WARNING: Use/Abuse of Artificial Sweeteners
In reply to my inquiry about the possible dangers of overuse of artificial sweeteners, I received the following reply:
You can get bloating and gas from overuse of artificial sweeteners, including overuse of sugar free gum. The treatment is weaning off those agents and ensuring proper balance of food in.
Ellen Rome, MD, MPH
Head, Section of Adolescent Medicine
Here are a few additionals 'warnings' about how artificial sweeteners may be harmful.
Sugar is a natural substance!!
1. More Calories than You Think
Some artificial sweeteners are misleading. Because they have few calories, the foods containing them can be listed as containing no calories when, in fact, they do have calories which can add up quickly if you are indulging your sweet tooth. This is particular true if you’re talking about foods that contain Splenda or even more natural sugar substitutes, such as sugar alcohols.
This is one of the side effects associated with almost every artificial sweetener on the market. It is also part of the condition known as Aspartame sickness which refers to a collection of ailments seemingly caused by the consumption of that particular artificial sweetener.
3. Gastrointestinal Problems
Many of the most popular artificial sweeteners have also been associated with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Usually these problems occur after high levels of the product are consumed or in people who are sensitive to the products. Foods containing sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, must be labeled to warn consumers about these problems.
4. Allergic Reactions
Some consumers have reported allergic reactions to some of the artificial sweeteners available. These reactions have been relatively mild, including headaches, skin rashes, and similar symptoms.
5. Male Infertility
While the research is not entirely conclusive yet, some studies have linked Aspartame to an increased risk of male infertility. The mechanics of this are also not well understood either. However, any man hoping to start a family should avoid foods that contain this artificial sweetener.
6. Panic Attacks
Just as two much sugar can cause nervous agitation, people who consume some types of artificial sweeteners have reported experiencing panic attacks, which include symptoms including racing heart beats, shortness of breath, feelings of impending doom, and more. People who have a tendency to have panic attacks may also have their attacks triggered by an intake of these sweeteners.
7. Cell Damage
Some of the research on artificial sweeteners has also shown that they can do some damage to cells. For this reason, infants, children, and teenagers should have their intake of artificial sweeteners limited.
Several years ago, a study of the affects of Aspartame on depression involving 40 participants had to be ended prematurely because more than half of the individuals involved had such several reactions to the sweeteners. Mood changes can be severe.
9. Central Nervous System Disorders
Research has shown that Aspartame may also be one of the causes or triggers of many serious central nervous system disorders, including fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. Many of other diseases have also been connected to this specific type of sweetener which, incidentally, has more health complaints filed against it by consumers than any other additive on the market.
One of the biggest concerns about these artificial sweeteners has been cancer. There is some research to suggest a higher incidence of bladder cancer (saccharin), cancer of the reproductive organs (aspartame), and more. More research on these connections is still being done.