In light of the obesity epidemic, it is clear our sugar intake has increased drastically, including our intake of artificial sweeteners. There are many who believe that artificial sweeteners are the solution to our obesity epidemic, but they may really only be a lesser evil.
Aspartame was originally developed as a medical treatment for stomach ulcers. That’s right. Your tabletop sweetener or that can of diet coke you’ve just consumed was originally intended to be available by prescription only.
Aspartame and saccharine are the most common artificial sweeteners. They can be found in your breakfast cereal, diet sodas, energy bar and more, also recently been found to trigger migraines.
Depression can also manifest from the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Regular dosages of aspartame have been found to decrease serotonin levels, which is the main cause of depression. Individuals suffering from mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are advised against the regular consumption of artificial sweeteners, since they are more sensitive to the adverse effects of aspartame.
There have also been numerous studies and discussions about the carcinogenic properties of artificial sweeteners. Whether aspartame of saccharine causes cancer is the subject of much debate. One Argentinean study cites aspartame usage as the main cause of urinary tract tumors. Others suggest the FDA re-evaluate their position on the safety of aspartame in light of recent studies on animals, linking cancer risks to artificial sweetener consumption.
Additional health risks may be caused by the consumption of artificial sweeteners. Long-term intake of aspartame may impair the liver’s antioxidant status and could lead to liver injury. Those suffering from fibromyalgia should also be cautious with their aspartame intake, since it may induce a curable but chronic pain.
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