I wanted to check in with a quick nutritional tidbit for this week. As you have probably read and heard thousands of times by now, artificial sweeteners aren’t good for us. We know this because the nutritional and wellness experts have said so. But do you really understand the *why* behind it?
There are a few key reasons, and I will quickly outline them for you here.
- All non-caloric sweeteners, even Stevia, require commercial processing. Some use less toxic chemicals and some use organic processes. But, they all go through processing. If your goal is to eat as close to “natural” as possible, then a highly processed artificial sweetener probably doesn’t fit into your plan.
- All that processing and artificial ingredients tax your body’s detoxification system. Our bodies are made to handle toxins, and our livers and kidneys are hard at work every day to get rid of substances we can’t use. When we burden our detox systems with unnecessary substances, it means that they have to work even harder. (Some studies have found a correlation with artificial sweeteners to kidney disease. Correlation does not equal causation, and more research needs to be done. Still, with my family’s kidney disease genes, it’s a good enough reason for me to keep my artificial sweeteners to a minimum. For more on this topic, click here and here.)
- Somehow, even with the prevalence of zero-calorie artificial sweetener consumption, the U.S. population has continued to gain weight and fall prey to Type 2 Diabetes. While researchers try to figure out the reasons why, some have started to wonder if consuming too much artificial sweeteners tampers with our gut microflora, which in turn makes us more susceptible to maladies like glucose intolerance (a precursor to diabetes). Studies have both proven and disproven this theory, so obviously a lot more research needs to be done. Read more about it here.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a proponent on “moderation”. I am not perfect, nor do I try to be. I enjoy a Diet Coke from time to time because it makes me happy. Just the way I will eat a few gummy bears (or whatever) if I feel like it. If I am following the 80/20 rule of nutrition, then I let the rest go. Life, in my opinion, is to be enjoyed. If eating a completely organic, whole foods diet is what makes you happy, then go for it! But for me, I find having a little wiggle room works best.
*Check with your trusted physician or practitioner before you make any major dietary changes, especially if you are being treated for illness or disease.*
As always, I would love to hear what you have to say!