A website that I often follow and refer to for information on natural health articles, videos and overall health news and information is www.mercola.com. The following information is a brief summary of an article posted on January 25, 2017 regarding the rise in usage of low calorie sweeteners in heavily marketed foods and beverages. Many of these sugar replacements are finding their way into the hands of our children while studies continue to show the detrimental link between these artificial sweeteners and health issues including obesity, chronic inflammation, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, even cancer. While the FDA has deemed a number of these low-calorie sweeteners (LCS) safe in moderation, the results continue to prove that ingesting these substances is anything but safe, especially in our children.
In a study taking place between 1999 and 2012, George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health recently reported this staggering statistic from a national survey, revealing that while the consumption of artificially sweetened foods and beverages jumped by 54 percent among U.S. adults during the study period, there was an even greater jump among kids — a 200 percent increase.(1) Allison Sylvetsky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington D.C., had this to say:
“Just 8.7 percent of kids reported consuming low-calorie sweeteners in 1999 and 13 years later that number had risen to 25.1 percent. Kids aren’t alone in this trend. More adults also are taking in low-calorie sweeteners in diet soft drinks and in a variety of foods and snack items.The findings are important, especially for children, because some studies suggest a link between low-calorie sweeteners and obesity, diabetes and other health issues.”(2)
So what exactly is wrong with using artificial sweeteners? It’s entirely possible that aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and several other pseudo sweeteners, when first developed, were meant as a good (and certainly profitable) thing — to reduce excessive sugar intake. The trouble is, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed the “Safe For Human Consumption” stamp on these substances to replace sugar, the “cure” was even more toxic than the disease. Dr. Richard Hodin, a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, said:
“Sugar substitutes like aspartame are designed to promote weight loss and decrease the incidence of metabolic syndrome, but a number of clinical and epidemiologic studies have suggested that these products don’t work very well and may actually make things worse.”(3)
One of the biggest problems with the rampant use of artificial sweeteners is that there’s no scientific data to back up claims of their safety. Science Daily says “there is still no scientific consensus on the health impacts connected to low-calorie sweeteners.” According to Bob Livingston, “There is a mountain of research on the extreme danger of synthetic sugars, and I believe that there is no way to have good health while consuming sugar at the same time. But the public has been duped into believing that consuming ‘sugar-free’ processed foods containing synthetic sweeteners are ‘healthier choices.’ They are not.”(5) Drugs & Side Effects Database says “aspartame is a known and feared neurotoxin and carcinogen, yet it remains a common drug ingredient.”(7) But not only that, it’s included in medications prepared for children, and the label doesn’t always say so. Antibiotics to antacids to Pedialyte freezer pops contain it, and that’s only a few of many.(8) Experts on aspartame assert that aspartame consumption may even be a contributing factor in the skyrocketing autism rates due to methanol toxicity, because when it’s heated, that’s what it essentially becomes.(9)
Sugar, which is added to 75 percent of the foods and drinks processed in the U.S., has negative effects on weight gain and obesity, with consumption quadrupling since the 1950s.(13) Most of it goes into:
- Sports and energy drinks
- Ready-to-drink coffees and teas
- Carbonated soft drinks
- Fruit-flavored drinks(14)
While sugar has long been deemed the biggest no-no on a long list of no-nos, one of the reasons was the way the food industry morphed it into high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), with multiple processes that made it doubly and triply hazardous. HFCS not only has a weird taste, but studies also link it to diabetes, liver damage, memory problems and, yes, obesity.(16) A study at Harvard showed that men who drink sugar-sweetened sodas have a higher prevalence for coronary heart disease(17). If you know anything about genetically engineered (GE) foods, you’ll find it interesting that nearly 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered.(19) But despite the dangers of excessive intake of sugar and HFCS, artificial sweeteners are not a healthy alternative.
With all the attention that childhood illnesses are getting, is there any reason why we should be continuing to contribute to the overall declination in health of our young people? Parents who don’t pay enough attention to what they are giving their children are the same ones showing up time after time in the offices of their pediatricians asking what is wrong with their child. Food is our medicine and since organizations such like the FDA and the CDC are no longer reputable sources of information due to being bought and paid for by big-name corporations, it’s time to wake up and take some responsibility for our youth. After all, they are depending on us to make the right decisions.
- 1 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics January 10, 2017
- 2, 22 Science Daily January 10, 2017
- 3 Parent Herald November 28, 2016
- 4, 11, 12 PLoS Medicine January 3, 2017
- 5 Personal Liberty January 11, 2017
- 6 PLoS One November 23, 2016
- 7, 8 Drugs Database June 11, 2012
- 9 Natural Society April 27, 2012
- 10 Medical News Today January 9, 2017
- 13 Diabetes Care 2014 April;37(4):950-956
- 14 Diabetes Care. 2014 April;37(4):950-6
- 15 The Epoch Times January 10, 2017
- 16 Science Daily May 15, 2012
- 17 Journal of the American Heart Association January 17, 2017
- 18 IATP January 25, 2009
- 19 Agricultural Marketing Guide 1999-2017
- 20 J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2015;78(16):1029-32.
- 21 European Journal of Nutrition December 31, 2016
- 23 Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep; 24(9): 431–441.