/ 20.5.11 / 18 Comments / healthy eating
The Surprising Side Effects of Artificial Sweeteners
Many of us like our tea or coffee sweet…but not with sugar. The usual substitute of choice has been Sweet-n-low, Splenda, or some other aspartame based sweetener. This is great for avoiding calories or the side effects of sugar. But this is not so great in other ways.
We’ve all heard that Sweet-n-Low and other sweeteners might cause cancer but are there other side effects? Are you having unexplained muscle pain or cramps?
After 20 years of continual artificial sweetener usage, I’ve discovered that there are side effects to using this stuff that you don’t hear about in the news-- like chronic muscle pain and cramps. When I switched to a natural sweetener like Stevia, the pain disappeared.
I should know—I’ve drunk a LOT of Sweet-n-Low in the last 20 years! I’m not a lab rat, but I’d consider myself a better ‘guinea pig’ for this experiment than a rat. In college I was diagnosed with borderline low blood sugar. The doctors said to cut out sugar and use Sweet-n-Low instead.
Move forward 20 years… I begin to have severe cramps and muscle pain in my right leg. It built up gradually over a year's time. One day I had uncontrollable charley horses in my right foot. That was it—I called my nutritionist friend, Debra Raybern.
In our meeting, she said, “Oh—That’s easy!” Stop drinking sweet-n-low. ( Noooo! Don’t say that!--I LOVED my sweetener and had never been willing to consider quitting in spite of concerned friends.)
She said that Sweet-n-Low and other artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins. The pain I was feeling came from nerve damage. The body doesn’t digest it—it just builds up in the joints and nerves. Hence the ‘shooting pains’.
I’d always refused to consider my little pink packages a problem, but now I knew I had to at least try to switch. She suggested a natural no calorie sweetener—Stevia. Stevia comes in powdered or liquid form and is extracted from the stevia plant. You can buy it like ‘tea leaves’ too and just add it to your tea ball.
Switching worked like a charm! The pains were gone in a week.
Skeptical? A year later, I started having problems again, while traveling for three weeks. This time it was terribly sharp pains in my ankle. I wondered what the problem was, then realized I had been drinking a lot of diet coke and restaurant tea using whatever was available to sweeten it with.
I stopped at a store and stocked up on Stevia—and cut out the diet soda. The pain went away immediately.
It seems that no amount of sweetener will not cause a reoccurrence of the problem. After that, I knew it was going to have to be a lifetime decision. No more artificial sweeteners in my tea… EVER!
Note: You WILL get used to the new ‘taste’ in about two weeks. At first Stevia did not taste sweet at all, but after two weeks, the Sweet-n-low tasted bland and the Stevia tasted great. Give your taste buds a chance to adjust. :o)
Labels: healthy eating