs that they cause cancer. This is due to animal studies in the 1970s that tested saccharin on rats which revealed links to bladder cancer – as such saccharin used to feature a warning label. Since then, further studies have not demonstrated evidence of a link with cancer in humans and the label was dropped.
While that is fantastic news, there are still several unpleasant side effects and symptoms that could appear after taking artificial sweeteners:
- Disrupts gut bacteria balance – the use of artificial sweeteners encourages the development of glucose intolerance and poor blood sugar control via compositional and functional changes to the intestinal microbiota
- Headaches – It’s clear that some people are susceptible to headaches after consuming artificial sweeteners (especially aspartame) and may need to limit their consumption
- Worsens depression and mood disorders – large numbers of the population suffer from depression and take SSRIs. Studies have shown that aspartame can worsen symptoms in those with a history of depression or mood disorders
- Diarrhea – Some artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose, and sorbitol, may not get digested easily in some consumers. Some sugar substitutes can have laxative effects
- Increased appetite – crazy right? Most people use them to lose weight yet they can have the opposite effect, as the sweetness can confuse your brain and cause cravings.
There’s no need for you to consume supplements that contain artificial sweeteners – not when there are healthier and more natural products that can give you the effects you are hoping to achieve without any unpleasant side effects.
Essentially all artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes are bad for you! ALL the energy gaming supplements in the market use some sort of sweetener, except Balanced Energy by VitaGaming.