Artificial sweeteners have a rocky reputation and Nigerians are beginning to indulge in them.
Many buy them for their older or diabetic parents.
There are several different types of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame; saccharine, and sucralose .
If you use them there are other things you need to know that may leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
Here’s some not-so-sweet news about the effects of artificial sweeteners in your body, and how they might be sabotaging your dietary goals:
1. They may rev up your appetite
Several studies have shown that artificial sweeteners increase people’s appetites.
In particular, some feel hungrier after consuming aspartame.
2. They can also amplify your sweet tooth.
Sugar substitutes are intensely sweet. For example, sucralose is about 600 times sweeter than sugar.
Thus, consuming artificial sweeteners may not satisfy the sugar craving, which may result in craving more sugar.
3. They make other foods taste less sweet by comparison.
Because sugar substitutes dramatically up the sweetness ante, they can also dull your perception of other foods, the ones that you used to find sweet.
Artificial sweeteners are extremely sweet, so it’s thought that consumption could habituate you towards a preference for sweets or distort perceptions about sweetness, such that an apple is no longer perceived as sweet.
4. They can cause you to gain weight. (Irony!)
While there is some research that shows the calorie reduction that goes along with consuming artificial sweeteners may help with weight loss or maintenance, multiple studies show a connection between artificial sugar studies and gaining weight.
5. They mess with your blood sugar.
Artificial sweeteners namely saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame significantly affect gut bacteria in the digestive tract and can lead to glucose intolerance, which puts people at risk for type 2 diabetes.
6. They can cause stomach problems.
You’re not imagining things if you’ve ever eaten food or gum flavored with sugar substitutes and felt like your stomach was off afterward.
Some people complain of diarrhoea and bloating.
Play it safe by cutting back on artificial sweeteners or ditching them entirely.
I would suggest limiting intake of artificial sweeteners, particularly in children.
If you’re already hooked on sweeteners, wean yourself off them by using increasingly less each time, and getting used to the taste of things.
With time, maybe you’ll realize you like your tea, pap plain after all.
I love you, I love your health.
Your favourite family physician,