(AscendHealthy.com) – We tend to crave the sweet taste and sugary rush that we get from biting into a piece of candy or sipping on an ice-cold soda. But if we consume a lot of sodas and sugary snacks, it can be detrimental to our overall health. That’s where artificial sweeteners come in. They mimic the sweet taste of sugar we seek without the calories that may harm us. But are they safe?
Frequent Bouts of Weight Gain
One of the biggest concerns with artificial sweeteners is that they may trigger weight gain. Healthline explains that some artificial sweeteners may alter the balance of gut bacteria. This might make cells resistant to insulin and may eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may also trigger cephalic phase insulin release, which triggers hunger and increases insulin levels.
Underlying Heart Disease
Consuming several diet drinks or foods each day may increase sodium levels in the body. This might lead to water weight gain and a corresponding increase in blood pressure over time. This may make any underlying heart disease worse. Doctors may recommend a reduced-sodium diet and/or diuretics to help keep these levels in the healthy range.
Many factors may lead to a headache, including physical and environmental. There is currently no conclusive evidence for all non-nutritive sweeteners one way or the other, but some artificial sweeteners may be the reason many people experience chronic headaches every day. Studies do exist that show some correlation between aspartame, sucralose and headaches.
UC Health says that headaches can be a common problem, but only if patients consume large amounts of sweeteners daily. Other studies indicate that certain populations might be more at risk, like those who are pregnant and lactating, diabetics, those prone to migraines and epilepsy. If you must drink diet pop or products with artificial sugar, consider limiting the amounts to see if it affects your headaches.
Mental Health Effects
In rare cases, consuming drinks and products that contain neotame, a chemical derivative of aspartame, may cause mental confusion, visual disturbances and destruction of brain cells. It may be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause promptly because the symptoms are similar to those of other underlying illnesses.
Possible Gut Health Changes
Consuming artificial sweeteners may affect gut health and the microbiome. The body needs certain beneficial bacteria to fight infections, generate vitamins and nutrients and to boost the immune system. An imbalance, called dysbiosis, may cause your gut to produce less healthy bacteria. Artificial sweeteners may be to blame for this imbalance.
Consuming more water and reducing regular and artificial sugars is a great way to make a healthy choice. For those who prefer to eat and drink foods with artificial sweeteners, cutting back may reduce symptoms if they are present.
If you are experiencing any health issues, consult your healthcare provider for help in identifying causes and determining the best courses of action. Your healthcare team may even recommend an elimination diet to rule out other dietary causes, but they can give you the best guidance on staying safe and healthy.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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